Welcome to PIPA 2023 Awarded Artists Takeover! Until October 28th, the artists “open the doors of their studios” to the virtual audience of PIPA Prize, with videos, photos, and texts exclusively prepared for the takeover. Each week, one artist presents their work. From October 16th to 21st, Iagor Peres talks about his trajectory in the artistic world, what he has produced, in addition to presenting recent works.
In this 14th edition, PIPA Prize continues a format iniciated last year. It is aimed to gather artists who had their first exhibition no more than fifteen years ago. The focus of PIPA 2023 is to encourage artists at the beginning of their careers who develop a differentiated production. The material below is available in a reduced version also on the Prize’s social networks. Keep an eye out and follow us on the Instagram, Twitter and Facebook platforms.
And remember that the Awarded Artists are also exhibiting works at Paço Imperial, in Rio de Janeiro. The exhibition is open until November 12th. It will be a pleasure to receive you there!
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1995
Lives and works between Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Barcelona, Spain
“I have been looking for ways to remove the body from the traps of vision and thus, observe other visible and invisible densities that make up our relationships in space, to critically think about their agencies, formativities and the way we see them in the world. Trying to understand how we deal with what escapes a name and what we cannot see. To that end, I focus on the creation of amorphous and unstoppable materialities, the result of the combination of synthetic and organic compounds that permeate most of my works.
I situate my practice in the friction between sculpture, video, installation, and performance, reflecting. I’ve been asking myself, how do we dismiss the idea of Thing from the matter’s recategorization processes? How and why we separate the Things, feeding a narrative created by a world revealed in luminosity and vision traps. Doubting the apparent world and establishing dynamics between the removal and positioning of bodies (materials) in spaces, I have been working on questioning production’s tools of difference developed by white-western thoughts concerning bodies not understood as Life.”
Member of the Carni Collective – Coletivo de Arte Negra e Indígena, currently participating in the PEI – Programa de Estudios Independientes at MACBA in Barcelona. Winner awarded at the Prince Clauss Seed Awards in 2021, Premio Foco 2022 and at the 6th Edition of the EDP Nas Artes Prize at Instituto Tomie Ohtake, SP, 2018. Participant in the CCSP exhibition program in 2020. Resident at Villa Waldberta, Munich, GER for the residency PlusAfroT, 2019. In the same year, he was a resident in Lugar a Dudas, Calí, Colombia.
Video produced by Do Rio Filmes exclusively for PIPA 2023:
Iagor Peres focuses on the possibilities of different materialities and seeks to test them in amorphous and unstoppable configurations. To do this, he researches synthetic and organic compounds, such as solder. An element normally used to connect objects, in his work Iagor creates a design with the material itself, subverting it. One of these drawings is part of the PIPA 2023 Award Winners exhibition, on display at Paço Imperial until November 12th. Photos by Fábio Souza.
And below another series with the drawings, ‘Line of fire’, from 2022.
1 — How has dance impacted your formation and the construction of your poetics?
I feel as if I’ve answered this question in so many ways, it’s even hard to reinvent a path to approach the question once again, but here we go… What we learn with our bodies remains and is transformed into the body itself. Dance is a language that, to this day, influences my way of thinking about spatiality and composition, since this language involves not only the presence of bodies, but also their movement, displacement and transformation within and with space. It is through the body and the contact with dance that the invisible takes shape, establishing an energy and attention field which arises from the encounter between bodies that exist in that same space. To perceive and deal with often implicit dynamics that affect our relationships is to understand that, depending on the situation, crossing a 10-meter-wide street might feel as if it was 5 or 50 meters, or even a kilometer, depending on what awaits on the other side, the reasons behind the crossing, and many other factors. It is also through the intersection of dance and other languages, such as video, that I had my first contact with the idea of a hybrid language. Something that, essentially, could only exist in that way, since it would have to exist in that in-between and at the boundary of both, to the point that, if one language was dissociated from the other, they would no longer present the same strength and shape. Another movement that made me realize the importance of dance in my work is the idea of the recipe. In many of my works, the recipe presents itself as a repertoire of gestures archived in the body, keeping its knowledge and continuously transforming, even if in small doses. Something, we could say, that is kept in a space of memory, but is constantly happening and being revisited, in the present, during the making. Beyond all this, the movement of matter itself makes me think that there is a choreographic gesture of composition, since some of the works already include movement in time and its displacement and design in space.
