Rodrigo Torres / Víveres, 22/07 – 26/08/2017
“All members of the Armada would have as well rights to the goods looted from the nations…”
(A Viagem do descobrimento. Eduardo Bueno)
In Cabral`s Armada it was common the share of goods plundered from different peoples, which they called by butim. And everything was of interest to those arriving from the sea: arms, groceries, spices, prisoners, and enslaved men. The provisions were fiercely controlled, being kept by a specific guardian body in the caravel-city. But nature has been always unrestrained and no one was able to restrain the stinking smell of water barrels and avoid the most fine of wines turning into vinegar. This search for butins would continue in the New World, gaining specific configurations at each moment. Gold, minerals, sugarcane, for instance, made of slavery in Brazil something new, destined to land cultivated by thousand of deportees. An the opulence and wealth of the colonial tables were supported by this, while the poor got used to pick the leftovers on the curbs, to taste the rotten groceries in the garbage, to carry on their heads the dejects of the city. No wonder this story was accompanied by insurgencies, revolts and riots led by tupinambás, caboclos, malês. Public order was subverted. The streets gained the cleverness of powerful arms, such as zarabatanas, tacapes and ofás, made with wood, metals, stones, bottles, and hidden in back covering tissues, bags and baskets, threating the dazzling marble of the fake Greek-Roman palaces.
Nevertheless, nothing could restrain the voracity of the federal capital. If the tropical paradise didn’t provide profits, an abuse of the “fiscal policy practiced by the governor” was considered. And a strong control was kept on everything that could seem subversive, like song, dance and the celebrative ways of a population born from different Diasporas. In terreiros, yards, under bridges, whole continents were mingled in immaterial cultural richness, in the core of faith, in the warmth of affections and exchanges never accustomed to the disciplinary and totalizing tendencies of those who, momentarily, rest on the illegitimacy of a no-representational power.
In Víveres [Provisions], Rodrigo Torres employs technical prodigies to bring us closer to these polarities, the glitter of marbled surfaces, cut techniques, trompe l’oeil, the menacing corrugated look of paper wrappers, Molotov cocktails abandoned in airports. Torres affirms himself with profound determination by observing the gestures of an artistic production that needs to align itself to the concepts of art, society and politics.
Provisions, in this way, confronts us to the maturity of the artist, experiencing effects of material surfaces, at the same time that ponders on the evils of colonization and capitalism. Rodrigo touches and crosses present day facts, observing, precisely, the ways how nature and civilization build a Brazil to be exploited, plundered in its “for export” natural riches in pro of a abundant table, prime meats, the distinction and waste of colonial tableware which until today are present in free smuggling. Curiously, as Lilia Schwarcz writes, “settlers from Rio de Janeiro became experts in smuggling: they went through blockages, they evaded fiscal policies”. It amazes
us to read that this information refers back to 1600.
What will be left to us, as a society? The logic of exploitation of agrarian production at any cost? The fact is that the circulation of nature and colonial relics, inside the houses or on the streets, generated a parcel of complexity that we cannot break or separate into identitary modes or passing fashions, as actually Gilberto Freyre anticipated. Who are we? On one hand, the children of an uncontrolled desire of consumption; and, on the other, survivors of violence, those with no place in the anomy of mingled peoples. But the body revolts in face of the dismantlement of humanitarian conquests. The vilipended topicality is both our rising and our fall, nowadays impoverish by tourism or the desire of becoming a national symbol. A banana Republic? We witness wealth diminish after so much expropriation.
What is left to us is to revisit the action of rebellions, riots, revolts, resisting to that which turned us into hostages.
Marcelo Campos, July 2017
Botner e Pedro / Abrigo, 22/07 – 26/08/2017
“Colcha de retalhos” (Patchwork quilt) is embroidered; fabric remains woven by one or more people, while the memory talks.
Cinema has always been about montage, scissors, cut and paste trying to implicate the memory of the spectator in narrative lines. “Memory is an editing station” (Wally Salomão).
As the cinema of attraction, Marcio Botner & Pedro Agilson always fixed the fragment of a movie expanding the effect of movement in photography between intermittent plans.
In the installation (abrigo) (shelter) the artists celebrate cinema as hospitality. Shelter, as in Gimme Shelter from Rolling Stones, hosts the fears, the fantasies and the conflicts of the visitor. And we, increasingly assembled as Frankensteins, stay suspended in the wings of our desires.
The eye of the artist works as a knot in a net of relations in a decentralized plan in which the meanings of the images multiply themselves involving the spectator in the various surfaces of extended images.
01 love and sex
04 fears and phantasms
05 to be or not to be
06 dreams and fantasies
07 to live
The eye always in the center as a mark of the one who sees and is seen and who, above all, watches all the movies of the past and the future, while we are in the shelter of the suspended duration that welcome us. As in a patchwork quilt of memories of cinema projected in the dark of rooms lightened by a ray of light that insists in showing one image at time.
André Parente e Katia Maciel
Collective / Sobre a Terra, 27/05 – 08/07/2017
Curated by Bernardo Mosqueira
Anna Bella Geiger
Manfredo de Souzanetto
Matheus Rocha Pitta
Regina José Galindo
An initial study: from the ground
(to my love)
Trace fossil analysis provide evidence that the Homo habilis practiced geophagy 2 million years ago and Homo sapiens more than 150 thousand years ago. On the past 5 millennia, soil ingestion has been present culturally on peoples from different origins, and still today is common on the countryside of Brazil, in the south of the United States, on Haiti and many regions in all of the continents. Geophagy is used as a way to trick starvation, with medicinal purposes, as part of ritualistic precepts or simply due to personal taste and food culture. In the latter mentioned aspect, soil is used as an ingredient in recipes, as a garnish, in the dishes like cakes and cookies, in natura or just seasoned with spices. Many children and mostly pregnant women are affected with alotriophagy and have a yearning for eating soil, clay, mud, brick and other similar components unusual to menus.
On Brazil, a country in which more than 50% of the population descends from African people, geophagy was common among slaves between the XVI and XIX century, and the practice was punished with physical violence and the usage of “mascara de Flandres”*, whose image over Anastácia’s face still haunts the Brazilian imaginary. The “banzo” (a sort of deep longing for a past life in Africa, limit of the individual in face of the exploitation and dehumanization of the new continent) lead many black people to die of malnutrition or suicide. Deterritorialized, from an irretrievable distance from their land, much often the black slaves killed themselves through excessive geophagy, that is, took their own lives by eating too much soil.
Regarding the symbolic power of this intimate gesture of filling one’s “digestive light” or even an existential shadow with ground, this research started to relate the procedures developed by artists to this element. Given the extent and the strength of the subject, this exhibition is inevitably incomplete – like a handful of soil before all the land in the planet. Shifting between levels above ground and underground (“underground is too hard for Brazil”), this show assembles a first and temperate curatorial experience on the material, conceptual, political and symbolical relations between human and the soil.
For we are ground, of ground we live and unto the ground we’ll return. The future is grounded in this same soil we live in. As the hegemonic epistemology mistakes ground for territory (and therefore being for having), we must turn to other epistemologies in order to comprehend that a future is only possible if we master being ground. Being from the ground. It belongs to the ground the great ancestral strenght, the nourishment, the nature cycles, the abundance and the healing. Only acknowledging its power and relevance we can provide a pact of health and prosperity. Onilé Mojuba! Salubá! Arroboboi! Atotô! Demarcação já! Demarcação já!
Bernardo Mosqueira, May 2017
*iron mask used to stop slaves from practicing geophagy, consuming alcohol and stealing food or diamonds.
- / ASCENSÃO cada semente é uma planta, 27/05 – 08/07/2017
Opavivará! / Utupya, March 25th – May 6th
If it had been a sunny morning
The indian would have undressed
excerpt from “Mistake of the Portuguese”, Oswald de Andrade
Inspired by this anthropophagic utopia, OPAVIVARÁ! composes its new exhibition at A Gentil Carioca gallery as a samba-enredo song. Between the heart of the jungle and the concrete city-life there’s a place for unconceivable hybridisms. The earliest prehistoric cave painting told of a people as much as the copies of the Occident modernizing programs. A people that resides in the mixture of the Indigenous people and the European, the Caboclos that have been affected and formed by this encounter. This Caboclos Brazil is the primitivism of the adaptive technology. The tupy utopia consists of devouring the otherness, of miscegenation, admixture and everything that is added in the “pororoca-of-meetings”. The exhibition starts at the street level of the second building of the gallery (Gonçalves Ledo st., 11), in the heart of Saara’s market region, with an ice cream parlor where you can buy Tupycolé, a popsicle in the shape of body parts in many different colors and flavors.
Following the gallery´s crossroads, down it goes the Remotupy, a caiçara canoe attached to an electric traction tricycle that travels the streets as igarapé rivers; the Abre Caminho is our opening-wing human traction trolley, that flood corners with four buckets of herbal baths full of pajé healer wisdom. On the second floor of the building there are 6 hammocks sewed together to create a place to access Social Networks and listen to the sound produced by chocalho jingles made of PET bottles recycling. The exhibition is completed by a set of three ocas (indigenous houses) with whistles at hand for the public to engage with forrest soundmakind, and DiscoOka, an envolving tupy karaoke room that echoes old dance rituals and the electric feel of a hyperconected world.
/ Abre Alas 13, 21/01 a 18/02/2017
curated by Marcio e Mara Fainziliber, Maria Laet and Bernardo de Souza
Alexandre Furcolin Filho
Anna Costa e Silva
David Bert Joris Dhert
Guerreiro do Divino Amor
Rafael Abdala e Jessica Goes (PROTOVOULIA)
At the end of an inglorious year, impacted by constant tides of disastrous events in Brazil and the World, another year follows, marked, even before its start, by political and economic forecasts that do not bode well for the near future of humanity. In this dramatic tone, we proceed in a rhythm of advance and retreat, rocked by crossed signals, a lot of noise and hails of bullets, advancing on the red light of time under imminent risks and danger.
Bathed in a purely artificial paint, the skirmishes at night, day after day, the sun that rises as beautiful as it is terrifying for the residents of Rio – the useless landscape imposes itself relentlessly, independent of that which is felt and processed in the city’s streets, on the tar of the asphalt or the flaming earth. But for how long will Rio de Janeiro continue to be beautiful at the expense of a mistreated population in their scorching routine from sun to sun?
Under the torrid temperatures of a new summer, a Gentil Carioca offers us a show with big surprises: a group of young and not so young artists willing to invade the avenues of 2017 clad in the invigorating artillery of art, invested in the power and creative potency that scares away all evil, revealing horizons and giving new breath to our epic adventure on planet Earth.
