Regina Vater in retrospective show at Jaqueline Martins, in October
Beginning on the 27th, some 50 works, including photographs, videos and installations, will be featured in the downtown São Paulo gallery. The artist was inarguably a pioneer in exploring connections between society, nature and technology.
Regina Vater’s entire oeuvre straddles the line between political action and art creation. “In her internationally known photo-performance Tina América, from 1976, she utilizes her own image to represent social and ethical conjunctures in Latin America,” says the show’s organizer Jaqueline Martins. In Regina’s own words: “any type of art, if unconsciously, is a process of getting in touch with the creative and regenerative forces of the universe.”
The artist’s research has always featured exercises on more comprehensive themes, like time and its relationship with native myths, as well as topical, pressing issues seen through the lens of feminism and the social position of women. In Tina América, created following a trip through Latin America on her way to Brazil after a prize had taken her to the USA, Regina portrayed, in 1976, the various masks donned by Latin American women looking to get married. In Mulher Mutante ou SWIMER, an interactive sculpture from 1969, the artist presents a sensual, colorful female body: an attractive, but inert object which depends on third parties to be activated. Both pieces will be included in Regina’s first solo show at Galeria Jaqueline Martins since it began representing her in 2012.
The exhibition also features key installations from throughout the artist’s career, organized by Jaqueline Martins under a poetical rather than formal logic. Ever since the seventies, the materials and subjects in her oeuvre boast such variety and experimentality that finding characteristics which apply to all of them can prove difficult.
The radial comprehensiveness of Regina Vater’s work spans a metaphysical view of life and the universe, inspired by philosophical and anthropological readings, her passion of poetry, her political ethics, and her interest in the human adventure. This broad gamut of creation, impossible to contain in a drawer, ultimately wrought some neglect from a hurried art sphere that’s primarily concerned with more easily catalogued productions. With this show, Galeria Jaqueline Martins sets out to share, with the São Paulo public, specific aspects of the work of an artist whose career goes back over 55 years.
About the artist
A native of Rio de Janeiro, the artist moved to São Paulo in 1970. Two years later, she won a foreign trip prize from União Nacional de Arte Moderna, which took her to New York City for the first time, where she got in touch and worked with Hélio Oiticica. She has lived in France and later in Austin, USA. While away from Brazil, she has also created numerous artworks and exhibited to acclaim. Boasting a vast curriculum, Regina Vater is one of the pioneers in addressing environmentalism in art. Native and African poetry and cosmologies are also major sources of inspiration of hers. Her works include installations (over 150, created since 1970), artist books (since 1973), visual poetry (since 1973), photography (since 1973) and live performance with photographs and video (since 1975). She was one of the first Brazilian artists ever to work with video. In October 1974, in Paris, invited by Ruth Escobar, Regina made her first video (a poetical documentary on a theater group Ruth had brought to the Paris Autumn Festival, including Antonio Pitanga, Leina Crespi, Maria Rita, Sérgio Brito and others), which was later finalized by Andrea Tonachi. In 1975, she made her second video: "Miedo", sponsored by the CAYC in Buenos Aires. Her vast videography is primarily composed of artworks created on limited budgets.
As a fine artist, in 1976 she represented Brazil at the Venice Biennale (the first international exhibition themed around environmental issues – the term eco-friendly wasn’t in use yet). Regina has won several national and international awards, including a foreign trip prize from the 1972 Salão de Arte Moderna, the 6th Marcantonio Vilaça Fine Arts Prize in 2013, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1980 that saw her relocate to the United States, where she also helped spread the works of several colleagues in various exhibitions she organized on her own. In 1982, she was invited by New York’s Franklin Furnace to edit an issue of US art magazine (FLUE), the first North American publication to devote an entire issue to Latin American experimental art). Regina’s texts have also been published in several US art magazines and books, including Art Journal, High Performance, Heresies, New Observations, Center Quarterly (a Journal of Photography and Related Arts) and Gallerie Women's Art, and in the book "Voices of Color - Art and Society In The Americas," edited by Phoebe Farris-DuFrene. She has since returned to Brazil and lives near a forest park in the State of Rio de Janeiro.