National Museum of Women in the Arts
Sonia Andrade
June 18 1935 - present
Photograph of Sonia Andrade, courtesy of the artist
Place of Birth:
Rio de Janeiro
Phonetic Spelling:
SOHN-yah ahn-DRAH-deh
Work Type/Media:
Drawings and prints, Multimedia (electronic, digital, video, film), Photography, Installation Art
Artistic Role(s):
Body Artist, Calligrapher, Draftsperson, Installation Artist, Photographer, Video Artist
Conceptual Art
Artist's Biography:
The work of Brazilian installation artist Sonia Andrade explores the relationship between the spectator and the object through the medium of single-channel video. While her installation pieces also include drawings, photography, objects, and postcards, the use of video allows Andrade to exploit the standardized visual system perpetuated by mass media images. The humor and political commentary which Andrade incorporates into her video work provides a powerful critique of modern media culture.

In the mid-1970s, Andrade became connected to a group of pioneering artists in Rio de Janeiro that included Anna Bella Geiger, Fernando Cocchiarale, Miriam Danowski, Paulo Herkenhoff, Ana Vitória Mussi, Ivens Machade, and Letícia Parente. In 1975, the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, organized a groundbreaking exhibition titled Video Art in which Andrade, among others, exhibited her work. It was the first time Brazilian artists displayed their work as “video” art.

Andrade’s earliest works were solitary projects involving only the artist and a television. In these videos, the television acted as an oppressive entity, representing the banality of modern imagery and its effects on viewers. Her interest in spectator experience reflects Andrade’s admiration for the work of Lygia Clark, whose experimental work combining art and group therapy also emphasized the relationship between viewer and object.

Having spent time living and working in Paris, Switzerland, and Rio de Janeiro, Andrade participated in numerous exhibitions worldwide. Her experimental and provocative work was honored in Brazil, where she currently lives. In 2001 she was awarded the Second Sergio Motta Art and Technology Award for her contributions to media art, and was honored at the annual Carlton Arts Festival in São Paulo.

Place(s) of Residence:
Rio de Janeiro
Where Trained/Schools:
Related Visual Artists:
friend of and colleague of Anna Bella Geiger colleague of Fernando Cocchiarale colleague of Paulo Herkenhoff colleague of Ivens Machado colleague of Ana Vitória Mussi colleague of Letícia Parente influenced by Lygia Clark
Fellowships, grants and awards:
Second Sergio Motta Art and Technology Award, Sergio Motta Institute and São Paulo State Department of Culture, São Paulo, Brazil (2001) Award, Carlton Arts Festival, São Paulo, Brazil (2001)
Earliest exhibition:
Sixth Salão de Verão, Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1974)
NMWA exhibition(s):
WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution