Rodrigo Bivar - Um minuto e uma gota, 2011 Oil on canvas 200 x 250 cm and Ana Elisa Egreja - Canto Barroco, 2012 Oil on canvas 200 x 150 cm
Albano Afonso - Paradise, 2011, September Belo Horizonte, 2012 - Four perforated photographs on aluminium mirror 230 x 125 cm each
Albano Afonso, Rodrigo Bivar, Rafael Carneiro, Sandra Cinto, Paulo Climachauska, Ana Elisa Egreja, Wagner Malta Tavares
7SP entend refléter la remarquable effervescence créative apparue ces dernières années au Brésil. Devenue son centre économique et culturel depuis une décennie environ, São Paulo attire chaque année un nombre grandissant d’artistes, galeristes et collectionneurs brésiliens, incitant également l’ouverture de nouvelles plateformes dédiées à la création artistique.
Parallèlement, les musées locaux consacrent de plus en plus d’expositions aux artistes nationaux, tandis que la foire d’art contemporain SP Arte née en 2005 à São Paulo élargit le propos dans un contexte international.
A l’instar d’un grand nombre d’artistes brésiliens d’aujourd’hui, ceux sélectionnés pour cette exposition ont hérité des idées et concepts du mouvement constructiviste qui fut à son apogée au Brésil dans les années 50. Consistant à mettre la construction, la forme et la couleur au premier plan dans une œuvre, celle-ci devient en premier lieu le résultat de l’action de peindre en soi, et non la simple représentation d’un sujet sur la toile. Ce procédé se rapporte aussi aux dessins, installations et photographies présentes dans l’exposition.
Parallèlement aux influences constructivistes, l’art contemporain brésilien se nourrit de références baroques, également l’une des plus riches époques culturelles pour le pays.
Ces deux mouvements antagonistes constituent paradoxalement un héritage culturel à part entière, et c’est dans cette perspective que le CAB a décidé de montrer son engagement auprès de sept artistes brésiliens installés à São Paulo, choisis en collaboration avec la commissaire brésilienne Rejane Cintrao.
Sandra Cinto (1968), avec Albano Afonso (1964) et Paulo Climachauska (1962), est issue de la génération d’artistes des années ’90. Comme eux, elle prépare pour le CAB une oeuvre in situ. Les paysages de Cinto égarent le spectateur dans une représentation poétique où se mêlent éléments terrestres et marins. Albano Afonso use le plus souvent de la photographie afin d’explorer de quelles infinies manières la lumière vient s’inscrire dans une oeuvre d’art. Les dessins muraux régis par les lois mathématiques de Climachauska se lient intimement à la notion du temps, invitant le spectateur à réfléchir aux différentes configurations du monde actuel.
Ana Elisa Egreja (1984), Rodrigo Bivar (1981) et Rafael Carneiro (1985) appartiennent à la jeune création, et attirent l’attention sur un retour très net à la peinture figurative.
Egreja s’inspire du décor de maisons classiques de style portugais, aux intérieurs sophistiqués, et étrangement peuplés d’animaux sauvages. Bivar et Carneiro peignent l’un et l’autre d’après photos. Bivar choisit des scènes de vie quotidienne, habités par des invididus lambda, tandis que Carneiro trouve son inspiration dans les images de caméras de surveillance.
Wagner Malta Tavares (1964) termine le parcours de l’exposition avec une installation video récente dans laquelle se mélange poésie, image et musique.
Ces oeuvres se fondent dans un espace de caractère qui, à l’origine destiné à l’industrie du charbonnage, a été entièrement rehabilité en un lieu dédié à l’art.
Ce centre né d’une initiative privée a pour vocation de contribuer à promouvoir l’art contemporain belge et international à travers des expositions et des résidences dans son espace à Bruxelles.
Sandra Cinto uses a wide range of media including drawing, painting, photography, sculpture and in-situ creations. She is one of the most preeminent Brazilian artists, known both in Brazil and abroad and has been included in some of the most important exhibitions in Brazil such as the São Paulo Biennial. Mixing various media and taking into consideration the architecture of the space, Cinto creates different layers of illusions in her work. In her installations Cinto takes the public into an supernatural experience: large canvases painted in a wide variety of blues, with silver lines drawn to represent the waves in the sea, cover the walls of a room, as if the spectator were in the eye of a storm. Water is of enormous relevance as Brazilians have a strong connection with the sea and rivers as a result of a long historical and cultural tradition. It is common to hear in these lands that Brazil is the country blessed by God. Though in times of climate change and environmental threats how far would Brazilians swim, stride or soar to protect their natural resources? In this light, the artworks of Sandra Cinto may serve as post-it notes, to make sure people keep in mind the value of these blues.
Wagner Malta Tavares is one of those artists whose has the unique ability to make artworks using a variety of media and still create a coherent body of work. From sculpture to video, photography to installation and passing through performance art, his output is imaginative and full of humour. Tavares is very interested in mythology, literature and comic books/films; the way he manages to link fiction with reality in his production is original and intriguing. Recently, the artist made a series of works around the central element of “Air” in which a video explores a house on a cliff apparently without windows and with five white curtains swaying in the doors. Abandonment? Emptiness? When a door is closed, a window is opened…but what if there were no windows? Some journeys can be deeply lonely and the hope of better winds is always encouraging. With playful and lyric methods, Tavares subtly uncovers the identity of the contemporary man: ambitious, yet melancholic. Willing to save the world, but barely able to rescue himself. In Brazil, these verses especially apply to old habits of people: often complaining about the present, despite barely doing anything for a greater future.
Since the early 1990s, Climachauska has been adding new angles to some old ideas in Brazil, by a principle of subtraction. In his paintings, drawings and installations, the artist constructs images of modernism. The lines on the papers, canvases and walls are made up of a series of subtraction equations, and the final image is formed when the calculations reach zero, followed by a double zero representing infinity to finish. Or would it be to start again ?
On a small or a large scale, Paulo Climachauska invites the public to think. It might seem an easy equation, but the fact is as time rushes the day along, minimum activity can seem like an endless effort. In a way similar to Sol LeWitt, Climachauska shows us a wide range of possible configurations for our world. Any miscalculation can lead to a totally opposite result. The artist believes life is made out of choices, therefore subtractions. In order to move forward, it is necessary to get rid of indecisions; what is seen is what has not been eliminated. Parallel to this, some of Climachauska’s works are reflections conceived inside the original buildings, functioning like mirrors of the real structures. Considering mirrors are negative spaces, could the artist be suggesting the importance of a more attentive look towards our own images? Time to reflect.
With themes such as ‘a walk in the countryside’, ‘an afternoon at the beach’ or ‘a regular student’s day’, Bivar portrays the lives and environments around him — which, in fact, could be around anybody – which is one of the reasons why the public connects with his artworks. The oil paintings portray original photographs, but the artist has no intention to reflect reality – quite the contrary. The photos are supposed to instigate new possibilities for his paintings. From these photographic perspectives, the viewer could take the place of a voyeur, a tourist, or a wanderer.
The photographic angles, in addition to the physical aspects of the paintings, help structure the intimate aesthetic nature of the works. The colours and lines on the canvas are always smooth; discreet tones and light brushstrokes give the painting an informal and fresh aspect. Still, there is something odd about these scenarios… Could it be that the comfort zone eventually might become uncomfortable? The same tranquil source also points to instability: the cloudiness found on the objects functions like a bubble of serenity, in which everything is fine for the time being, but it all could burst in a matter of seconds.
Through photography, projections, installations and interventions, Afonso explores the many formats light can take into artworks. He analyzes the anatomy of light, “makes stars”, creates constellations, and illuminates forests. The artist manipulates the untouchable, and constantly alters the borders between light and dark.
Afonso is an illusionist. He makes the public believe in a reality that is as solid as light. His tricks can make some things brighter, hide others in the shadows and transform images in the blink of an eye. Some of the environments with projections and panels are invitations to traverse the milky way, there is a weightlessness here; things feel and look lighter. However, the whole situation can also change at the speed of light; colours, tones and figures can take other shapes in the next room, creating a whole different work. Everything can be reinterpreted; all that is needed is to see things in a new light. Albano Afonso paints and molds with light, he switches it on and off and is not afraid to leave the viewer in the dark: those who learn the way out of the tunnel are able to see things more clearly afterwards. While playing this game of hide-and- seek, Afonso challenges the audience to see the contrasts inside the chambers as well as outside the gallery.
Egreja belongs to a younger generation of Brazilian painters. Nature is the law in her surreal kingdom where lions, dogs, birds and bears are just a few of the main characters in her oil paintings; they interact with each other inside the rooms of an old house, creating the most eccentric situations on the canvases. She paints environments with distorted perspectives, created by patterns ranging from delicate and colourful laces to geometric Portuguese tiles. In terms of Brazil, there is an evident reference to the important role of the rich fauna, the vivid colours of daily life and the joyful sense of humour. But this is also the country of contradictions and juxtapositions of realities: a house with beautiful wallpapers but flooded floors, where wolves dress like sheep and one never knows who is the prey or the hunter; it is a social jungle full of entrapments. In this context, Egreja seems to instinctively denounce the circus of some political houses, where domestic issues have gone wildly out of control.
Part of a generation that grew up with the evolution of screens, monitors and remotes, Rafael Carneiro is one of many who closely watched the digitalization of the material world and expresses this experience in his works. Based on images found on the internet and later turned into photographs, his oil paintings show the interior of industrial warehouses, factories and laboratories. Carneiro’s canvases have an aesthetic similar to some computer monitors and television screens: the image seems to be made of pixels, the colours are faded and the angle is impersonal.
The foggy and cold look of the paintings, as well as the idea of portraying environments usually unknown to most people, make the works seem distant. The fact that the images that inspired the paintings could actually find online by anyone is part of the juxtaposition of realities that the artist proposes. One can be either obsessed with the lives of others or focused exclusively on personal matters; the channels in between are often “white noise”. In Brazil, the lack of effective information and the excess of useless data is a three dimensional reality. Meanwhile, citizens see only what is convenient to their eyes, and pretend the rest is in a remote storage.Rafael Carneiro suggests that art is not only a vehicle of information, but also of inspiration and innovation. Through art, one can pause time for as long as desired, rewind to specific moments or look forward to new possibilities.