2 — Your movement towards sculpture emerges from your decision to take the protagonist role away from the body in the construction of language. Would that imply taking on materials as symbolic energies, as a play between what is formalized and what escapes?
People – sometimes even myself – often understand and describe this path of removing the body and approaching other corporealities as product of a desire guided towards sculpture, but it’s not necessarily that. The biggest challenge, which is still very much alive, is inhabiting the in-between of languages and developing a thought that includes corporealities and corporeities that challenge or have nothing to do with the classical and modern foundations and that, through inconformity, interlace languages such as performance, dance, sculpture and painting, pointing towards instability and transformation, transgressing from their conformation to a supposed disappearance in space. A commitment, then, of establishing a relationship with a materiality that has agency over its transformations and therefore escapes, never truly becoming evidence. Aside from that point, there are movements in some works’ languages which are set in a way that invites the rethinking of those limits, sometimes bringing some of those words among them, sometimes establishing a direct critical counterpoint on the naming of a language, sometimes not. Bringing all this to this conversation interests me, because it precisely shows that a symbolic play would not be enough to develop what I was seeking.
3 — Your work is political without being ideological, meaning that it is never evident or illustrative, maintaining a degree of indeterminacy that opens spaces for those who interact with it. It touches on issues of identity in a subliminal way, establishing a productive relationship between the said and the unsaid, the visible and the invisible. Could you talk about how you perceive politics in your work, and about this relation between arts and politics today?
I believe these political components in my work are connected to a desire of refusal and disturbance of that which, in a way, already guides, ethically and politically, those who are in touch with my work. It is more so than a wish to feed into massively widespread narratives of the last few years. I put an effort into seeking approaches that are based outside of the representational models experienced and revisited frequently. What happens when that which is given is the Thing itself that’s been put into question, and not a representation, illustration or abstraction of itself or something else, but an acting corporeality? In this sense, the idea that moves me has to do with a critical gesture over how the symbolic and everyday tools which unfold from the formulation of a racial arsenal are created and put into conformity, and how they are capable of depersonifying, producing and justifying death. This gesture is often seen by some as an approach to an identitarian issue, but that is not an issue I explore or even take interest on. I’m interested in thinking of alternatives in which the public, if attached to a normalized narrative guided by the conformations a habit of whiteness – that of stagnating things “in their due places” (be them symbolic, social, spatial, categorical or representational) because “that is how they’re meant to be” –, probably won’t have access to that which might not be so obvious, and perhaps not as given as it seems.
This is one of the movements that relates to what we could understand as unsaid, visible or (ex/im)plicit in a way, because at the end, in this relation, what catches my attention is this corporeality’s potential to expose in a direct and radical way the perspective of those who come to its encounter. Beyond other factors and corporealities that are also not obvious, I speak of a movement of symbolic transit of Things in which the corporeality would inhabit distinct categorical positions depending on who’s gaze it is under. That would sometimes lead to having its condition of being/existing linked to a specific jurisprudence in relation to more expressive institutions that shape, design and maintain the society we are part of, and that conduct, through the legal system, the possibilities and impossibilities of movement and agency. But beyond all this, all these Things keep on carrying their uncapturable aspect, since they can be anything you can imagine they are, none of it, or even something more.
And through this Thing that inhabits an elastic categorical terrain we may, perhaps, reten(s)e juridical compositions aiming to undermine the apparatus that often deny a shift in some bodies’ conditions of existence, beyond the limits of racial and categorical violence. I believe one of the tools that help us reflect on what I am saying here is the idea of frequency. Here, to frequent a body means developing tools that allow us to transform our idea of Things by realizing that something which at first sight seemed static is actually alive and mutable. I say this from the experience I’ve had exhibiting my work in institutions in which, when I would go visit the exhibition, the most interesting comments on the work would come from the people who worked there and frequented that space, not necessarily as visitors. That is, people who worked in the security and cleaning of the space, the education team and so on. I find it interesting to think that this powerful tool is closer to those who are thought to be further away from these circles of knowledge than to the agents that supposedly are already familiar with that knowledge, those notions and the place where Things belong.
4 — In your most recent works, starting from “When the matter is gone”, your work seems to take more interest in the disappearance of matter, dematerialization and energy propagation. Meanwhile, your sculptures seem to turn even more to the “structuring of dense bodies”. What is it that interests you in this dialectic relation between matter and energy, visible and invisible?
