Hokey Pokey in the Expanded Field
(to my love)
I wrote a text, I removed the words and tattooed the remaining punctuation on my back. I rolled up and smoked what was inside that rubbish. One morning, while cumming on the red sheet, with his hand on mine, I perceived what he lacks. I cried. I learned a lot about love. I learned many things more important than art. I showed you everyone denying the throbbing we felt. I saw life where it is not seen, I wanted to put the shine in your eyes. With involvement, offering what you want and inviting you to feel very close. I wanted to create with you. And I wanted to walk with you. And it was myself, wholly, there.
Attention, my guests: this place we are in is meant to be lived. Look in the eyes of the person beside you. Even if you don’t know him/her, gently, take his/her hand. If you lack the courage to do it, but if someone more alive touches you, accept it affectionately.
Here, exchange fluids, but do not exchange business cards.
This show is resistance. Without ignoring the historical attempts of an imponderable hegemonic group of powers that be, aiming to frustrate or hide marginality, hedonism, the throbbing, the fragility, the joy and, mainly, the sexual energy of our best artists [in both their life and work]; here, we display different signs, symptoms, fragments or snapshots of life in this large estate of Art so improperly [un]used by the noxious third person.
In these times fed on fear and euphoria, “Art and Life” is repeated to exhaustion, without perceiving that this “and” joins, but also separates. The works here point to life, they are works by artists who desanctify art and/or
sanctify life, approximating them both to a generative con-fusion.
Some of these works are the result of the entropic incoherence of those who state, through art, that the important thing is to be outside of it [and this knot is the first symptom of the contact of nonparallel universes]. Other works are testimonies, reflexes, or reflections of situations experienced by the artist. Still others are the results of affective or relational proposals made by the artist to him/herself or to the public.
These works approximate each other in terms of their positionings, rather than formal considerations. The exhibition Hokey pokey in the expanded field features artworks that present, like all good things, a high “vital coefficient.”
My guests, rush at life with your skin attentive and your eyes shut and, like these artists, take the constant experimentation of each choice and action as a loyal and just commitment to your own existences.
Bernardo Mosqueira (Rio de Janeiro, RJ. 1988), independent curator and writer. Lives in Rio de Janeiro.
A sinkhole is an opening through which something flows away, disappears. It is a hole that suddenly breaks open in the ground, a fissure into which a river vanishes. It is a place of evasion and loss. In certain regions, the rain that falls is drained away through the ground: it is held in the porosity of the stones, or else forces its way through cracks. Water penetrates. It disappears into the earth through the sinkhole. The land sucks, yields, sinks. In the sinkhole there is no abrupt fall or slow absorption; there is loss and transformation. To consider the Sinkhole as a curatorial concept, it is necessary to understand it as a fissure that opens to the world, and makes things disappear and be transfigured. The artwork is an opening through which something flows away and disappears, to later reappears absorbed, displaced or transformed. The sinkhole is the throat of the earth. Art is the throat that swallows the common object, the daily comfort. A river can follow in its course up to the moment that it is pulled down and disappears. From that point on, beyond the opening of the sinkhole, nothing else is known or controlled, things continue only in the dark, underground, in the mysterious mineral digestion. What gives rise to the power of an artwork cannot be stated, because there language and concepts disappear, they are swallowed by an experience that sucks, yields and sinks. Sinkhole is the point where art extrudes comprehension, the point of inner crumbling, fall and disappearance. It does not involve any elucidative or systematic concept; rather, it provides a direction that leads only to the edge of the abyss. In Sinkhole, everyone is open to the hazards of physical contact, of the solitary confrontation with what inexplicably moves us. It is indispensable for art to have something uncertain, since safety does not rouse our emotions, nor challenge our thinking. Every artist knows that, regardless of how aware he is in producing it, each artwork nevertheless contains something that lies outside his understanding. Sinkhole is the place where the artwork goes out of control even for the artists themselves, where everything is swallowed: the scripts, the system, the institutions, the subjects, the concepts. There only remains the clammy silence of everything that flows through the networks of subterranean galleries, beneath the world’s surface.
Kamilla Nunes (Florianópolis, SC. 1988), director of Instituto Meyer Filho, where she curates the exhibition program. Lives in Florianópolis.
