Carlos Jereissati Filho (São Paulo, 1971), one of the most prominent businessmen in Brazil, spent most of his childhood inside the Shopping Center Iguatemi in São Paulo, the first shopping mall that opened in Brazil and which was owned by his father. Carlos Jereissati began his career in 1994 as marketing officer for Jereissati Participações S.A., the parent company of Iguatemi Empresa. In 1996, he became the general manager of the Praia de Belas Shopping Center in Porto Alegre, rising to superintendent officer and chief operations officer before being appointed as chief executive. Contemporary art happens to be a personal passion of this young entrepreneur, who is using his mall spaces to exhibit art, bringing it closer to the Brazilian public.
Carlos Jereissati Filho (São Paulo, 1971), one of the most prominent businessmen in Brazil, spent most of his childhood inside the Shopping Center Iguatemi in São Paulo, the first shopping mall that opened in Brazil and which was owned by his father. Carlos Jereissati began his career in 1994 as marketing officer for Jereissati Participações S.A., the parent company of Iguatemi Empresa. In 1996, he became the general manager of the Praia de Belas Shopping Center in Porto Alegre, rising to superintendent officer and chief operations officer before being appointed as chief executive. In 2007, he was elected as a director of the board of Iguatemi Empresa and, in April 2013, he assumed the position of vice chairman of the board. According to BoF Magazine, Jereissati Filho played “a strategic role in positioning the Iguatemi outlets as centers of luxury shopping in Brazil”. Today, the luxury market is one of the most profitable in the country, despite the economical challenges Brazil has been facing in recent years.
In 2012, Carlos Jereissati opened the JK Iguatemi mall, where visitors will find over 200 stores with brands such as Saint Laurent, Tory Burch, Prada, Lanvin, Gucci and Chanel, just to name a few, along with extremely comfortable cinemas and excellent restaurants. Contemporary art happens to be a personal passion of this young entrepreneur, who is using his mall spaces to exhibit art, bringing it closer to the Brazilian public. Once a year the SP Arte/Foto, an art fair dedicated to photography, takes place within JK Iguatemi mall. The 2015 edition will be opening next August 19th at JK Iguatemi, its partner.
Artdependence Magazine interviews Carlos Jereissati to find out more about this extraordinary businessman and sponsor of fashion, architecture and art in Brazil.
Artdependence Magazine: Besides all your professional business activities, you have taken on the task of encouraging young fashion designers, architects and contemporary artists in Brazil. How do you see yourself and your business in this moment of Brazil and the world?
Carlos Jereissati Filho: The last 10 years have completely changed the Brazilian luxury market. In the past, there was a complete lack of interest by foreign brands to enter the country. Now, international luxury brands choose Iguatemi as the best “port of entry” for luxury brands in Brazil. South Americans and especially Brazilians travel around the world, and they have access to the best outside of their own country. It is important that they also have access to these products, brands and services inside their own country, and this is where we play an important role. Iguatemi quickly identified these needs and we have evolved into an influential institution; we can lead our consumers by the hand and redefine their attitude toward luxury.
In terms of cultural activation, the Iguatemi Group has a long-standing commitment bringing a number of art-related experiences to our customers. We have sponsored prominent Brazilian exhibitions and art fairs including the Bienal de São Paulo; a significant Adriana Varejão retrospective at the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo; SP-Arte; SP-Arte/Foto and exhibitions at Pinacoteca do Estado, such as the Sean Scully solo show earlier this year. We also actively support the acquisition programs of several national museums. In 2012 we launched a large-scale, rotating public art program across our properties, with the goal to present the public with the highest level of cohesively curated work from international and Brazilian artists. In addition to exhibiting museum quality work we created a true museum experience by installing gallery seating and digital displays with didactic content. Artists exhibited from the Iguatemi Collection include: Rivane Neuenschwander, Sarah Morris, Lisa Oppenheim, Daniel Steegman Mangrané, Chiara Banfi, Albano Afonso, and Detanico & Lain. Currently on view at JK Iguatemi are works by Vik Muniz and Daniel Senise, as well as permanent installations of Rikrit Tiravanija, Jeppe Hein and a Marepe sculpture.
AD: You own a magnificent glass house in São Paulo, designed by the paulista team Andrade Morettin and inspired in the famous Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe. This house is where you usually receive international businessmen, artists, curators and art dealers. Tell us about how you see yourself within the art milieu.
CJF: My love of a specific work is the driving force behind my personal collecting. This visceral reaction to a work rather than trends or investment is most important to me.
In terms of public art at Iguatemi, we are dedicated to supporting contemporary art and giving the people of Brazil access to celebrated artists and their works. Our aim is to provide a platform for individuals to create a personal dialogue with various artistic mediums, and for Iguatemi properties to be sites of contemporary cultural expression. In order to do this at a high level, we hired Italian-born, Brazil-based curator Jacopo Crivelli Visconti to oversee the acquisition of new works and devise an exhibition schedule across our portfolio of properties.
AD: Where do you consider home?
CJF: Sao Paulo is where I consider home – I was born here and this is where my family is based.
AD: How did your personal interest in art begin? What period of art interests you the most?
CJF: I have a long-lasting admiration for architecture from an early age, in part because understanding and appreciating public space is essential to my work.
As for art, I have been interested in both fresh Brazilian talent, artists like Marcelo Moscheta, Vik Muniz, Mauro Piva and Caio Reisewitz, and contemporary international artists. My collecting demonstrates my interest in geometry, color, and minimalism as expressed in works ranging from Mira Schendel to Lisa Oppenheim.
AD: How did you come up with the idea of housing the SP Arte/Foto inside the shopping center? It seems like a great way to connect art to a wider public.Do you believe this is an example to be followed abroad?
CJF: Hosting SP Arte/Foto at JK Iguatemi is a wonderful way for the public to engage with photography in a serious and educational manner, and to take part in the contemporary art scene in Brazil, which is currently enjoying international recognition. We’ve worked with SP-Arte/Foto organizer Fernanda Feitosa to keep public entry to the fair free of charge. This year, stores like Goyard, Lanvin, Diane von Furstenberg, Zegna, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Rimowa are all going to participate in the SP Arte/Foto circuit by exhibiting a curated selection of photographic works within their own stores, a very exciting initiative for our clients.
Compared with the international scene, we must be mindful that Brazil is not like Europe, where there is a very long, established tradition of art. In Europe, there are magnificent museums that people visit since childhood, and there are clear explanations of where things come from. A lot of Brazilians only see the finished product, without knowing the context out of which things came from. Therefore, at JK Iguatemi we have the opportunity to display artworks which people can contemplate in their daily lives, and also sponsor cultural events. We want to offer something which the Brazilian public can learn from.
AD: What are your future plans?
CJF: We currently operate 17 properties across Brazil. In Campinas and Porto Alegre we are undergoing exciting expansions and will continue to receive luxury brands in our retail mix. We’ve also entered the Outlet segment in some regions of the country with the goal of making premium brands available at significant discounts.
AD: Thank you and good luck!
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