Jonathas de Andrade, "Eu, mestiço", 2017 Instituto Moreira Salles

“Corpo a Corpo” lands in Instituto Moreira Salles Rio de Janeiro

(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

How can a body work as an instrument for social and political change in Brazil today? The question was asked by curator Thyago Nogueira to six Brazilian contemporary artists. Bárbara Wagner, Jonathas de Andrade, Sofia Borges, Letícia Ramos and the art collectives Mídia Ninja and Garapa present their answers in “Corpo a Corpo” [Body Against Body], which opens at Instituto Moreira Salles Rio de Janeiro (IMS RJ) this Saturday, March 24th. After a successful season in São Paulo last year, the opening of the exhibition in Rio starts at 5 pm, featuring a guided visit with all of the six artists.

Developed together with Nogueira – head of the Contemporary Photography Department at Instituto Moreira Salles and editor-in-chief of ZUM Magazine – the works on view play with the forms in which they are presented so as to involve the visitors’ bodies. Such is the case of Jonathas de Andrade’s “Eu, Mestiço” [Me, Mestizo]. The installation was based on a research titled “Race and Class in Rural Brazil”, conducted by Columbia University and UNESCO in the Brazilian 1950s. Andrade “updated” the images shown in the original research questionnaire to reveal how Brazil is still permeated with prejudiced notions of ethnicity.

Art Collectives Mídia Ninja and Garapa too showcase works which experiment with their own media. Garapa displays a book-manifest titled “Postais para Charles Lynch” [Postcards to Charles Lynch], a sort of collage made from Brazilian lynching YouTube videos. Mídia Ninja, on the other hand, exhibits the installation #AoVivo [Live], which combines 90 live broadcastings filmed between 2013 and 2017. The work also allows the collective, one of the biggest independent media initiatives in the world today, to broadcast live whatever they’re transmitting through Facebook at the moment in the exhibition rooms.

The social component which spans across the whole exhibition finds new meaning in the works of Letícia Ramos, Sofia Borges and Bárbara Wagner – the latter, PIPA Prize winner in 2017. On view at the New York MoMA since last week, Borges exhibits the installation “A máscara, o gesto e o papel” [The mask, the gesture and the paper]. The work was born from a visit to the National Congress in Brasília on February last year. Through ten photographs, she represents the balances and counterbalances system that characterizes power in Brazil and abroad.

Letícia Ramos, on the other hand, was inspired by a photo of a protester being taken down by a jet of water to create “A resistência do corpo” [The resilience of the body]. Proving how images can serve as a way to create real or symbolic oppression, she tests the reaction of a body hit by  a water jet.

Last, but not least, Bárbara Wagner presents two works in the show. The first, “À procura do 5º Elemento” [In the Search of the 5th Element], consists on a photography gallery featuring some of the 300 boys who participated in a reality show to choose a new funk singer. The work portrays a generation who knows how to use performance on and off stage to talk about their anxieties and ascend socially. The second, produced alongside her longtime partner Benjamin de Búrca, is “Terremoto Santo” [Holy Tremor]. In the musical short film, young gospel singers create video clips for their own compositions, revealing social, economic and aesthetic aspects of the pentecostal practice. See images of some of the works on view below:

“Corpo a Corpo: a disputa das imagens, da fotografia à transmissão ao vivo” [Body Against Body: Images in Dispute, from Photography to Live Broadcast], group show featuring Bárbara Wagner, Garapa, Jonathas de Andrade, Letícia Ramos, Mídia Ninja and Sofia Borges
Curated by Thyago Nogueira and Valentina Tong (assistant)
On view from March 25th through July 22nd, 2018
Opening: Saturday, March 24th, at 5 pm

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