Luiza Baldan is the fifth guest of “Closer to PIPA: the artist speaks in the Institute collection”. Every fifteen days we select an art piece that was acquired by the Institute and ask the artist to talk a little bit about the work: be it the creative process; the ideia behind the piece; how it connects with the artist’s production; or any other aspect the person would like to share. The goal is to bring the audience closer to the artist’s universe and to the “Displacement” collection by PIPA Institute, which was established in 2010 to support, help document and promote the development of Brazilian contemporary art, and which has the Prize as one of its initiatives. This time, we chose the work “Perabé”, 2014-2015, videoinstallation b/w HD, 4-channel audio, 31’10”.
Luiza Baldan (Rio de Janeiro, 1980), PIPA 2016 finalist, holds a PhD and a Master’s in Visual Languages from UFRJ (Brazil), and a BFA in Photography/Timebased media from FIU (USA). The artist investigates urban dynamics that are established between the individual and the architecture, the memory and the city. Her images and texts result from the interrelation with the surroundings, in a sort of performance expanded by the places where she lives and where she passes through. Immersion is a fundamental part of the research, as it happens in artistic residencies and in long-duration projects involving trips and periodic displacements to revisited places.
“Of the more than thirty houses where I lived throughout my life, Copan, in São Paulo, was the first one far from the coast. One day I heard that it was possible to see the sea without leaving the city, somewhere to the south, after Parelheiros. As absurd as it might sound, the story aroused interest in finding an almost fictitious landscape. So I started the Perabé project in December 2014.
What at first was only about finding a belvedere in São Paulo, became a project of crossings, of crossing the landscape until I reached Baixada Santista. In periodic trips over 10 months, I traveled different paths that could connect the capital of São Paulo to the coast, collecting the impressions in photographs and texts. Starting from Serra da Cantareira, I let myself be guided by characters, myths, stories and hazards, until I reached the district of Marapé (former Perabé), in Santos, which in Tupi means ‘path of the sea'”.
In the video, the images are accompanied by the recitation of a poetic text written by Luiza. The voices are from Daniel Roland, Domingos Guimaraens, Luiz Mors Cabral and from the artist herself, who made the full text available on her website. Check out an opening excerpt (translation by Christopher Burden):
“One city helps you to read another. A city is a place of memory. For travellers, your place of birth is the home you carry in your luggage to facilitate your arrival in an unknown place.
My hometown is the sea. Whenever I am feeling nostalgic for something, in any dream or nightmare, blue is what I see and the salt air is what I smell. I was born by the sea. I moved to a place by the sea. And in every port I docked at, I left a little of the port of my departure.
So my home is the sea, in all its malleability and insistence. Waters contaminate each other, communicate with each other, bring and take. As children, when we scarcely know how to read the city, the scale of the avenues and buildings is frightening. The sea is intimidating. We are small beings surrounded by great masses and volumes which teach us, early on, about hierarchy and how to live in society. As we grow up, the city also grows, but we notice it less.
The sea is the only thing that does not change over time.
All the cities where I have lived are located by the sea, except one. The sea-less city is the only one that does not cease to expand”.
To read the full text, click here.
Watch the work “Perabé” bellow: