ArtRio 2014 - Highlights from Art Immersion Trip
This September, Latitude: Platform for Promoting Brazilian Art Galleries Abroad brought 14 international art world professionals to Brazil to see the 31st Bienal de São Paulo & ArtRio for the Art Immersion Trip. This programme was conceived to establish a worldwide network and to create opportunities for Brazilian galleries for future business, projects and collaborations.
ArtRio was the last stop of an eight-day itinerary and we asked four of our guests, Liz Munsell (Curator of Contemporary Art & MFA Programs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA), Nav Haq (Curator, MuKHA – Museum of Contemporary art Antwerp, Belgium), Adrienne Edwards (Curator, Performa, USA) and Irene Aristizabal (Head of exhibitions, Nottingham Contemporary, UK), to discuss their highlights at the fair.
Liz Munsell - (Curator of Contemporary Art & MFA Programs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA)
“Yessoed" are an obvious take-off from neo-concrete artist Lygia Clark's famed "Bichos," yet Simoes comments on the Bicho's current conditions of display rather than their massive art historical influence. By creating heavy plaster Bichos, which are more of a burden than an open question, Simoes critiques the practice of fixing Clark's forms behind vitrines through our market (and heritage)-driven contemporary art value systems.
Ianes' "Progress" melds an ephemeral performance with a wall-hung installation of photographs whose order is determined by the collector or institution who purchases them. Such dynamism within the traditionally staid grid format suggests that progress is not a chronology as much as a clashing of steps forwards, backwards, and in every which direction.
Daniel Steegmann Mangrané
Espaço Avenca, 2014
Mendes Wood DM
Two ornate branches that form an unruly web - an organic yet somehow geometric composition - caught my eye in Steegmann Mangrané's work "Fern Space." His direct gesture suggests that we are all involved in the thoughtful process of building space from mundane moments and materials around us. The delicate connections in this quiet work nestled within an art fair remind us not only to see the forest for the trees.
A Gentil Carioca
Amidst a frenzied environment, Lima's sculptures pause and talk to each other over a Brazilian "cold beer." If we imagine the fair as a marketplace in the traditional communitarian sense - that of a social space as much as a platform for consumption - then the energy generated when works and people talk to each other is as significant as any monetary exchange here.
Adrienne Edwards - (Curator, Performa, USA)
Galeria Nara Roesler
Cao Guimarães 2011 digital high definition video Brasília shown as part of curators Pablo León de la Barra’s and Julieta González’s Solo exhibition and represented by Galeria Nara Roesler is a compelling visual articulation of movement in relation to the monotonous, routine dimensions of quotidian life in the national capital. This time-based lens is a particularly resonant site from which the nation has can be imagined and through which one can understand the transitional aspect of Brazil society. Accordingly, it is especially illuminating in this liminal moment in Brazil – post World Cup and pre Olympics. The video’s structure is composed as much from its use of montage, various camera angles, and inflections of light as it is from the micro kinesthetics which proliferate throughout its duration, raising on a multitude of levels questions about the relevance of and means toward which the country pursues progress, accumulation, and transitions.
The question of repetition and other ways of understanding – indeed questioning the tenents of modernity is poignantly manifest in the Paulo Nazareth’s photographic triptych in the center of Mendes Wood’s booth. Nazareth’s photographs suspend time, space, and the body with a conceptual rigor that necessitates a profound questioning about the image and one’s perception of it. These images in particular feature the artist standing in a vapid space, a waterless swimming pool, ensconced in cerulean hues, reverberating in light and shadows, wearing only pants, with a sign, as is sometimes the case in his photographic works, hanging from a sole string around his neck and covering his bare chest, stating “Surreal Is Mo En Mexico” in one photograph, “Surrealismo En Mexico Regalo a Novia De Dali” in another. A silver mylar crescent shaped balloon floats slightly overhead and off to the side, as if to embody the proposition in itself, a line of flight. Nazareth’s work is a 21st century, Brazilian critique of hegemonic discourses and the ways in which certain knowledge is privileged – he suggests we look elsewhere if were are to indeed pursue multiple geneaologies and to understand the body as a base of knowledge always inseparable from what it produces.
Irene Aristizabal (Head of exhibitions, Nottingham Contemporary, UK)
Montez Magno's Museu Potatil MM (2009), is part of a series of miniature portable imaginary cities the artist has been developing since the 1960s. This work was presented in the Solo section of the fair and the artist is represented by Galeria Pilar. It's playfulness and geometrical materiality appears as an interesting commentary on the modernist project so relevant in contemporary practices today. Nav Haq (Curator, MuKHA – Museum of Contemporary art Antwerp, Belgium) also includedMontez Magno's Museu within his highlights and stated that it is a ‘very nice Latin-American example of a fictional museum created by an artist.’
Galeria Emma Thomas
Carlos' small drawings with their signature oval shape offer a refreshing critique of the Brazilian art scene and market. Their satirical voice approaches the institutional critique discourse with great humour.
Marcados Para (1982)
This grouping of 4 black and white photographs is a later iteration of an important body of work in the artist's practice, very relevant in relationship with today's post colonial thinking and the rights of indigenous peoples.