(last updated in July 2018)
Aracaju, Brazil, 1973.
Lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Represent by Cassia Bomeny Galeria.
PIPA Prize 2018 nominee.
In the words of the critic and curator Olívia Ardui, “Zé Carlos Garcia’s sculptures present themselves as unusual entities that could take the shape of imaginary insects, a breed born from different species, or a mix of plumes and parts of wooden furniture. The hybrids that originate from this blend, although conserving part of their original meanings, generate a morbid curiosity concerning their nature. Using this logic, Garcia highlights the public’s perversity, made hostage of their own voyeurism and caught between astonishment and fascination in front of ripped-apart bodies, as fictional as they may be.”
Video produced by Do Rio Filmes exclusively for PIPA Prize 2018:
by Paula Borghi
[about the exhibition “Tropical”, October 2017, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil]
“The meat that I eat today is the flesh that someone will lack tomorrow.” is a sentence presented to Zé Carlos in his dreams since he was a child. Sometimes accompanied by images of amputees. This passage follows the artist in his dreams as well as in his work. I will tell you a story:
In a country side of Rio de Janeiro there was a man who had a pig as a pet. The pig was domesticated from his early age as if a puppy. People from the town thought it was very strange to have a pig as a pet at the same time that they empathised with the man. Eccentric and witty, they saw the humor in treating the pig as a dear member of the family. Years went by and the piglet turned into a hog.
The man had a child, a beautiful little baby. One day, the parents went out and left the baby with the nanny, who at a certain point had to use the toilet. She let the baby on the floor as feeding him. In this interval the hog entered the room and ate the baby’s food, also the baby’s hands and his arms. The hog could have eaten the whole baby if the nanny hadn’t came back in time to save his life. The baby survived, the nanny was beaten and the hog was shot. This is a true Tropical story that guides us towards a possible understanding of this exhibition.
A hog’s head is one operated by the artist through a sculpturing process, changing a beastly face into a humanized one. This work was presented a couple of times being the first one in 2005, subtitled “Severino” and the last one in 2016, as “Pig”. The work criticizes the Brazilian political scenario of the time. The hog’s head was nicknamed “Leitão”[Piggy]. In 2006, the work was not only the head but also the body which went through a surgically sculpting process to resemble the body of a child. A work that at times focuses on the head while other times focuses on the totality of the body anatomy, which can be presented in coarse salt as an object or it can be cooked and served as food. In this presentation it was cooked and served together with jaboticabas (Brazilian small black fruit).
At the same time as the pig’s head was presented in a frontal position, there was a series of sculptures made with black feathers in the same area. The beauty and the exuberance of each piece are crucial elements to the construction of a narrative that attracts the eye whereas awakens a repulsiveness. In this dichotomy between animal and man, attraction and repulsion, sculpture, dead body and food Zé Carlos produces what disturbs us. Tropical is like the story of the baby who had his arms eaten by the hog. It bothers us because it awakens thoughts related to moral, ethical, cultural and natural values in its raw shape: death.
“Zé Carlos Garcia”
By Olívia Ardui
[text published in the catalog of the exhibition “Frestas Trienal de Arte”, SESC SP, Sorocaba, Brazil, 2017]
Zé Carlos Garcia’s sculptures present themselves as uncanny shapeshifters that can recombine their members to conjure up different species of insect, or transform pieces of furniture by cloaking them in plumage. This adding-on creates hybrids that not only preserve the meanings of their constituent parts, but also generate morbid curiosities out of distortions of their natures. Garcia seems to want to evince a certain perversity in his audience, caught somewhere between revulsion and fascination, playing on their voyeurism before such mangled bodies, however fictional they may be.
At Frestas, the artist presents a sample of the art he has produced over the last eight years. In the works Cadeira [Chair] and Pássaro [Bird], for example, he explores the formal qualities of the materials and confers upon them a feathery flutter that seems to contradict their sculptural condition by bringing them to bear in all their enigmatic presence. Something similar happens in Ganimedes [Ganymede], a monumental shapeless mass draped in black feathers plonked in the middle of the exhibition space. Not exactly a mantle, not exactly a wing, the work exists in a hybrid corporeality that seems suspended in time, much like Zeus himself, who reigns supreme over the gods at the same time as he abducts the young Ganymede. The Trojan prince was tending to his father’s flocks when he was seen by Zeus. Enchanted by his beauty and spurred by an impulse somewhere between seduction and sadism, the god of gods transformed himself into an eagle and carried the youth off to Olympus to serve as his personal cup-bearer.
– Bachelor’ degree at Escola de Belas Artes da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Tropical”, Espaço Saracura, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Do pó ao pó”, Galeria do Lago, Museu da República, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Ganimedes”, Zipper Galeria, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Finca”, Galeria Amarelonegro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Prumo”, Memorial Meyer Filho, Florianópolis, Brazil
– “Jogo”, Centro de Arte Hélio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “PET”, Espaço Cultural Sérgio Porto, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Hereditários”, Durex Arte Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “De Sangue e Ossos”, Galeria Matias Brotas, Vitória, Brazil
– “A Queda”, Galeria Movimento, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Bestiário”, Centro Cultural São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Frestas”, Trienal de Artes, Sesc Sorocaba, Sorocaba, Brazil
– “A Room and a Half”, Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Poland
– “Gazua #946”, Despina, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “My body is a cage”, Galeria Luciana Caravello, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Primeira de Muitas”, Espaço Saracura, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Nuit Blanche Monaco”, installation, Lavrotto beach, Monaco, Principality of Monaco
– “Depois do Futuro”, Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Tórrido”, Espacio Odeón, Bogotá, Colombia
– “Coquetel”, Castelinho do Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Matéria”, Casa Hoffmann, Bogotá, Colombia
– “Criaturas Imaginárias”, Museu Casa do Pontal, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “E”, AutAut Arte Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
– “Redemptive glimpses from the future world”, Musterzimmer, Berlin, Germany
– “From The Margin To The Edge – Brazilian art and design in the 21st century”, Somerset House, London, UK
– “Nova Escultura Brasileira – Herança e Diversidades”, Caixa Cultural Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Inquietude”, Galeria Durex Arte Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “2 anos”, Barracão Maravilha, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Eco, Ritmo, Acaso”, Galeria Durex Arte Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Karnevalismus”, occupation, Berlin, Germany
– “Ecos de Hélio”, Centro de Arte Hélio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Supernova”, Barracão Maravilha, happening simultaneously on 13 countries, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “1 ano”, Barracão Maravilha Arte Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Do gelo da Escandinávia ao fogo tropical o Barracão Maravilha recria na Terra um inferno de delícias”, Barracão Maravilha, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “MAC Filé”, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói, Niterói, Brazil
– “Barracão Maravilha Convida”, Barracão Maravilha Arte Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Abertura”, Barracão Maravilha Arte Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Paranaturais”, Centro Cultural Paschoal Carlos Magno, Niterói, Brazil
– “Abre Alas 2006”, Galeria A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Video project by Lucas Assis about “Do pó ao pó”exhibition, 2017, Galeria do Lago, Museu da República, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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