I don’t believe in the disappearance of matter, at least not in a disappearance linked to an idea of inexistence, nonpresence or anything that refers to that. In general, I believe in the presence and existence of all that seems not to inhabit any place. And in this inhabiting, the contradiction has become increasingly present, and the title “When the matter is gone” is a sort of release for this perspective I bring, because what we sometimes refer to as “dematerialization” is often linked or based on an experience of absence of factors linked to visuality, and to other senses such as touch, hearing and smell, that is, linked to a path of not finding common factors that give the basis for an idea of something “being or existing” materially. When, on the contrary, that which reaches a state of matter that transcends deflagration though any of these routes remains as material and present as a block of concrete, an idea or a fragment of an atom. There lays some of my curiosity… In the elastic, metamorphic and infinite possibilities matter presents us with. In this movement, I have been approaching corporealities and movements that are increasingly less visible, and at the same time, I continue conforming what you mentioned as a “structuring of dense bodies” since, even though they might appear polarized, these movements are in fact complementary movements of a same discussion.
Exclusively for the Takeover, Iagor produced a video in which he talks about his recent works that are currently on display. Discover these works in the video below:
In addition to drawings and installations, Iagor Peres also develops online games. At the beginning of this year, he was invited by the interdisciplinary knowledge exchange platform Foodculture Days, based in the city of Vevey (Switzerland), to develop a commissioned game, following one of the central concepts of his work, the presence and absence of bodies in spaces. With the support of Valentina DʼAvenia, director of the Genders and Sexualities Art Festival, the artist created the game When the matter is gone, which can be accessed from a special platform, outside of Safari.
See images from the game below:
To this year catalog, Iagor Peres invited Denise Ferreira da Silva to write a text about his production. Read the full the below:
Experiments on (what is) in-Existence
Denise Ferreira da Silva
What to say when the work does not invite what, why, what for, or by which means kind of considerations? How to comment, to reflect on the artwork, and comfortably occupy the requested position when before pieces that unapologetically request the appreciator to set aside their critical certainties and to attend to the experiment before their eyes? What is left to the public, curator, the critic, who may praise themselves for being attuned to the questionings presented by apparatus of critique that address the colonial, racial cisheteropatriarchal matrix of the subject, when the work already exposes the limits of criticality, in both its theoretical and aesthetical modes.
Iagor Peres’ work unsettles the presumed position as it refuses — and the artist, even more explicitly, obviously — to be caught as a matter for knowing, something with which to become familiar, as an object for the understanding, or one to learn how to appreciate.
Approaching the work with the quest(ion) of blackness, rebelry, which is the work it alone performs towards the dismantling of the post-Enlightenment arsenal and its occupation of every existing thing, under World and Nature, my task is arrested. Before the work’s rendering of rebelry I cannot but respond with meditation. Through that how, the manner the work does what it does, the procedure which, for lack of a better term I will call acategorical, that is, the work renders blackness experimentally, and as such without attributing it definition or definiteness.
How this manner of proceeding – or process, as the artist might call it – does what it does (and I say that knowing that this saying, Iagor will say, will become not just part but will also enter in the composition of the existing work) has to do with how it treats what we understand under terms such as body, object, and thing.
Having been hailed as an accomplice by the artist, I find it fair that the artist becomes part of this commentary. Nothing more than a couple of passages that comment on the work is here included. As it may be obvious by now, I do so not to use them as evidence but as raw material that composes Iagor Peres’ artwork.
“There is something that has always caught me in this process, which is the continuity of the gesture in space. For a long time, I immersed myself in dance and performance and it would lead me to a movement in which I would trigger my body, and it would do certain things that seemed to end there.“
Trusted into the position of appreciated when at the gallery, museum, biennale or by the art publication, I find relief accepting the work’s invitation to speculate.
Looking at images of Iagor Peres’ work over the past nine years, one cannot miss the resonances between the performances and the sculptures. What does not come about, at least not to me, is a term that would comprehend either or both. For, on the one hand, neither the performances nor the sculptures lend themselves to naming, to categorization, however, indicates something else at work. On the other hand, however, raciality suffuses the work both as a form (a term) that captures the context of its reception, and as its material also renders the performances and sculptures commentaries on the very colonial, racial, and cisheteropatriarchal context in which we encounter them.
