Susan Sontag once wrote that “perhaps too much value is assigned to memory, not enough to thinking”. Laercio Redondo, PIPA Prize 2013 finalist, seems to agree. In his first solo show in Spain, “Restauro (Restoration)”, the artist questions founding elements of Brazil’s collective memory and identity, addressing themes such as slavery, nationalism, modernity and urban imaginary.
The exhibition, held at the Ana Mas Projects gallery and on view through December 9th, is constituted of two installations, each related to one important figure of Brazil’s urbanization period: Lota Macedo Soares, architecture and urbanist, in Desvíos (Detours); and artist Athos Bulcão, famous for his tile pattern designs in Brazil’s capital, in Lembrança de Brasília (Memory of Brasília).
In the first work, Redondo retells the story of Lota, who designed Parque do Flamengo, “one of the largest-scale urban and social interventions in the geography of Rio de Janeiro”, and Casa Samambaia, where she used to live with her longtime partner Elizabeth Bishop. The video installation shows the 72 kilometers distance between the two places while pointing out a number of issues that have formed – and deformed – Brazilian collective memory.
Lembrança de Brasília (Memory of Brasília), in turn, brings to discussion the relationship between Athos Bulcão, the tile panels he designed, and the workers who built them – or between life, art and architecture. Combining emulations of the panels, silkscreens on plywood, natural plants and a video, the work highlights issues concerning social class and aesthetic values.
Thus, “Restauro” hopes to recover a history that is often forgotten, although fundamental to the shaping of a country. Or, in the words of the introductory text to the exhibition, “in order to understand the present expressed by Bulcão and Lota, a time from which problematic issues still persist, it is necessary to carry out a process of revision and updating, in conclusion, a process of restoration”.
See below some pictures of the exhibition: