(São Paulo, Brazil)
Named after one of the most impressive works by Waldemar Cordeiro, exhibition “Viva Maria” speaks in a not very obvious way with the present moment. Like the iconic piece, that exhibits the word “canalha” (scoundrel) in capital letters, the artworks selected by Maria Montero are bitterly scornful. Viva Maria! is also the name of a 1965 film by Frenchman Louis Malle, in which Jeanne Moreau and Brigitte Bardot become heroes of a revolution by chance. Amidst the true suspense in regards to the political-social Brazilian scenery with the World Cup, the curator gathered works that are ironic and even sharply cynical, to question reality or to propose utopias.
If Waldemar Cordeiro’s work answered to the deep institutional crisis in Brazil (that led to the military coup d’état and dictatorship), in 1966, one can say that “Viva Maria” curatorship faces the provocative catch phrase “imagine in the Cup”, popular among Brazilians. Far from any thesis about the events, the group of artworks reflects upon the very complexity and uncertainty of the current moment. In the words of Maria Montero, the artwork set can be interpreted as a “reflection of the Brazilian spirit, disgust and hope living together and a sharp sense of humour to dribble the situation”.
The mentioned work by Waldemar Cordeiro – ironically – is not a part of the exhibition, but the curator’s initial taunt, who gathered works by Brazilians (including Cordeiro’s) and two foreign artists. As well the literal presence of football in Geraldo de Barros’ work, the show aims at creating noise in the midst of the current debate, like in the work by Traplev, that interferes in the gallery façade and settles it like a new, virtual protest place. Mexican Hector Zamora, on his turn, suggests a kind of utopia, a factor restated by the fact that the piece is a project non-incorporated to the 27th São Paulo Biennial.
The most different ways of mockery or ambiguity come up in the exhibition: from rarely seen artworks from the early 1970s by Regina Silveira to the subtle teasing by slovak Tobias Putrih in newspaper based pieces; or even in the narrative fragments by Fabiana de Barros & Michel Favre, that speak largely on contemporaneity, in contrast with the groundbreaking way Thomaz Farkas merged documental registers to artistic expression – a resource also seen in Corda (Rope), a brand new video by Pablo Lobato.
In the shock between historical and contemporary products, the exhibition proposes an open reflection, inconclusive, on the social critic of art – in Brazil’s case, before being influenced by repression and censorship, and now marked by an ethical-moral confusion where corruption is dominant and critics made by scattered voices.
The curatorship also includes works by Gustavo Speridião, Hudinilson Jr., Pedro Victor Brandão, Rafael RG, Rochelle Costi, Tiago Tebet and Scotsman Michael White – who, like Tobias Putrih, shows a local theme can also be interpreted in an interesting relevant way through an outsider look.
“Viva Maria”, group show with Gustavo Speridião, Hector Zamora, Pablo Lobato and Traplev
Curated by Maria Montero
On view until 26th July
Luciana Brito Galeria
Opening hours: Tues-Sat, 10am to 7pm
R. Gomes de Carvalho, 842
São Paulo, SP
55 11 3842 0634