pedro frança, Camouflage, 2022

‘We tell ourselves stories in order to live’ features pedro frança

In 1979, Joan Didion (1934-2021) published her seminal collection of essays The White Album in which she captures the upheavals and aftermaths of the 1960s in what is often described by literary scholars as “simplistic” language. With her short sentences and distinctive diction, Didion became a model for a whole generation of younger writers and artists, who take up an auto-ethnographic approach in their own work. Examining key events and figures of the era—including Charles Manson, the Black Panthers, and the ultimate victory of consumer culture—Didion helped to define mass culture as we now understand it. Didion begins with the simple but evocative sentence: “We tell ourselves stories in order to live”. When looking at the artistic practice of pedro frança and Lucy Stein, this thesis sentence should resonate and open space of thought for this exhibition with the same name, at Jaqueline Martins in Brussels, Belgium. It is curated by Raphael Gygax.

Painting has occupied an eminent place in the artistic practice of pedro frança in recent years, whose work can be characterized by its multimedia approach. He became known in Brazil for his stage-like installations, which usually include video. The artist, who holds a master’s degree in social history, is also a member of the Ueinzz Theatre Group, which could be described as an integrative, “schizoscenic” theater project, where users of mental health services, therapists, actors, so-called psychotic patients, carers, philosophers, in other words, people with the most diverse social backgrounds come together. In his painting, too, frança constantly negotiates the psychosocial structure of people, for instance when he points out their mutual dependencies or takes up socio-political themes such as “migration”. The work, which in terms of motifs refers not only to surrealism but also to a “visionary pictorial language,” is permeated by questions of inclusion and solidarity, but also existential themes around mortality. In the exhibition, the artist will also show for the first time relief works that have emerged from his drawings, and also like the paintings could be described as stage spaces, where the great “world theater” finds entrance and is negotiated.

The show is open until October 29th, 2022.


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