Sofia Borges presents for the first time a solo show at the Brussels gallery from Mendes Wood DM: “The Sun, The Sun, But The Unconscious Of The Sun”. The show, opened from March 11th to 17th, 2021, brings together works belonging to some of Borges’ most celebrated series made over the past three years, providing European audiences with a curated introduction to her practice. This exhibition will act as a prelude to the artist’s planned residency and subsequent solo show in Bruges, Belgium, later this year, in the context of the Triennial Bruges. It also runs concurrently with a major presentation at the prestigious Museum of Art of São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (MASP), which sees Borges’ photographic research paired with the institution’s world-class collection of works by Edgar Degas.
At the heart of this show is a concise presentation of the deep investigation that Borges did as an artist-curator for the São Paulo Biennial of 2018 at the Museum of Images of the Unconscious, in Rio de Janeiro. This museum was founded inside a sanatorium by the famed 20th-century psychiatrist Nise da Silveira, who pioneered art therapy as an alternative means of treatment for cases of extreme schizophrenia, while rejecting aggressive treatments (such as electroshock and lobotomy) more commonly practiced during that period. She often identified Jungian universal archetypes that appeared spontaneously in the works of her patients, many of whom had little to no formal education. One of her patients was Adelina Gomes, a woman of African descent who lived in the sanatorium between 1937 and her death in 1984. During her time under Nise da Silveira’s care, Gomes produced more than 17,500 works of art. A recurring motif in Gomes’ art was the image of a woman turning into a plant or flower, which connects her to the Greek myth of Daphne, who Apollo turned into a plant after his love for her was unreciprocated.
“This is how and why I created a conceptual bridge with the Degas project at MASP. Little Dancer Aged Fourteen by Degas was to me a pure demonstration of strength rather than fragility and poverty. A historical representation of feminine strength which had to go through 140 years of profound and complex misunderstandings to finally emerge again as symbolic of the urgency for deep self strength. This was what I saw on that sculpture, 140 years of history urging for reparation, a mature strength embodied on an eternal Little Dancer Aged Fourteen.”
This exhibition shines a light on Borges’ interest in mythology, image-making and their relation to one another, explored through photography. As Nise da Silveira’s psychiatric institution looked for unprompted manifestations of Jungian archetypes in the unconscious of her patients, Borges’ work resurfaces these important findings and presents them to a contemporary audience through an alluring and singular use of photography to create viscerally powerful new images rooted in a universal history.
“The Sun, The Sun, But The Unconscious Of The Sun”, solo show with Sofia Borges
From March 11th to 17th, 2021