This January a new year starts confronted by angels and demons, revealing images of absolute urgency – without filters or make-up – constructing delirious scenarios, of fictional paint, which reveal a world that is still to be understood, imagined, invented and built. But in this world that is a world but that is also not a world, reality and fantasy no longer operate as antipodes, but as complementary fields to engage new spheres of power, love and coexistence. We need to reach what is far and what is close, what is visible and what is unsaid, what has been recorded and what is still to come, all at the same time.
In a cauldron of ingredients and voices that are as dissonant as they are complementary – such is the democracy of bodies and ideas -, the most beautiful alchemy, the elixir of life, the height of joy, the antidote to mundane ideas and the anti-monotony poison are produced. As between the snakes and the lizards of the past year a new man must arise, sometimes hybrid, sometimes mutant, sometimes scientific, in others poetic, ugly and beautiful, transgressor or peacemaker, but always alert, dynamic, supportive and courageous. We embark fearlessly with focus and euphoria, in the ship of art and the wild at heart, in a carousel of colors, forms, ideas and images that offer grace and sadness, reason and insanity. Armed with compasses and streamers, razors and confetti, we knock down the walls of the past and see the banners of the future, dancing samba and marching in groups of men and women, indians and Alices, gays and transvestites, clones and cyborgs, stopping here and there in a cinema to date, on a corner to hand out leaflets or in a motel to have sex; but soon forging ahead, as there is no more time to lose: ô abre-alas que eu quero passar, ô abre alas que eu quero passar!
Marcio e Mara Fainziliber, Maria Laet e Bernardo de Souza
Arjan Martins / Et cetera, 22/10 – 21/12/2016
Arjan’s paintings and their photographic sources
The last time I met Arjan he was holding a book by Sepp Werkmeister who during the 1960s had portrayed the inhabitants of New York, many of which from the neighborhood of Harlem. There were images of humble yet dignified black men, women and children, that Werkmeister pictured at work, at play or going about town. Looking at such images we are aware that they were taken at the time of the civil rights movement, yet, as far as I could see, there was no direct reference to racial conflict, no images of segregation or protests. Instead, they focused on the normality of day-to-day life. The hardships of existence were present in subtler ways, not as the central theme but as an aspect that transpired through a particular look in a face, in a detail or background. The struggle of life was juxtaposed for example with the elegance of people’s attire and the dignity that enthused in their style. It reminded me in this sense of another book which I had recently seen, ‘The Birth of Cool’ by Carol Tulloch which traces the influence that Black Caribbean migrants had on British fashion from the 1950s to date. I suddenly noticed Arjan’s own attire, white linen trousers, leather sandals and a smart loose shirt: a tropical adaptation perhaps.
I was already aware that as a painter Arjan made use of photographic images, usually of people, and that these images would appear and reappear in his paintings in a variety of contexts within his compositions. Often images stemming from the same photographic source are repeated in several different paintings, as the overall subject or as a detail in a larger canvas. Yet, what seemed at first distinct in the images from Werkmeister’s book, compared to the ones I had grown used to encountering in his paintings, was the fact that these were images that appeared to be so distant from his own cultural references. Previously, in his paintings the people that inhabited the compositions were typically Brazilian, black Brazilians. It was as if the artist had consciously traced aspects of his own ethnic history, tracing the formation of an identity, aspects of a culture, how his ancestral past has been problematically placed within Brazilian history and society, or perhaps more powerfully still, how these characters emphasise the problematic historical narratives that situate such representations within Brazilian art. Arjan appeared to have elaborated a project of retrieval of such iconography, taking over the authorship of such representations while exposing the contemporary art circuit as an ethnically cleansed social milieu. The question that struck me was therefore what relation could these smart working class black New Yorkers from a by-gone era have with his previous themes and characters?
In the preface to Paul Gilroy’s compilation of photographic images of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora in Britain (Black Britain: a photographic history, Saqi and Getty Images, 2007), Stuart Hall describes the project of gathering such visual material as one that possesses an ‘interrogative’ purpose:
The still image arrests the flow of time, freezes the event, allowing us to look longer, get more out of it. But it is not complete – it can’t, in the end, ‘speak for itself’. What signifies is not the photographic text in isolation but the way it is caught up in a network of chains of signification which ‘overprint’ its inscription into the currency of other discourses, which bring out different meanings. Its meaning can only be completed by ways we interrogate it.
I believe there is something of this interrogative approach in Arjan’s interest in the photographic image as a source for his paintings. It is with an interrogative approach that he seeks out different meanings, that he inscribes these photographs of people from a different place and time within the currency of another discourse, one that nevertheless shares a common history. This is where painting becomes a medium with quite distinct possibilities. Arjan’s numerous reproductions taken from a single photograph of a young girl holding her hand to her mouth demonstrate this quite well. Each time the image is painted the expression is distinct, sometimes displaying timidity, at other times an air of mischief. The photograph may demonstrate such ambivalences yet the painterly reproductions accentuate these to the extent that, and particularly when shown side by side, the single decisive moment captured by the camera, becomes layered, becomes truly multiple.
The same girl appears on the upper right hand side of a canvas. She is disproportionately large hovering over a composition that includes an upside-down Portuguese Caravel with its sails inflated by the wind making them resemble a proud puffed-up chest. Inscribed across the sails the Portuguese cross, the Vera Cruz, stands threatening as if announcing the first name given to the land which we can see on the horizon and that today we call Brazil. A crown, placed on the left-hand side of the canvas at the same height as the girl’s head is framed by a disposition of triangles, one formed by the ropes of a ship’s rig, the other by the three disproportionate elements in the picture, the crown, the rig’s pulley and the black girl’s head. It is not mischief that now transpires in the face of the girl but fear: the horror that is invoked by the reference to the triangular trade conjured by the painting’s iconography and composition.
In another painting we find a similar compositional structure, such as the upside-down ship and the outline of the coast of Arjan’s home-city of Rio de Janeiro. Another girl appears to be holding a book, or perhaps a painting, forming a similar, albeit inverted, triangular disposition between the crown and the pulley. The principle difference here is the ship, that not only is represented from its side as opposed to its front, but more significantly, no longer a Portuguese Caravel, but a British Clipper, the Cutty Sark.
In a previous essay I wrote (Arjan e o conto da saia justa) I have already dealt with the apparent historical inconsistency of the Cutty Sark appearing in paintings that clearly relate to the history of the slave trade in Brazil. Suffice here to summarise the principle points that I then made as a form of conclusion. We should not expect from a contemporary painter a historical ‘accuracy’ comparable, for example, to Jean Batiste Debret’s depictions of slavery in Rio de Janeiro during the early 19th century. Photography, with all its insufficiencies, has taken over that documentary role. As I had highlighted in that essay, despite the fact that Britain promotes itself as an abolitionist nation, it had indeed been heavily implicated in the slave trade. The photographic images that I referred to above (in Tulloch’s and Gilroy’s books) are a direct consequence of that, as was the origin of the name Cutty Sark. Even the UK’s most prestigious museum of modern and contemporary art, the Tate, was founded on the profits stemming from sugar production and the triangular trade. Arjan’s paintings thus reveal not a history, but how history is present in the here and now.
As I write this short essay, the Times newspaper announces on its front page that the government has request that all UK ‘Firms should list Foreign Workers’. Arjan’s themes are all the more significant at this moment in which the ugly spectre of racism and xenophobia has returned onto the global stage within mainstream political discourse. It is precisely because of the multiple origins of his photographic sources that his paintings invite us to think, not of a particular and specific historical fact, but instead and more generally about, for example, how many of our politicians, or institutions whether here in the UK, in the USA or in Brazil hold such positions of power based upon the privilege that stems from the slave trade, and how that privilege still legitimises itself based upon prejudice. As such, Arjan’s paintings, more than any photograph is able to do, testify the perverse anachronism of contemporaneity.
Michael Asbury 5/10/2016
/ Mapas temporais de uma terra não sedimentada, 03/09 – 08/10/2016
Mapas temporais de uma terra não sedimentada (Temporary Maps of a Non-Sedimented Land) / by Carol Carrion
A stretch of land that starts to crumble. We regard a plain that collapses, as if falling into the wall. A canyon is formed which soon is invaded by an avalanche of earth, whose incessant movement is transformed into liquidity. The earth runs until its strength is such that it covers everything, handing back to the surface, the space ready to be once again, perpetually eroded. In another projection, the dried-up soil is invaded by a water vein that the thirsty terrain is barely able to soak up. In a third one, we see the slow evaporation of water present on earth, whose colours almost unnoticeably become lighter. With very precise experiences such as these, which are only seemingly simple, that Thiago Rocha Pitta brings forth to the public the videos from the series Mapas temporários de uma terra não sedimentada.
Slight interventions carried out by Rocha Pitta catalyse the videos´ narratives, which unfold autonomously — a constructive method commonly found in his work. Nevertheless, the artist´s propelling activity does not alter the fact that the pieces in this series are beyond human intervention. The actions we witness remind us of objects with no subjects, movements so embedded in the universe´s causal chain that to understand its origins we should go endlessly back until arriving at the unthinkable prior to time. If his previous videos took place in a mythical nature where culture lurked, maybe hidden immediately after the end of the frame, these maps reach the magnificence of universal forces with which we – meaningless ephemeral beings – have no relation.
Hume stated that if a triangle or circle had never existed in nature, the truths of Euclid´s theorems would retain their certainty and evidence1; taking this reasoning to the extreme, we assume that these theorems would still be true even if no human mind had ever conceived or enunciated them, as their veracity depends solely on the relationship between merely ideal elements. Something similar happens here: these actions would exist even if the artist had not perpetrated them or if we, viewers, took no notice of them. Through these artworks, we come into contact with truths both prosaic and monumental: the laws of motion of the bodies, the inevitability of causality, the unmeasurableness of time. It´s not by means of the artist´s action, but by regarding, that these videos come back to the cultural context from where they had escaped. It is in the awareness of time — so stimulated by Thiago´s work to the extent of causing anxiety — that resides the consciousness of death. When contemplating these scenes where there always is movement and transformation but never life, we remember that mutability is not, for us, the mere transfiguration of the physical state of matter; it means to wither and perish. Nature becomes the mirror of man, unable to face alterity without seeing himself.
It is significant that these works be defined by a geopolitical category. Every map carries deep within the pretentiousness of permanence, whose unfeasibility is evident in the political outlines, outdated by the constant change of human socio-territorial configurations. However, not even physical maps are immune to time: rivers dry, the climate of certain regions may experience changes, and although imperceptible to us, continents move. Maps are always representations and, as such, imperfect. Thiago Rocha Pitta´s changeable maps question our static perception of what, in fact, is always moving, mocking man´s desire for stability and certainty. The earth is not sedimented because it will never be; all maps are temporary. The world´s fluidity overlaps the inflexibility of concepts.
Collective / ALMA: Acervo Gentil
Thiago Rocha PItta
Rafael Alonso / RAFAEL ALONSO / Torto, Apr 11 – Jun 11 2016
A Gentil Carioca presents TORTO, the first solo exhibiton by artist Rafael Alonso at the gallery.
