Anyone interested in the history of Brazilian art or who has visited an art exhibition in recent months is already aware of the celebration of the centenary of the Semana de Arte Moderna. The one that took place in February 1922, and proposed a new artistic and social aesthetic. The idea was to break with academicism and traditionalism, bringing new names to the world of arts with works on nationalist and everyday themes.
One hundred years later, art curator Lilia Schwarcz intends to do the same, but in a much more current way. “Whiteness, in general, doesn’t talk about itself, because whiteness is the norm; so it only talks about others. But the others are your others, your projections, your fantasies and fears and not the reality they intend to portray. , therefore, that excel at representing the ‘other’, but not exactly including him”, she explains. Thus, until the 21st of May, the exhibition various 22in the Arte132 gallery, intends to propose a dialogue between types of arts, artists and galleries and ways of portraying.
As soon as we enter the friendly orange gate on Avenida Juriti, in Moema, we notice the political tone of the exhibition, with the painting identities by Larissa de Souza. In it, a black woman in delicate pastel-toned clothes faces the viewer. “This is a portrait of black respect and self-affirmation, in everything opposite to the stereotyped image created by white society itself”, explains Lilia.
And so we follow each step of the space that, despite being small, has 80 works by ten galleries and independent artists – in addition to the collection of the collection of Telmo Porto, director of Art Gallery 132 -, each one dialoguing with the other, regardless of their form and their canon identity or not. If they bring works by ‘others’ made by whites, they also give space for each one to represent himself: women, indigenous people and blacks. “The aim of various it was, then, to remove such works from the comfortable transparency in which they are and contrast them with contemporary artists who illuminate ambiguities that remain immanent in these works and thus, in a way, naturalized”, says Lilia.
Two very emblematic artists who talk about exactly this are Glauco Rodrigues and Gê Viana. While the first uses fluorescent and vibrant colors to revisit the history of Brazil with a carnivalesque tone – carrying humor and social criticism on subjects linked to national history; Gê Viana reinterprets the works of Jean-Baptiste Debret in his series “Traumatic Updates of Debret”. In the work Jantar Brasileiro, for example, instead of the colonial scene dominated by white people, the scene is placed with black people as protagonists, who carry ipads and stylish sandals.
The same happens with the indigenous people in the works of Denilson Baniwa, who provokes the colonial prints by introducing war and ethnic paintings, as well as scarifications (scars for decorative purposes) on the drawings of the naturalist Johann Moritz Rugendas.
It is important for the visitor to take the time to stroll through the gallery. The eye must be attentive to the perception of historical, social and even contemplative details that the exhibition brings – something already expected from a mind like Lilia’s. On the second floor, hidden, it is possible to observe a work by Di Cavalcanti, with the intention of showing that even someone with a strong name must give space to new ones. And so, as happened in 1922, open space for the new and allow dialogue. “This is also a way for us to see the Semana do 22, which was a week in São Paulo, and not in São Paulo. If it weren’t for the others, the week wouldn’t exist”, reflects Lilia.
Precisely for this dialogue, it is essential to observe the work alone and then reflect on how it dialogues with the work in front of it, beside it, and so on. From the stairs, for example, we see a large Indian by Flávio Cerqueira with Havaianas and a slingshot in his pocket, in contrast to the miniature pioneer by Jaime Lauriano, made with ammunition cartridges used by the Military Police and the Brazilian Armed Forces. “It makes you wonder who’s demolishing who here,” she says.
Arte132 – Av. Juriti, 132, Moema, Sao Paulo
Until May 21; from mon to Fri, from 2pm to 7pm. Sat., 11 am to 5 pm