“Pé de meia” (2020), Debora Bolsoni.
On the internet

For artists' sake

Felipe Molitor
22 May 2020, 6:09 pm

Forced social isolation on a global scale, as we know and reiterate, has impacted the art world in particular. Whatever its duration, the brakes applied to the current context have served to put at the center of the table some reflections that were always left for later in the frenetic agenda of fairs and exhibitions to which artists, curators, gallery owners and collectors were subjected. In this sense, one of the debates that now emerges with strength, both through articles in specialized magazines and in the heat of social networks, is about the economy of art: despite the great numbers that revolve in our environment when it comes to the circulation of works, many artists feel precarious, despite being essential to the production chain.

The Quarantine project, organized by the artists Lais Myrrha and Marilá Dardot, by the curator Cristiana Tejo and the director of 55sp, Julia Morelli, is one of the initiatives that, only for its experimental performance, has caused an important buzz about the conditions in which the artists manage to work and support themselves during quarantine, in addition to the commercial representation of the galleries that only a few have. “We need to find more distributive means and actions so that we can get through this moment in a less traumatic way. The art system could provide new, inventive and fairer models,” says Lais Myrrha for SP-Arte editorial.

Above: “Pé de meia” (2020), Debora Bolsoni.

“Descabelada” (2020), de Lenora de Barros. Técnica: Impressão jato de tinta sobre papel.

“Descabelada” (2020), by Lenora de Barros. Technique: Inkjet print on paper.

Following a cooperative format, the motto of the initiative is simple: forty-five artists, from different regions of the country and career stages, sell new works for the fixed price of 5,000 reais, and the amount collected is distributed equally among the participants. Buyers must assemble the work, which is revealed only after purchase. According to the organizers, since the launch in mid-April, the project has had a positive reception among artists and researchers and surprised by selling almost half of the shares – it is worth noting that most purchases were made by collectors – even with little interlocution with galleries for the experiment.

“Labirinto” (2020), de Guto Lacaz. Técnica: Apropriação de imagem / arte digital.

“Labirinto” (2020), by Guto Lacaz. Technique: Image appropriation / digital art.

For Myrrha, the whole endeavor is already, in itself, a kind of artistic work, by removing the qualitative question or authorship of the work from the focus. One of the changes that happened along the way was the disclosure, via social networks, of which works were sold. “The ‘blind’ purchase was, and still is, a point that we discussed. For us, this decision is a way of marking that, before we think about this or that work individually, we are putting our eyes at rest to affirm a kind of bond that has been weakened in recent decades by the excess of mediations that is the relationship between collector and artist. Considering the absence of public policies for art in the current federal government, the fragility and scarcity of institutions dedicated to art, we believe that collectors can play a decisive role in supporting artists. Of course, there can be a lot of criticism there, but we have to look at what presents itself as a viable and feasible path now, so that we can imagine and design new scenarios and paths”, explains the artist. As a stimulus for young collectors and to expand access to acquisition for those who wish to contribute, the Quarantine project will launch artworks with an edition of five pieces for the value of one thousand reais each.

“Perguntas Apropriadas” (2020), de Marilá Dardot. Técnica: colagem / impressão digital.

“Perguntas Apropriadas” (2020), by Marilá Dardot. Technique: collage / digital print.

“ENTRE MUNDOS” (2020), de Cinthia Marcelle e Diran Castro. Técnica: Proposição.

“ENTRE MUNDOS” (2020), by Cinthia Marcelle and Diran Castro. Technique: Proposition.

"Perdendo Você" (2020), de Laercio Redondo.

"Perdendo Você" (2020), by Laercio Redondo.

There is a desire by the organizers that the initiative can be expanded and replicated by other people who feel like thinking about cooperative models, like a bottle thrown into the sea. “There are artists who participate more actively and others less, but the important thing now is to respect each other’s moments and move towards something common. (…) Our basic question is, when the dimension of the show is removed, who remains beside the artists? ”

“Lastros Imiscíveis” (2020), de Lais Myrrha. Técnica: moedas, copo de vidro, água e contemplação.

“Lastros Imiscíveis” (2020), by Lais Myrrha. Technique: coins, glass, water and contemplation.

For more information and to find out how to support the Quarantine project, access here.


Felipe Molitor is a journalist and art critic, part of the editorial team at SP–Arte.

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