In his individual exhibition he continues his artistic research of the last few years based on the investigation of possible links between his practice of painting and his daily life.
From a series of banal references, such as dust jackets of books, parking cards, furniture, design objects or fragments of garments the artist creates striking abstract paintings with a very heterogeneous visuality.
The set of works that form the exhibition compose a sort of visual inventory of meetings that took place over the last year, shaped in the form of paintings. The painter acts as a chronicler and his paintings end up reflecting the events of his existence during a specific period of time.
/ Abre Alas 12, Feb 01 – Mar 19 2016
Curated by André Sheik, Adriana Varejão and Paula Borghi
Jardineiro André Feliciano
One of the most pleasurable things about art is getting to know new artists. It is great when we see a work that really touches us, especially when it is due to its power, and not due to the semantic charge of its signature. These are the moments when it is worth dedicating oneself to art. Of course every line of work has its good and bad parts, but this is the moment of wonder, experience without judgement, fruition, beauty and love at first sight. And what a wonderful feeling it is…
It is with this sensation in mind that we present Abre Alas 12, with inspiring artists who work with experimentation and in search of their own voice. Artists who do this in an enchanting, serious and consistent way. And what may seem a romantic choice of works that do not seem to dialogue with one another, is a collection that represents the spirit of a time: the now. It is of course only one possible reflection within the works that were sent to us. We were guided by the involvement that we had with the selected works, by our wish to see them exhibited and to be able to share them.
If during the selection process we looked at the portfolios and proposals and tried to identify a consistency between thought, poetry, language, ideas, concepts and technique within the work of each artist, it is only now with the exhibition in place that we can really experience our decisions. It is on this note that we are pleased to present the works of 20 artists, genteelly welcomed to this procession of art and celebration. Ô, ô, ô, o Abre Alas is here!
Alexandre Vogler / Bângala: Yakã Ayê, Nov 28, 2015 – Jan 09, 2016
curated by Yuri Firmeza and Uirá dos Reis
Adriele Freitas + Juliane Peixoto
Chico da Silva
Francisco de Almeida
Marina de Botas
Thiago Martins de Melo
Victor de Castro
Victor de Melo
Language in Delirium
Of the many definitions of the word Bângala, from the minority language of Bantu to the governor of Angola, the one that most interests us is the one highlighted by Ana Miranda in “Musa Praguejadora – A Vida de Gregório de Matos”, Bângala means a hard-on in the Bunda language. The same applies to Ayê, a word from the Yoruba language, which, amongst various different translations (and every translation is a transcreation) invites us to the think about the meaning of the earth and life. Yakã, perhaps the most accurate of the words, means river in Guarani. Bângala: Yakã Ayê is thus, far from being a tribute to phallocentrism, an ode to lives lived in a mighty stream. With the peculiarities of each language assured, we have created a situation where these languages touch each other in an operation that is critical of the regime of survival.
We are interested in thinking about the inaccuracy and lapse of this title as something that guided this curatorship. As if in a totalizing plan, the respect of grammar, laws and assertive outlines, the works oppose themselves in a kind of glossolalia. In other words, works and curatorship which privilege differential relationships in detriment of the actual terms; that say more about syntax than to lexical aspects.
And so, it makes the language rave in a kind of dismantling of the dominant traps that are registered right there, in the language, as Roland Barthes reminds us: “This object in which power is inscribed, for all of human eternity, is language, or to be more precise, its necessary expression: the language we speak and write. Language is legislation, speech is its code. We do not see the power which is in speech because we forget that all speech is a classification, and that all classifications are oppressive: ordo means both distribution and combining. Jakobson showed us that a language defines itself less by what it allows us to say, more by what it forces us to say (…) all language is slavery and power”.
The Geopolitical Language
In other words, it is impossible not to remember that there are around 500 languages in South America alone and more than 200 languages in addition to Portuguese, spoken in Brazil. Krenak reminds us of the shortage of indigenous literature published in Brazil, all depreciated by the Portuguese language. Moreover, following on with the words of Krenak, “Today I think there is almost no native village that does not have a public school in it (…) where Portuguese is one of the obligatory languages in the classroom, in some cases it is the only language. (…) We are experiencing multiple layers of colonization simultaneously. At the same time that you are invited to have a school inside your village you are also invited to forget the whole repertoire of your culture and start to update your repertoire to negotiate the conditions of your survival”
This caustic criticism extends to the institution that is commonly talked about as a saviour: education is the future of the world! In Krenak’s testimony, the proselytizing of an educational project appears as a maintenance of a supposed world order. A project of power, intolerance to difference and repetition of the modus operandi, these are the possible pitfalls of education and of course, art.
Which language do we speak?
The language that dance. Because dancing places everything that surrounds us into a glossolaliac cauldron, without pre-established forms, without names, without identities. A language that founds what it says while it says what it founds, like a performative act that invents worlds and produces vortices.
Yuri Firmeza e Uirá dos Reis
José Bento / JOSE BENTO / Chão de Estrelas, Sept 14 – Nov 07, 2015
A Gentil Carioca is pleased to announce the exhibition Chão de estrelas, by the artist José Bento. The title of the exhibition is a poetic motto inspired, of course, by the homonymous song by Orestes Barbosa and Silvio Caldas, from 1935. The installation after which the exhibition is called is made up of thousands of pieces of wood (Vinhático or popularly known as “egg yolk”), interspersed with steel cables (or as the artist’s assistants names them “golden threads”) tensioned to the limit of breaking from one side of the exhibition room to the other. So we are faced with a monochrome plan, which floats at the height of the artists navel, which refers to a horizon that creates tension in the relationship between the monochrome which is in itself a golden landscape where the day and night meet.
Minha vida era um palco iluminado
Eu vivia vestido de dourado
Palhaço das perdidas ilusões
Cheio dos guizos falsos da alegria
Andei cantando a minha fantasia
Entre as palmas febris dos corações
Meu barracão no morro do Salgueiro
Tinha o cantar alegre de um viveiro
Foste a sonoridade que acabou
E hoje, quando do sol, a claridade
Forra o meu barracão, sinto saudade
Da mulher pomba-rola que voou
Nossas roupas comuns dependuradas
Na corda, qual bandeiras agitadas
Pareciam um estranho festival
Festa dos nossos trapos coloridos
A mostrar que nos morros mal vestidos
É sempre feriado nacional
A porta do barraco era sem trinco
Mas a lua, furando o nosso zinco
Salpicava de estrelas nosso chão
Tu pisavas nos astros, distraída
Sem saber que a ventura desta vida
É a cabrocha, o luar e o violão
The set of works exhibited in Chão de estrelas brings together various strategies used throughout José Bentos career. Notably, in the work Xadrez para Max e Marcel (“Chess for Max and Marcel”) with recreates everyday objects in wood in an approximation to the hyper-realistic discourse, as done by the artist in previous years in works such as Cobogó, Telefone (“Cobogó , Telephone”) and spectacularly in Banheiro Bento (Bento Bathroom) where he recreated soap, drain plugs etc, but here he refers to what has been called “mitigated surrealism” in his work. In Xadrez para Max e Marcel (“Chess for Max and Marcel”), José Bento references the famous photo in which Marcel Duchamp appears toasting Max Ernst in the middle of a chess game originally designed for a third artist for the exhibition The imagery of Chess, at the Julien Levy Gallery, in 1944. In a game of mirrors and self-references, José Bento establishes his credentials as an artist who enjoys the neo-dada and contemporary surrealist antics.
In another room, in direct contrast to the Duchamp-Ernestian message, there is a set of monochromes which range between yellow and red accompanied by a wooden rug facing Mecca, like a compass, which reminds us of the Atlantic traditions that connect us to Africa and Europe through a reticence of the landscape, from the figurative to the illustrative and, in this case a “mitigated mysticism.” Surrealism, though best known for its emphasis on the unconscious, also always emphasized a mystical aspect of communication with the beyond.
Between the two ends of Western modernism, or in other words, between the formal abstract of constructive art and the typical discursive representation of surrealism, the exhibition Chão de estrelas stretches its contemporary vision by rescuing the simple poetry of the games of simple things through exposure to the substantive poetry of Orestes Barbosa – shack, latch, zinc, ground, stars etc. As the artist once said: this Orestes Barbosa is a genius because he brought the stars from up there and put them down on the ground for the humble to step on.
It is with humility that the exhibition will spread through SAARA – the large open market next to the gallery. Spread out through the famous shops / stalls and their tight and noisy streets, about eight works will be camouflaged in the commercial landscape. Both a comment on the commercial aspect of the exhibition, but mainly to the varying status as to what exactly a ready-made is nowadays, and also challenging the viewer to consider the landscape of SAARA as an exhibition space, a place of exchange and recurrent social and aesthetic experiences.
The entire exhibition will be “tied together” by a newspaper in tabloid format that will be a repository of the puzzles of the possible sources of the expansive sculptural work of José Bento. The newspaper is a way in which the unconscious, the mystical, and the pedestrian artist are tied. There references come to the surface and submerge in the midst of chatter of other curators, artists and landscapes.
João Modé / JOÃO MODÉ / Algumas coisas que estão comigo, Jul 18 – Aug 21, 2015
The title of João Modé’s next exhibition, algumas coisas que estão comigo (Some things that are with me), is in reference to the groups of objects that occur on their own, in actions that take place in time. The artist realized that the objects in his studio group themselves in unusual and independent ways, through diverse actions that occur with the run of time, in daily life, and through this the exhibition reveals the transitory nature of things in the world, be they objects or thoughts.
The Periscópio (Periscope), one of the works in the exhibition, dialogues with João Modé’s first exhibition at A Gentil Carioca, A Cabeça (The Head), in 2007, where Modé led the audience to ‘visit’ the gallery’s attic. Modé proposes that the visitor traverses the space above, the attic, whilst being in the room below. The attic is a place with the same floor plan but in different dimensions, which this time will be shown through a periscope.
Always proposing new relationships in space, João Modé allows us to see the city from the window and cross the space of the ceiling. Modé will connect the two gallery spaces – Rua Gonçalves Ledo 17 and Rua Gonçalves Ledo 11 – with a staircase that leads to the skylight of the building. Going up the stairs, you will be able to see the city in another dimension. Copper wires are used to connect spaces and build the work Galaxy on the 3rd floor of building number 11.
Galaxy is a work of semi-precious stones and copper wires, first shown at A Gentil Carioca in 2014 at ABC Berlin, a platform organized by Berlin galleries to allow galleries from around the world to show artists individual works. The work Galaxy will be shown for the first time in Brazil during this exhibition.
The exhibition also features a dialogue between João Modé and Ana Paula Cohen, who will produce a text especially for the show.
