Thursday, 23 June 2011

Brazilian art hits Florence





I really should have learnt by now that Brazilians are not great time keepers. Italians aren’t much better. Put the two together and you get an event that might as well have no start-time allocated to it. But I guess this is all part of the charm of such passionate cultures. Anyway… like I mentioned in my earlier posts, menswear trade show Pitti Uomo launched a new initiative for its spring 12 edition this month called Guest Nation, where it invited a particular country to show off its artistic talents. This season, that guest was Brazil and during the evenings Pitti Uomo hosted a range of screenings and exhibitions for various Brazilian artists.

I attended on the first night and found myself in a slightly surreal situation, sitting next to possibly the only other person at the event (someone who wore a watch) in the dark and watching a slightly voyeuristic film about what appeared to be a wealthy woman lounging around her lovely big house and pool. There were lots of similar films on show.
In fact, each room, where different artists were exhibiting their work, had a surreal atmosphere to them. One, in particular, featured different slides of film, clicking away independently, to show images on the walls. The constant clicking and changing images made me feel a bit anxious and claustrophobic. But this contrasted well to the calm and silence of the films.
I think the exhibition would have really benefitted from descriptions of each piece of work, not to mention the name of each artist, in the different rooms themselves.
But have a look for yourselves on these videos and let me know what you think.
Here are the artists who exhibited and some blurb provided by Pitti:

Runo Lagomarsino
Born in 1977 in Malmö, Sweden, Runo Lagomarsino now lives and works in Malmö and São Paulo. Lagomarsino’s research centers on analysis of the historiographic, geographic and mathematical models that underpinned and supported world colonization by modern Western powers. In Florence, he presented his Contatiempos project, a tour de force of research and documentation that sets out from São Paulo’s Parque Ibirapuera, designed by in 1954 by Oscar Niemeyer and Roberto Burle Marx. The park is home to the majority of the city of São Paulo’s public service and cultural buildings, including various museums. The Contratiempos installation is made up of 30 slides of cracks, crevices, and chips in the park’s cement buildings.

Paolo Nenflidio
Paulo Nenflidio holds degrees in Fine Arts from the School of Communication and Arts of the University of São Paulo (ECA-USP) and in Electronics from the Gomes Lauro Technical School. Nenflidio is a sound artist: his works are sculptures, installations, objects, instruments, and illustrations incorporating and exploring sound, electrical circuits, movement, construction, invention, casualty and causality, physics, control, automation, and improvisation. His works hark to mechanical animals, musical instruments, and even machines from sci-fi imaginings.

Chelpa Ferro
An artists’ collective created in 1995 by Barrão, Luiz Zerbini and Sergio Mekler, the Chelpa Ferro chose this name more for its sound than for its meaning (in old colloquial Portuguese, the phrase means “money”) and the choice explains much of the spirit of the group’s work. From the very start, noise, sound, and the parameters of sensory perception have been at the centre of their installations and performances; their manipulations of familiar gestures and objects express the impossibility of truly exerting control over things, in an ironic and fatalistic reading of reality. In Florence, they will be presenting a video installation – a six-screen composition that develops diachronically, associating images and sounds in totally unexpected manners – and a live performance. And it is their live work that best of all conveys Chelpa Ferro’s adoration for the aura that surrounds the everyday objects they salvage, modify, and transform into the machines and sound-producing mechanisms they “play” together with traditional musical instruments used in unconventional ways.

Cinthia Marcelle
Cinthia Marcelle is one of Brazil’s top-ranked young artists, recent winner of the $100,000 Future Generation Art Prize awarded by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.
Marcelle’s production includes films, photographs, and installations. Repetition is her artistic strategy: actions repeated ad infinitum are perceived as absurd and useless – until they wind down and coalesce into geometric forms similar to abstract posters.

Jarbas
Jarbas is one of Brazil’s foremost visual artists. To Florence, he brought a new work, based on a project dating to 2001-2002. Cinema Parado springs from the artist’s travels through Brazil armed with a big reel of film. He gave a frame to every person he met along the way, asking each to make a drawing on it. What has emerged is an incredible repertory of forms and figures, presented in Florence as a slide show enriched with the images gathered during the Tudo è experience itself. For the last live performance at the exhibition, Jarbas is presenting a project from his early days, co-authored with the Tetine duo, entitled Barraca Deegraça (1998). This big installation takes form in a bizarre room placed on the stage; from inside, the Tetine duo casts the net of their unmistakable sound plays. The installation begins with what were originally hand-painted or stenciled posters announcing neighborhood events in the Rio de Janeiro suburbs, rearranged in new patterns.

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