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Clarissa Tossin (Houston, TX), White Marble Everyday, digital video, 2010

Clarissa Tossin
Houston, Texas


Houston-based artist Clarissa Tossin grew up in Brasil. The capital, Brasília, is a planned city characterized by slick, space age and sexy lines of mid-20th century Modern architecture. In this film projection, the artist captures workers cleaning the Brazilian Supreme Court building, one of the Brasília’s landmarks designed by Oscar Niemeyer in 1957. The vast white marble exterior floors are mopped Monday through Saturday for four hours. By showing the repetitive—if not Sisyphean — process required to keep the white stone sparkling clean, the artist poses questions about how class and race complicate the dying utopian ideals embodied by the demands of the aging architecture.


Clarissa Tossin earned her M.F.A. from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Valencia in 2009 and her B.F.A. from Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado (FAAP), São Paulo, Brazil in 2000. She was an artist-in-residence at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine in 2009. Her work has been exhibited at several venues in Los Angeles including: Redling Fine Art; Compact Space; Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT); and in São Paulo at Galeria Luisa Strina. Ms. Tossin was awarded an interdisciplinary grant from CalArts in 2008 and a College Art Association M.F.A. award in 2009. She is currently a Core Program fellow at the Glassell School of Art of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.