Paulo Paes / PAULO PAES / Djanir, June 06 – July 04, 2015
Djanir, title of the exhibition, is the name of one of the fisália sculptures that will be shown in the gallery A Gentil Carioca starting June 6th. Djanir, “cyborg mermaid”, as Paulo Paes affectionately entitles it, is a colonized fisália.
Physalia Physalis is a marine being, or colony of beings, polyps, whose popular name is caravel. Also, fisália is the name that Paulo Paes uses for his subaqueous sculptures. Fisálias are sculptures that immersed in the sea are colonized by marine organisms, as the proper Djanir, or virgin fisálias; sculptures ready to be immersed in the sea and adopted by collectors and institutions interested in participating in Paulo Paes´ research project.
The work of the artist unfolds around the process of life adaptation to new environmental conditions. The artist creates and immerses the structures (fisálias) made of urban waste (plastic bottles, metallic glass packages, shells) and natural materials (rock, wood, bone) in the ocean. When interacting with the marine environment, these structures generate a progressive biological activity.
As shelters of different sizes and shapes, surfaces, filament filter, lashes, handles, platforms etc. the fisálias cover various levels of depth and illumination facilitating a varied range of organisms while offering a substrate for fixation and supply of the existing nutrients. The cultivation, the maintenance and the expansion of these colonized structures are collected in audio and visual reports.
Djanir is the first exhibition presented by Paulo Paes at the gallery A Gentil Carioca. The show is the result of the artist´s research process; operations and maneuvers of devices submersed in the marine biome to attract and secure underwater life.
Djanir showcases samples of mature colonized fisálias displayed in a salted water aquarium, result of a 2 year and 10 months sea life project backed by biology expert Mauricio Andrade; underwater photography images, sculptures (virgin fisálias); drawings; canvases (seascapes); videos; texts and reports on the process.
The exhibition is supported by IEAPM (Institute of Marine Studies Admiral Paulo Moreira), whose scientific coordinator is the biologist Ricardo Coutinho, and location, Ilha do Farol de Arraial do Cabo , field of work where Paulo performs his experiments.
Cabelo / CABELO / Obrigado Volte Sempre, Mar 28 – May 15, 2015
“Obrigado Volte Sempre” (Thank you, please come again) is Cabelo´s second solo exhibition at the Gentil Carioca Gallery. If in 2011, “Cabelo presented MC Fininho and DJ Barbante at the Baile Funk (Gentil) Carioca”, honoring the rawness and the energy of funk, he now returns with a silent show, where light and color are the protagonists. The artist will occupy the two gallery buildings with projections and frames of videos, where the light reflected on unstable surfaces is captured in close-ups, allowing the observer to see the remarkable changes in rhythm, as well as seeing the rise and the disappearance of beings and worlds. It is as if the eye could penetrate a portal to other dimensions, revealing a macrocosm within the microcosm, and from there, the light waved thanking you for your visit, inviting us to return: Thank you, please come again!
/ Abre Alas 11, Feb 07 – Mar 13, 2015
Curated by Livia Flores, Michelle Sommer and Daniel Steegmann Mangrané
Rodrigo Alcon Quintanilha
Rodrigo Garcia Dutra
On the 7th of February 2015, Abre Alas will hold its 11th edition and will complete 11 years of existence. One year after A Gentil Carioca was founded Mario Botner, Laura Lima and Ernesto Neto noticed that they had a treasure: they had received around 200 portfolios of artists from all over Brazil. The directors of A Gentil Carioca decided to take advantage of all of this material in an exhibition that has been held since 2005, in the period just before carnival. The name “Abre Alas” is a reference to the float that starts the parade of the Samba schools. The project is an exhibition which was launched with the aim of creating space for young artists. With time the exhibition started to have participants from all over the world.
A Gentil Carioca functions as a showcase, and is happy to see that the artists that have presented their work in the exhibition continue their path as part of the larger art network. More than 100 new artists have participated in the project over the years.Amongst them are: Maria Nepomuceno, Guga Ferraz, Bernardo Ramalho, Rodrigo Torres. Maria Laet, Gabriela Mureb etc and etc.
Since 2010 we have invited curators to select the works. This year the following are part of the selection committee: Livia Flores, artist, Michelle Sommer, curator and Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, artist and curator.
There were 310 entries and 42 projects were selected, from diverse regions of Brazil and abroad.
Guga Ferraz / GUGA FERRAZ / Maranhão, Nov 15, 2014 – Jan 24, 2015
On the 15th of November A GENTIL CARIOCA opens the exhibition MARANHÃO, by Guga Ferraz. The artist works with urban interventions and this is his second individual exhibition at the gallery. After carrying out various interventions using the street as his medium, Guga Ferraz will occupy A GENTIL CARIOCA with original works of sculpture, bringing “chronicles” on current issues such as violence, politics and protests to the exhibition space.
In 2007, Guga Ferraz occupied the external wall of the A GENTIL CARIOCA gallery with the work “Cidade dormitório” (Dormitory Town). Eight stories of bunk beds were installed on the “Parede Gentil”, the outer wall of the gallery. On the opening day, artists, children and passers-by occupied these beds installed in a public space, subsequently they were occupied by the homeless, creating an unexpected flux of visitation to the artwork.
Recently, Guga Ferraz presented the work “As far as the sea came, up to where Rio would go – praia da Lapa” at FUNARTE, a line made of salt which outlined the contour of the extinct Lapa beach. He also presented the work “As far as the HILL came, up to where Rio would go”, where he built walls of black earth and wood representing the location of the Morro do Castelo, which was levelled in 1921.
