Curitiba, PR, Brazil, 1969.
Lives and works in Curitiba, PR, Brazil.
PIPA 2012 and 2013 nominee.
Video produced by Matrioska Filmes exclusively for PIPA 2013.
Video produced by Matrioska Filmes exclusively for PIPA 2012.
Videos by the artist
Depois do Incêndio [After the fire], 5’00″
Paisagem Curitibana [Curitiba landscape], 2006, 1’29″
Loading on your mind, 2006, 1’26″
About the artist
Washington Silvera by Fabricio Vaz Nunes, October 2012
Italo Calvino, in Six Memos for the Next Millennium, makes a pertinent remark on objects in literary descriptions:
I would say that the moment an object appears in a narrative, it is charged with a special force and becomes like the pole of a magnetic field, a knot in the network of invisible relationships. The symbolism of an object may be more or less explicit, but it is always there. We might even say that in a narrative any object is always magic. (CALVINO, 1999: 47)*
*[translation by Patrick Creagh.]
Of course an object in literature is never the object itself, but something that is defined by a series of words – so to speak, as much a linguistic object as everything there is in literary work. In visual arts, things happen diversely, since a work of art might represent an object – a two-dimensional image of a flower vase, for example –, or be the object itself: the case of Duchamp’s ready-mades; he initiated the nowadays widely recognized practice of taking real life objects and converting them into art, by either altering its characteristics or not.
Once converted, these objects assume an especial aura: Duchamp’s famous toilet was then not a toilet anymore but turned into an especial object, taking part in the history of art and being extensively reproduced in catalogues, magazine articles, and internet sites. The objects that are made into art works thus acquire something magical: they come to belong to the world of art.
Washington Silvera’s work is all dedicated to the elaboration of these magical objects. However, unlike Duchamp (and despite his obvious influence), Washington operates on substantially altered objects. These alterations range from materials to dimensions, position in space and execution. His works take well-known objects – such as tables, rackets and hammers – and turn them into “defamiliarized” objects: though we are still able to recognize them, there is something substantially wrong with them. We could say of these objects: “it is a saw” or “it is a hammer”. However, they are defective, useless for what defines them: the saw should saw wood, but it is itself made of wood; the hammer is curved so that it can only hammer itself.
What is interesting about Silvera’s procedure is that it makes the object at the same time the object itself and its representing: the hammer is still a hammer, but it is also a hammer “sculpture”. Perhaps this is the very reason this artist does not call himself a sculptor. He is simply an object maker. But the things he makes are not common objects like the “plain” ready-mades which were shifted into art by the artist’s decision – a procedure that nowadays would be somehow academic and repetitive. Washington Silvera does not make magic objects, but rather objects which are victimized by magic: enchanted objects.
Multidisciplinary artist, he studied at UFPR but concluded his training as a self-taught. He exhibits since 1994.
Main Group Exhibitions
- ARCO Madrid, Spain
- SP Arte, São Paulo, Brazil
- “Outras Formas”, SESI, Curitiba, Brazil
- “O Estado da Arte”, Oscar Niemeyer Art Museum, Curitiba, Brazil
- “Os olhos mágicos das Américas”, Museu Afro Brasil, São Paulo, Brazil
- Bienal de Valencia “Encuentro entre dos mares”, Valencia, Spain
- “Pequeños Rituales Domésticos”, Cubo Gallery, Barcelona, Spain
- 8th Biennial National Santos in 2002, São Paulo, Brazil
- “Metaforismos Visual” , Ybakatu Espaço de Arte, Curitiba, PR, Brazil
- Salão Paranaense, Museu de Arte Contemporânea do Paraná, Brazil ( participated 7 times)
Main solo exhibitions
- “O Que Dizem As Coisas”, Museu Afro Brasil, São Paulo, Brazil
- “Viu?”, Ybakatu Espaço de Arte, Curitiba, PR, Brazil
- “Galeria Abierta” Plaza Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain
- “Consciência Expandida”, Memorial de Curitiba, Brazil
- “Esculturas” , Centro Cultural Brasil Estados Unidos, Curitiba, Brazil
- “Carro Zero”, urban action at Av. Wenceslau Brás, Curitiba, Brazil
- “Kitchen Dub Experience”, Espaço Zebra, São Paulo, Brazil
- Production Grant at Fundação Cultural de Curitiba.
- O Museo de la Solidaridad, Fundación Salvador Allende, Santiago, Chile
- Fundação Cultural de Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
- Museu Afro Brasil, São Paulo, Brazil
- Ole Faarup Collection, Copenhagen
The artist is represented by the gallery: Ybakatu Espaço de Arte.
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