Balé Literal (Literal Ballet)
(In three simultaneous acts)
Eleven years separate Fuga (Escape, 2008), the last solo exhibition by Laura Lima at A Gentil Carioca – when the artist transformed the space of the gallery into a nursery for 50 live birds – from the presentation of Balé Literal (Literal Ballet, 2019), an unprecedented work that connects the two buildings of the gallery directly at the crossroads through an ingenious contraption. The project, the result of her research with architecture and living beings, is a living organism that mobilizes dozens of people orchestrated by the artist. The event will take place on June 29, starting at 7:00 p.m., and the exhibition will remain until August 30, 2019.
In Literal Ballet, the inner and outer spaces of the gallery are configured as the aura of a theater. The ballet of the artist is composed of the construction of a bestiary of things and people in a back-and-forth: in place of dancers, there are works, objects, machinery, equipment, architecture, sound and lighting; as well as the audience that, like a choreography, move through the triangulation that ties the two buildings and the crossroads of A Gentil Carioca together with the invisible beings that live there. The descents, pauses and ascents of this ballet move rhythmically, at the invitation of the artist, to an unprecedented symphony specially composed by Ana Frango Elétrico.
Referring to the dictionary, literal points to what is ‘expressed, strict, restricted’. But Laura Lima subverts it`s meaning and ‘literal’ turns out to be the ambivalence of the term: if the work escapes from classical conceptual ties, literality, here, becomes the dimension of a production that affirms itself by recognising, first of all, what is not. In this unstable and fertile terrain, her work ends up choosing guerrilla and chance as the protagonists – in its multiple possibilities and dangers. At the crossroads, organic crosses between poetic materialities and logistical challenges weave the experimental, which contains errors, successes and improvisations with the power of doing by doing.
In this context, during the process of the construction ofLiteral Ballet, loose threads touch the elaboration of other-new languages, shuffling the position between meanings and signifiers. Operated in triad, we have: 1. the development of an imagistic-textual lexicon of words (defenestrated, ritornelo, balaclava, …); 2. impulses anchored in historical references (Bosch, Berkeley, Hilst, Tatlin, Marquis de Sade, …) in connection with the genealogy of previous works (Puxador, Dopada, Baile, Cinema Shadow, Mágico Nu, Notas de Rodapé, …), and 3. the figurative contextualization of the dancing works (Chandelier of coxinhas, rain of fish, cloaks in co-authorship with other artists, like Fernanda Gomes, João Modé and Cabelo …). In the triad open to translation and interpretation of the other, the ellipsis … are active operatives of the configuration proposed by the artist.
If the art and spirit of her time go hand in hand, the footsteps of Laura Lima’s Literal Ballet are markers of our ‘absurd’, wavering, wandering time that configures a lexicon to come. Among contradictions, what is literal in the era of fake news, extreme visibilities and misrepresented narratives? How can we deny the strength of the now – in all its eloquence and vertigo? Invited to dance, we have to actively contemplate the delirium, the production of the madness and the lucidity of the staging of which we are part, to explode the moment collectively. After all, trust is the balaclava.