PIN–UP No. 14 BRAZIL SPECIAL RIO
From the tail end of a film camera, after three weeks’ on-site production involving six days of footage with a crew of eight or more, artist Sarah Morris mails us a dense, cinematic postcard of South America’s third-largest megalopolis — Rio in 89 minutes. “Rio, Rio, O Rio do Brasil.” At the Jockey Club Brasileiro, a hung-up, hogtied, glistening thoroughbred is carried off like venison on a skewer. Sitting in front of an image of a nude with a bust of Lenin by his side, the late smoky-eyed Oscar, old grandmaster Niemeyer, mumbles in an office chair, his bushy eyebrows indecipherable from the vaginal heap erupting from behind. Later, another communist specter appears, flat and faded: it’s Mao Zedong in a photo with Danuza Leão, a 60s model and journalist. In her living room of mementoes an effusive letter signed Diana Vreeland, framed on the wall, belies a splotchy, surgically altered face chatting on the phone. In the meantime, at the studios of telenovela “Insensato Coração,” the latest starlets flash their winsome grins, while in his clinic a top plastic surgeon, Dr. Pitombo washes sickly green suds off his hands, having just sculpted a nose. In the streets, midday naps happen on sheets of thin pink paper, grids of citrus fruits are sold in hot, untold colors, and window louvers on the forbidding Petrobras headquarters slice up the tropical light. Regina Casé, the country’s answer to Oprah Winfrey, shimmies in a tangerine dress back in her childhood favela, in Cantagalo, under irresolvable tangles of electrical and telephone wire, while at the mayor’s office, executives tap pens and sip on the national beer, Brahma. In the purple of the after hours, prostitutes squeeze their breasts at the camera and teenagers surround it at a police-chaperoned dance somewhere inside the Cidade de Deus. Like the swooning singer of the “Girl from Ipanema,” Morris snags us in a voyeuristic trance while Rio slips by, a stunning architectural and natural setting, postcard ready and yet totally mysterious ... Continue reading on PIN-UP.
By Pierre Alexandre de Looz