Maria Laet / MARIA LAET / Pedra Vão and PONTOGOR / Perdendo a fé, Sep 13 – Oct 18, 2014
In her third solo exhibition at the Gentil Carioca Gallery, Maria Laet presents a group of works that includes monotype, video and installation.
The title PEDRA VÃO suggests a paradox between what is unique, full, complete, with clear stable boundaries, and the emptiness of the open space, the gap, which ends up by having its limits defined and sustained through contact with the other.
Laet addresses notions of boundary, and the relationship between the very materiality of objects, substances, surfaces, and their different states of being – be it through their strength or weakness, or by their strength as weakness. The enchantment of Laet with the most ordinary detail and behavior of things can lead us to ask about the purpose of this artwork. A reasonable number of answers could be suggested but they would one by one deny its poetic possibilities, which are multiple. The work presented starts from the singular, pointing to the multiple.
PERDENDO A FÉ
The exhibition features installations, photographs and video.
Individual exhibition by Pontogor. The artist presents works that question rational logic while reflecting on concepts of time, faith and reason. The installations shown investigate the limits of comprehension of the sensory world through the study of rhythm, composition, weight and emptyness. Always using error and chance as a tool for the creation of artwork which embodies these limits of understanding of the game and contrasts materials and unstable articulations.
/ EVANDRO MACHADO / Luxphilia, Aug 2 – 30, 2014
The starting point of Evandro Machado’s poetic research for LUXPHILIA, his first solo exhibition at A Gentil Carioca, is the instinctive desire of insects and humans to follow a source of light in the darkness.
In recent years, Evandro has been conducting research on animation, drawing and painting together in the same language: video. The reference to LUXPHILIA, attraction to light, is the ideal metaphor to describe images of fires in the city and fictional situations in bright landscapes or at night. Everything is united in a set of videos specially prepared to create a delicate atmosphere. The light itself also constructs a narrative about instinct and therefore ideas. Or rather: “enlightenment”.
/ Maracanã, June 13 – July 12, 2014
With a full football team of 11 artists A Gentil Carioca opens the Maracanã exhibition in its old building on the 14th of June at 6pm. A team composed of poets, musicians and thinkers was selected this time rather than the more traditional formation of visual arts. The exhibition suggests more than a simple game played literally, with or for the public. The theme of the Maracanã is a thorny issue in current times and also poetic par excellence, it raises controversy and emotions. The invited artists aim to understand what the Maracanã was in the past, what it currently is and the future course of the crucial metaphors that will shape this monument: the Maracanã.
/ PAULO NENFLIDIO / Escuta, Apr 26 – May 24, 2014
The fourth individual exhibition by the artist Paulo Nenflidio at the A Gentil Carioca Gallery.
Recent sound and visual works inspired by natural phenomena and sea creatures. Each work has an internal code in micro controlled circuits where randomness is part of the composition.
Rain rehearsal, for example, has a code that sculpts the sound in fractions of microseconds. The work is a laboratory where the water, contained in various tubes and beakers, determines the dynamics of time and the amplitude of the rain.
/ Abre Alas 10, Feb 22 – Mar 15, 2014
Curated by Armando Mattos and Marta Mestre
Coletivo Plástico Preto
Leandra Espírito Santo
On the 22nd of February, Abre Alas will present its 10th edition and will complete 10 years of existence.
One year after A Gentil Carioca was founded Mario Botner, Laura Lima and Ernesto Neto noticed that they had a treasure: they had received around 200 portfolios of artists from all over Brazil. The directors of A Gentil Carioca decided to take advantage of all of this material in an exhibition that has been held since 2005, in the period just before carnival.
The name “Abre Alas” is a reference that starts the parade of the Samba schools. The project is an exhibition which was launched with the aim of creating space for young artists. With time the exhibition started to have participants from all over the world.
A Gentil Carioca functions as a showcase, and is happy to see that the artists that have presented work in the exhibition continue their path as part of the larger art network. More than 100 new artists have participated in the project over the years. Amongst them are: Maria Nepomuceno, Guga Ferraz, Rodrigo Torres and Maria Laet.
Since 2010 we have invited curators to select the works. This year the following are part of the selection committee: Armando Mattos (curator of the Búzios Biennial of Contemporary Art – BAB) and Marta Mestre (assistant curator of the MAM – Rio).
There were 283 entries and 28 projects were selected from diverse regions of Brazil and abroad.
Rafael Alonso / Ornamentos, Oct 19 – Dec 21, 2013
Curatorship: Felipe Scovino
The dialog between the pieces of this exhibition doesn’t present itself in their immediate appearance, but in the symbolic transformation suffered by contemporary painting, that is, a constant negotiation between its history and the awkward questioning about its death (and so validity), as well as its connection with media and techniques that can catch a glimpse of new possibilities for its presentation. Our guide is the experimentation performed by the artists of this exhibition, not a fleeting and insipid attempt of creating a new and radical condition for painting. In many cases we come across objectual paintings, but, above all, what pervades these pieces is an acid and cynical tint, a laughter about what (economy of) art has become. The market seems to be ruled, in certain circumstances, by a “force” that privileges quantity over quality, profit and investment over the poetic potential carried by the work. Mockery and cynicism are present in Alonso’s paintings and its “poorly drawn” lines, in Hugo Houayek’s corpses/coffins, as well as in a wall drawing made with lipstick, in Alvaro Seixas’ kitsch tributes to art history, and in Adriano Costa’s work, whose frail materiality makes reference to pop art and discuss the idea of displacement of the object of art.