Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander (1967) has become one of the most distinct representatives of a generation of young Latin American artists emerging during the 1990s. With intellectual roots in the organic minimalism of the 1970s, her objects and installations display an intense interest in the life-cycles and processes of a wide range of substances, such as dried flowers, snails, rice paper, desiccated insects, and pepper. With her keen sense for the ephemeral nature of organic life, she has produced a series of installations that seem to capture the materials involved at the very border between existence and non-existence producing a sense of frail, ethereal beauty. Her intense interest in the formal aspects of collecting and displaying objects may seem to link her work closely to a minimalist esthetic, but the central role that the passage of time and the relentless progress to decomposition play in her work seems to testify to an older heritage: the Brazilian Baroque.

Rivane Neuenschwander has created three independent works for her installation at Portikus entitled "Spell". The central spatial sculpture she displays is a Scrabble game made of cardboard as well as carved oranges and grapefruits inviting the viewers to create their own words. In a series of works on the wall, Neuenschwander spells out the alphabet in the form of spices, from açafrão, black pepper and colorífico to zattar. This results in an alphabet of aromas which, in their fleetingness but also their free associations, reveal the conventions of language as an hierarchical construction of signs, phonemes, morphemes, words and sentences. In an especially constructed projection room on the rear side of the exhibition hall, Rivane Neuenschwander will additionally show a film in which ants carry small banners with the inscription "Word" resp. "World".

The exhibition is supported by the Hessische Kulturstiftung.