Critical reflections # 3 | Rita Natálio answers Marta Mestre

Seeking to stimulate a reflexion about the exhibition space and bring the audience a more qualified and reasoned discussion, three art critics – experts in Brazilian contemporary art, were invited to write about the PIPA 2012 finalists’ exhibition – with works by Marcius GalanMatheus Rocha PittaRodrigo Braga and Thiago Rocha Pitta.

The critics invited to this edition are Marta Mestre, Santiago Garcia Navarro and Cezar Bartholomeu. They will release their texts in November.

Marta Mestre, Portuguese curator and art critic who is currently assistent curator at the Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro has a proposition that goes beyond the text.
Her proposal goes through understand how and how criticism can be “performanced.”
It is a open place to think of PIPA exhibition spaces, particularly the critical potential of its regular “lounge area”.
With the collaboration of artist and educator Virginia Mota, ‘Critical Lounge Area’  offers the exhibition visitors simple structures and procedures that allow something that might differ from the ordinary speeches and activities.

Besides this work at the “lounge area” she sent questions to other critics for critical reflexions.

We are going to publish every Friday the answers she received.

We started with Luiz Camillo Osorio, critic, curator of Rio de Janeiro Museum of Modern Art and member of PIPA Board.

Click here to read Luiz Camillo Osorio’s  answers.

The second one to answer was Agústin Perez Rúbio. He is a historian and art critic, curator e consultant for international art collections, and is Director of MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (León, Spain).

Click here to read Agústin Perez Rúbio’s answers.

This week is Rita Natálio who answers Marta Meste.

(Lisbon) She studied History at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Performing Arts Choreographic at the Université Paris VIII (with the support of the Calouste Gulbenkian under the Support Programme to Dance 2006). As a performer, she held the Course of Choreographic Search of Dance Forum 2006 with Vera Mantero, João Fiadeiro, Emmanuelle Huyn and participated in several workshops of composition and improvisation with Christian Rizzo, Loic Touzé, Armando Menicacci, among others. Her main activity has been focused in the area of theater and monitoring arts projects and research. Collaborated on “Para onde vai a luz quando se apaga?” (“Where does the light goes when it goes off?”) (2007) and “I was here” (2007) by João Fiadeiro, “Das coisas nascem coisas”(“The things are born from things”) (2008) by Claudia Dias, “Learning how to weave” (2009 ), “Piece Together” (2009), “Vamos sentir falta de tudo aquilo de que não precisamos”(“We will miss everything you do not need” )(2009) and “Bons sentimentos, maus sentimentos” (“Good feelings, bad feelings”) (2009) by Vera Mantero. She also worked with the structure RE.AL created by João Fiadeiro, on coordination and monitoring of research projects / training method around the Real Time Composition and occasionally as a teacher in PEPCC (Dance Forum). Since 2008, has also started to develop her own work. Collaborated with Ivo Serra in “Tela” (“Screen”) (Festival Temps d’Images) and the in the short film “Looking back into the future” (Honorable Mention FICAP 2008). Directed the project improvisation “Nada do que dissemos até agora teve a ver comigo” (“Nothing said so far had to do with me”) with preview at Serralves Foundation and is currently developing a play group on this project. Currently, she is working with Vera Mantero on publishing a book artist and continues her work on dramaturgical monitoring, in collaboration with different authors, including Guilherme Garrido, Pieter Ampe, António Pedro Lopes, Marianne Baillot, João Lima and Claudia Dias. She is also member of the international artists network “Sweet and Tender”.

Marta Mestre  – Is it possible to make a criticism within the institution?

Rita Natálio – To answer this question would must be understood that the concepts of either critical or institution are very different today than they were in situations such as those cited in the text above (parangolés parade of Helio Oiticica or the naked body of Manuel Antonio). Their bindings are not narrow or consequential, ie not necessarily a pertinent criticism affects the institutional reality nor the capacity of affectation of an institution depends directly on the critical discourse produced around them. However, even if the relationship between criticism and institution have changed, wondering about the possibility of “critical” inside something – here called an “institution” – does not avoid to lead to a classic separation between inside and outside. In this case, it is a language operation that shifts the critic in its most ordinary sense (a “look out for something that is within”) for a “look inside for what’s inside.” We could extend the question to its limit: accomplish a critique of the “look inside what’s inside” could at its limit, do without outside. The institution would then be a kind of self-critical reorganizer of the look and the boundaries of art, which is sufficient in itself. But what would be an art institution if its internal self-criticism relationship was absolutely peaceful and possible? And what “inside” of this is what are we talking about? I put these issues of language just to “entertain” the thought, as a way to broaden the question. I think maybe if it was in fact “possible” to critique within the institution, it may sacrifice the “emergency of the outside” as the urgency of António Manuel’s naked body who wants to enter the “institution” that rejects him. It is precisely the impossibility of criticism from within the institution that makes it a tense platform. It can not do without its outside, it plays, serves, confronts and is confronted by the outside. But I would go further: thinking inside and outside with transitive and unstable elements, but this seems to me the right answer for conceptual change that we see today. We are currently witnessing a dilution of spaces and functions in smooth grounds, uniforms, acting as “solvents” of speeches and subjectivity.It seems possible, yes, “to dilute” the criticism inside-and-outside the institution, not necessarily make a criticism from “inside” without thinking of their circulations. It also seems possible to dilute the institution between spaces and extra-institutional realities, abandoning the idea of an “institution” as something that clings to time not to lose its sacrosanct identity. The most important for me is not making a prediction about the feasibility or infeasibility of doing a critique from within, but to think this “inside” as a porous relationship with the outside, extra-institutional, extra-critical. The criticism has, at its limit, to disappear. The same for the institution. That is why the reason to rethink the awards and ways to exercise the criticism that seems one of the attempts of PIPA. I’m not sure the best way, but trying to figure out how to do it.

Marta Mestre – May the field for the exercise of criticism be beyond the essay, the book, the specialized magazines, or certain space of press?
Rita Natálio – It can be and it is strongly recommended to be. But I think thad would be necessary to imagine critical modalities that might follow the kind of hypnotic acceleration of the contemporary we live today, without following the “good ideas” or innovative gadgets that are on the surface of things.For example, I think we should not condone a criticism of fragments, reactions and incidental relationships, as exists on Facebook or in the “news”. Criticism can be exercised in artistic actions, in speeches, in unusual body and thought meetings that could stimulate a critical view on society beyond the intellectual hardness of an essay and of superficiality toujous anacronique of real time.

Marta Mestre – How the awards are part of the critical exercise in the arts?
Rita Natálio – Personally, I see little interest in awards. But I think this is due to my education and professional experience in an area that is almost entirely independent of awards. I think there are much more interesting ways of promoting the recognizability of the work or to create opportunities for artists to continue their investigations. The form “award” seems to me an old trick of putting the ego in the hall of fame. Smells like old.


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