If All Is Human, All Is Dangerous
The basis for this exhibition is a narrative: here, the world is created; there the world is created; there the beings that inhabit it appear; and over there, other beings will appear…
The aim was to create a certain “perspectival displacement” that proposes a singular web of space and time arising from the long-time known, from the long-time familiar – the uncanny strangeness. I was thinking about a statement by Werner Herzog, in which the filmmaker talks about the need of getting away from the visual pollution of our cities to rediscover pure and new images.
I am interested in thinking about the transition from the search for an other within us to the search for an other everywhere, which extends since Freud up to our days. This concerns the modern and contemporary experience of an “expanded” other which is doubtful of the “self” and its reference of absolute truth, and of the possibility of expressing all of reality through language.
This brings us to the thought of the anthropologist Viveiros de Castro, from whom I have borrowed the title for this exhibition. His notion of Amerindian perspectivism breaks away from the binary system that built the tradition of the Western “self.” He proposes that we seek to reflect on the other, experiencing ourselves in the others, and, for this, one must be aware that notions such as self and other, subject and object, human and nonhuman are precarious, unstable and interchangeable.
The possibility that I saw in this practice for going beyond dualism allowed me to think that there is no knowledge founded in the harmony or unity of the exercise of the faculties, and it is on this basis that I observe the perspectivism of Viveiros de Castro: a reversal of the places of enunciation.
Therefore, I imagined the exhibition If all is human, all is dangerous as a set of objects that can be considered, experienced or believed in animist terms, that is, as things with a soul, a subjectivity and the ability to behave as active agents. Arranged as though they dominated us, and maintaining us in respect before their visual law, these objects pull us toward obsession. They are totems, “desiring machines,” endless columns, erected phalluses, alignments in relation to Parque Ibirapuera. They are unidentified images that reach us in small, disjointed fragments.
In what way can this innerness of the objects, animated by specific aims, enlarge our perspective on the real, and our experience through art? This exhibition seeks to blend belief with the power of imagination. I just hope that all is not human.
Marta Mestre (Beja, Portugal. 1980), assistant curator at the MAM-RJ. Lives in Rio de Janeiro.
The awareness of a world made up of mistakes, imprecision and a doubtful future: past that is not so distant and a future that is already present. The aim of the proposal is an environment where noise becomes the goal: null actions and weak systems – a conformity of apparent failure, often due to the material used in the construction of the object, in situations of a forged world or an attempt to re-create it with other perspectives. What exists on the scale of the world is not presented as a solution, but only evidences the deviation of order. The exhibition presents paths not only for a utopia/dystopia – in which we can perceive a place where hopes are not a horizon of possibility – but also its counterpoint: the future as a divine vision, a land where man will live in peace with the lion.
The actions are almost always presented as failures, seeking to problematize rather than to find a solution.
Although Brazil’s economy is the sixth largest in the world, the country still ranks much lower in terms of social development and equality. In Forward, reality is transitory, without the need for a right or wrong. Artifacts from outside the notion of art will be added to the exhibition with the same importance and value; such objects do not exist only as an illustration of the curatorial path, but possess their own law and discursive charge.
The overriding question for the conception of a project in a short span of time and set up specifically for a fair is: how to retain autonomy in face of the market demand? How to create a larger [political, critical or experimental] discourse that does not become hostage to or subordinated by the system? A space for dialogue and questioning is needed, which is not limited to only what is held to be true, one that seeks to find gaps and conflicts [but never forgetting its condition: being within]. Maybe the exhibition exists as a tribute to the end that soon awaits us. Maybe we have failed, which is paradoxical in itself when it comes to the Brazilian perspective.
Here, modernism operates as a horizon of doubt; the legacy of its identity and of the national economy is jeopardized, and uncertainly hovers over the tropical scene. Armed conflict, unwarranted actions, the politics of security and the culture of fear, resistance, a forged earthquake and cities where the man-animal relation is harmonious but exclusionary. Things exist on the same scale and level of survival. Everything seems to be a construction headed toward nothing, waiting for ruin or apocalyptic genesis.
Renan Araujo (Santa Rita do Passa Quatro, SP. 1987), artist and curator. Lives in Ribeirão Preto.