José Gomes

lives and works in Cologne

About José Gomes ... more >

"Creation and destruction, life and death - in this field of tension move the drawings of José Gomes. With a clear reference to Brazilian nature and culture, his works on paper are partly like collages, which develop a strong image depth. Gomes's research for his drawings also includes the study of drone images of Brazilian jungles, which make it very clear how these important habitats are destroyed. These insights as well as the examination of Brazilian art history and crafts flow into Gomes' filigree drawings, in which the figurative is often broken by abstract elements and thereby tells a very own story.“

Dr. Carla Cugini | Managing Director of the Society for Modern Art of Museum Ludwig in Cologne


José Gomes
Firmitas (Strength)

José Gomes' (*1968 in Brazil, lives and works in Cologne) artistic work is characterised by two elements - nature as the main motif and its inexhaustible ductus. The environment reveals itself as a sensitive, delicate, fragile, seductive, necessary, imperishable part of life. The works created by José Gomes for this exhibition were created as part of his work as a scholarship holder in a residency programme at the Botanical Garden and the Institute of Biology at the University of Rostock. The research and discussions, the immersion and observation of plants that the artist experienced there flowed into the series Firmitas - a Latin word meaning permanence, solidity, durability, stability, strength, resistance and reliability. These characteristics are also found in the plants analysed there. Based on these characteristics, man and science will promote not only human but also technological development in the course of climate change. The result is a series of collages made up of photographs of these plants. These were transferred to paper using a transfer technique and supplemented with drawings and watercolour. In the background are the natural aquifers that exist in Brazil and sustain the ecosystem. The works are a compendium of the diversity of natural resources that should show us the way to the future. (Tereza de Arruda, curator)


José Gomes
Brincadeira (Playing)

Environment, development, violence, destiny of humanity and the planet are some issues that determine my thoughts and, consequently, my artistic production. How the contemporary capitalist social system allows us to see and observe life, our values, and how to relate and act with the surroundings in an attempt to see the future.

The content of my work focuses on the landscape, man's actions in nature and the paradox between his dependence on it and his destructive actions. Therefore, based on these premises, nature can only exist as an unfocused element, the result of this reality.

After an intense time dedicated to printmaking, my drawing is strongly influenced by it, whether in the strength or fluidity of the line, or in the tonal areas on the paper surface. My questioning started to be about its limits and interrelations.

The result of this research is a confrontation and dialogue between drawing and other techniques.

The series Brincadeira (Playing) deals with the tension between drawing, printmaking and object. The aerial perspective of photos of satellites and drones made of forests, with their scientific and investigative character, photos collected on the internet of vegetables, fruits, food, products from the earth, are transferred to paper and coated with graphite layers in geometric shapes. Graphic elements coming from the culture and body painting of native peoples, as well as the political and economic speculations of agro-industry.

The reproducibility of the image, free of charge and on an infinite scale on the internet, refers to the concept of printmaking, as well as the lines and tonal areas of graphite to mezzotint, watercolour, lithography, etching, and also to painting with the transparency of the graphite on the transfer. The drawings are cut and glued on a dyed wooden surface, giving it a three-dimensional character. In diptychs and polyptychs, the work can be regrouped in different ways, transforming the composition but maintaining its plasticity.

Drawing without frame, without passe-partout, without glass.

Play with the concept. Play with the fact.



born in Espírito Santo, Brazil
1988-94 Universität Espírito Santo, Brazil
2004-05 Academy of Arts Düsseldorf under Prof. A.R. Penck
2012 Artist-in-Residency, Emily Harvey Foundation, Venice
2019 Artist-in-Residency, Emily Harvey Foundation, Venice
2021 Monograph Over the Treetops
2022 Artist-in-Residency, Botanischer Garten und Institut für Biologie, Universität Rostock
2023 Art Award Kunstverein Münsterland

... more >

Selected Solo and Group Exhibitions

2024 Galerie Biesenbach, Cologne (G)
2023 Kunstpreis Kunstverein Münsterland – Firmitas, Coesfeld (S)
On Water & Plants – Artistic Positions on Sustainability, Troy House Foundation, London (G)
IADÊ, São Paulo Institut für Kunst und Design, Brazil (G)
Unsere Sammlung 1891 bis 2022, Kunsthalle Rostock (G)
Galerie Biesenbach, Cologne (G)
2022 Kunsthalle Rostock (G)
2021 14th Havana Art Biennial, Hvana (G)
Galerie Biesenbach, Cologne (S)
paper postions berlin (S)
2020 paper postions berlin (S)
2019 Artist-in-Residency, Emily Harvey Foundation, Venice
Galerie Biesenbach, Cologne (G)
2018 Offene Ateliers, Cologne (S)
Galerie Biesenbach, Cologne (G)
FinArts, Berlin (G)
2017 Galerie Biesenbach, Cologne (G)
2015 Galerie Biesenbach, Cologne (G)
2014 Brasilianische Botschaft und Rosalux, Berlin (G)
2013 Archivio Emily Harvey, Venice(G)
2012 Archivio Emily Harvey, Venice (G)
2011 Site specific, Cologne (G)
2010 Offene Ateliers, Cologne (S)
2008 Oi – Temporärer Ausstellungsraum, Cologne (S)
unter freiem Himmel, Düsseldorf (G)
2002 Bi-Pi’s Kulturgalerie, Cologne (S)
2001 Galeria Homero Massena, Vitória, Brazil (S)
Galeria Homero Massena, Vitória, Brazil (G)

Selected Public Collections

  • Kunsthalle Rostock




Essential cookies are essential for the operation of the website and can therefore not be deactivated.



Statistics cookies allow the collection of anonymous information about how you use our website. They help us to improve your user experience and our content.


External media

External media cookies allow media content to be loaded from external sources. They can also be activated when you visit the website if you encounter blocked media content.