©2016 por Ana e Isabel Roth

“Peninha”, or little feather in Portuguese, is the name given by the artist to the basic unit that constitutes his handmade paper installations. Each feather is a sheet of handmade cotton paper, colored with natural pigments and molded around a toothpick.  

Driven by the concept of the ‘smallest sheet of paper in the world’, Otávio developed the piece during a trip do Japan. While attending an international conference for paper craftsmen in Tokyo, the artist challenged himself to produce the smallest possible sheet of handmade paper using the materials available in his hotel room. He took a shred of the cotton cloth from the sleeve of his shirt and chewed it until it became a pulp, thus imitating the process of fiber maceration usually performed by mill; employed a toothpick as a mold; replaced the press with the pressure from his fingers, and instead of hanging the sheets up to dry, he skewered them onto a drying support.    

Starting with this tiny, Japanese minimalism-inspired piece, Otávio created immense art installations that were set over wood plates, clay structures or directly on floors and walls. Among these, some remarkable examples stand out: “Population” (População - Leopold Hoesch Museus, Duren, Germany, 1988), an installation composed by 6,200 little feathers and disposed in a hanging octagon and assembled live by the artist during the opening of the exhibit, and “The Great Tail” (Nordjyllands Kustmuseum, Aalborg, Denmark, 1988), made of 100.000 little feathers. The photo gallery also displays the photographic record of the “Garden” series (“Jardim”), that consists of four installations built in three different locations – the Modern Art Museum of São Paulo (Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo, 1988); the Kyoto Museum (Kyoto, 1989) and the Azabu Museum (Tokyo, 1989).