Precisely this tension, I find, works through as each piece transfigures body, object, and thing precisely as it invites the public to attend to how it exists, to how its conditions of existence — which was the phrase used as a synonym for life in the 19th century — are constitutive of it as an existent. And those also include the artist, as Iagor Peres insists on reminding us. The “continuity of the gesture in the space” might as well be another name for existence when considered in the register of infinite movement, as viewers we encounter in existence.
“Or they moved the space for a much shorter time than when the material skins appeared in my life, when we created ourselves. That was back in 2018, and inside and all that, the job was to think precisely the continuity of a gesture.“
What if Iagor Peres’ phrase “the continuity of a gesture” were to become that by which we approach body, object, thing, in existence? The artist tells us that much when commenting on the work itself, on the relation between the artist and the work but also on how that “continuity” that occurs in space renders the work also and always unfinished, in existence. For it exists in relation, affecting and affected by shifts in temperature, air pressure, humidity as well as noise, light, neutrinos and dark matter, and so on — or to use Iagor Peres’s word, it is alive. Body, object, and thing are nothing more than the continuity of a gesture, both of the artist who first per-formed/pre-formed it and of the later per-formance/formation of everything else visible and non-visible with which it shares space.
The continuity of a gesture in space is a call for attention to inseparability also in regard to the mind, the subject, and the person. In Iagor Peres’ work, implicancy does not come as a message to the appreciator (public, curator, interviewer, critic) in the first-person. Instead, it is coming out as the manner through which the artist turns us into accomplices in what happens to the materials that compose the object of art. It is the artistic object, as it gives continuity to a gesture in space, affected by its condition of existence — that is, as it shifts and changes in/as space and in/as time — that establishes how the appreciator becomes part of it.
Two thoughts become unavoidable to me once I start to think of continuity in this manner, in the manner of Iagor Peres’ experiments: on the one hand, one cannot but wonder about whether or not when looking/touching something, even if not consciously so, one (the human thing) is also touched by that which has been part of the thing-in-existence. On the other hand, and consequently, one must wonder if her sensing (seeing, touching, smelling, hearing, tasting) of the thing-in-existence, the artistic object, commits the thing to the continuity of a gesture in space that she also exists as. Both questions, of course, also then request a consideration of how then the thing-in-existence, in so far as it comments on the workings of the colonial, racial, cisheteropatriarchal matrix, also affects the latter continuity, as also a gesture in space.
“(…) To think about the continuity of a thing that I position in space in a certain way and it ceases is to be only what I positioned when it repositions itself. When it exerts this transformation, it is itself in the world and replaces itself in another space, other than the space that I have placed. Maybe that’s not even my extension anymore. There is no formula between what it is, when, it ends, or when it becomes something. Agent is always in a relational field. Depending on the perspective, this object, or this living thing, changes in reference to me and in reference to it.”
Slowly but surely, I hope, I have moved this commentary on Iagor Peres’s work, which now is another component of its in-existence, towards that which it unsettles which is precisely the two defining relations in the aesthetic field, the one between the artist and the work and the one between the appreciator and the work. How that is done – which is the manner through which, that which it obtains, the singularity of Iagor Peres’ experimental thinking, that is, art that intervenes by confronting (and in doing so exposing) the colonial, racial, cisheteropatriarchal matrix – I find, exemplifies something that, perhaps because of the protected place it has enjoyed through its 200 years old trajectory, the aesthetic alone seems able to afford. That’s how, as the work itself, it does not allow categorization, it insists and persists in its refusal of a name. And it is precisely because it does so by dismantling that which is at the core of categorization — body, object, and thing —, by rendering it without form, without solidity or extension, that is, as movement, or, in Iagor Peres’s words, again, a continuity of the gesture in space.
Another way of saying the same thing is that Iagor Peres’ art work intervenes at the metaphysical and ontoepistemological level, as it refuses the very grounds of our thinking through imaging as a gesture that unravels the space of its occurrence. That gesture is precisely to trust the work to that which composes it and to that which is already in play, where it will exist.
I, for one, could not resist the artist’s invitation to try, to experiment and appreciate existence acategorically. Once there, where the artist becomes just another existent that is also part of the artwork’s conditions of existence, is where the thinking of existence without violence, of implication instead of relation, and of undetermination, as space turns into the occurrence of uncertainty, that is the way of the experiment, which is/of everything.