(this page was last updated in October 2017)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1966.
Lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Represented by Nohra Haime Gallery.
PIPA 2010 nominee.
Anna Paola Protasio has a BA in Architecture. The artist appropriates common objects of everyday life in her works. She is interested not only in their formal size and structure, but also in the desires and actions, symbolism and metaphors implicitly linked to the objects that she is building in her poetry.
An Increasing Threshold
By Cesar Kiraly
1. Surrealism, in the artistic sphere, was responsible for making the dream more present in everyday life. The fact that it also used the cinema made the gesture notorious. It was about imposing unnatural nuptials between things, animals, fairs, squares, people, houses, etc. This is a debt we can not avoid.
2. The contemporary artist, in an important turning point, instead of simply making the dream contrast, was engaged in the activity of showing that the strict difference between dream-reality and reality is due only to convention.
3. The question is not of beauty or ugliness, in no way is the dream taken in the sense of night reward to a quiet conscience, but rather to note that the discovery of the unintelligent imagination gives us knowledge about the elasticity of our reality, for good and evil.
4. There are those who point out that insensitivity to the dream in the days, to the imagery and pictorial nature of our daily landscapes, would be useful to us, because we would thus be protected from ourselves. Nothing more false or immoral. Because we are not even homogeneous in what we ignore and we are not condemned to always use the cutting edge of the knife. Imagination is a burden and a wing.
5. Protasio is drawn to such issues as we deem to be of prime importance. The apparent dispersion of her work is felt only by those who do not recognize the capacity of contemporary art to face the most important doubts. If many artists are comfortable with the repetition of a single theme, or with small changes, in order to escape the tension caused by the unknown, this does not occur in their research. Not only does she insists on the most radical searches for material, and of enormous shapes, but she never gets to ask questions for which the answers are already known.
6. In this picture are the works with which it seeks to attribute visuality to the speculations of science on the behavior of matter. It is worth mentioning its beautiful installation with video in which a row of cyclists dressed in red are transported from bucolic scenery to sculptural objects and transit between walls and rooms. This is as if we were witnessing the simultaneity of materiality, more or less as if the same person who passed us by the eyes, repeated it again and again, defying the temporal progression, in an insistent déjà vu.
7. In what could be called a concern with social ontology, in the Revoada installation, Protasio multiplies golden birds, throughout the exhibition space, painted on intimidating industrial sands, in bands performing different movements. They are only interrupted by yellow / distributed wires like light beam / demarcating boundaries for flight. This cycle, attended by heavy ceramic runes, attached to the ceiling, and by a garment, almost armor, of the same sanding, cut a little smaller, made in the measurements of the artist’s body.
8. Walter Benjamin wrote in his theses that history is a locomotive heading into the abyss. This sort of statement, read as messianic, has convinced many, which is reversed in the acceptance of the most desperate cosmologies, which distract us from the bad effects of the rhetoric of the end of the world. Let us say, then, that this is an inattentive reading, which, in fact, he was talking about a train transpiring smoke, like a racehorse, but that would be kept in the same place, by the deciphers allowed by the courage before the image, in a pictorial version of the turtle’s victory over Achilles. Where we would not be before the end, but the Limit, as Mario Peixoto knew. If that were the case, and we had the courage to stop and look at the emptiness in front of us, there would be a threshold between us and the unknown. We would be on a solid gold, of a body more bulky than the prolongation that would take us to the abyss. We would be the eye, the crystal sphere, determined, patient, to perceive.
“The Fractured Instant”, in a physicist’s perspective
By Cláudio Lenz Cesar
Perhaps the genius of Albert Einstein was the one that spent most dedication to the understanding of the relation between space and time in nature, incorporating the four-dimensional space in our language and culture. His theories, special and general relativity, changed the concepts of absolute time and space. These concepts do seem strange to us, since they are evident only in a scale away from our daily life and require sophisticated analytical and mathematical tools for comprehension. Many books have been written to illustrate these ideas to the general public. In the almost poetic fiction “Einstein’s Dreams”, Alan Lightman takes us through dreams that young Einstein might have had in the months prior to his discovery of Relativity, imagining different ways by which time could pass in different universes. Together with Relativity, Quantum Mechanics brought us even more difficult and phantasmagoric concepts, such as non-locality, tunneling, and teleportation. These are very successful theories – against experimental tests – and which allow us a great variety of practical applications: from the transistor – and thus all the electronics and computers – to the laser, nuclear magnetic resonance and the GPS. The exhibition “The Fractured Instant” of Anna Paola Protasio immediately speaks to our felling about time – the before, now, and after – mixed in the same and other spaces. It stirs our minds with the notions of causality, of the arrow of time and the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and refers to tunneling! It instigates and at the same time brings some comfort, in a tacit recognition of these concepts. Nothing better than a bicycle to represent “tacit” knowledge: one simply learns to ride a bicycle while incapable of describing in words this knowledge. “The Fractured Instant” first makes you head swirl and then gives the sensation of “eureka!”, a tip of the tacit comprehension and questioning of the concepts of causality, tunneling, teleportation, and the intricate relation of space and time. Today, we speculate about mirror-universe, multiverses and even another universe all made of antimatter far away from us. Is that so? The arts and fiction have always been great allies to science in this pursuit of keeping alive the flame of the “different” and in the communication of these ideas, something very alive in the art of Anna Paola.
In the Torpidity of the Hours
By Marisa Flórido Cesar
To steal from the daily routine the objects as well as the most delicate desires and the small wanderings implicitly connected to them . It is just this way that Anna Paola Protásio constructs her poetics. Transported to the universe of the art such objects gathered from the world, repeatedly (as ladders and cones) or solitary (as towers and knitted cones) gigantic or small, heavy or fragile, become, in general, structures or geometric solids
At the Mube are assembled, for the first time, about 32 works of art made along five years of her artistic journey. An architect by profession, she lets to transform her work the constructive inheritance of the art. However, the artist introduces in the abstraction of geometry and in her universality craving elements that come to disturb the rigidity of mathematics and the wish for order of the constructive tradition. As if, in the foreseen and decisive structures the torpidity of the worthless hours, with their dreams and pains, solitudes and fears, came to claim their places and occasion.
If, on one hand, the references to the constructive art repertoire are evident, on the other, the fragments of the world inserted in the abstraction of the structures, become visual and sensitive provocations. They try to respond an interrogation more and more urgent to the artist: how to make the art to respond to
the human experience in its complexity? How to make this world to open to the subtleness and to the small sensitivities?
For the artist, it wasn’t enough just to reposition worldly objects to the art context, emptying them of their senses and habitual functions. Nor it did not matter to maintain the objects’ socially determined significance. It was indispensable to transform them into all their symbolic intention, at the same time enlarging it and modifying it and creating a confrontation between the skepticism of the abstractions and the significant impregnation of the objects. If the art must be invaded by the languor and stresses of the daily routine, the day-to-day must be emptied of its familiarity (of its quotidianity) by the art, to the awesomeness and the scaring of its eccentricity. Therefore, it steals the objects from the world: to give them back in poetic reverberations and small peculiarities.
It is then that the title appears as in semantic games weaving with the art work curious relations. Or the artist takes the word in its descriptive literality exploring tautologies as the plurality and displacement of senses; or she grants to these objects and works when naming them, a vital whisper, a soul as if these objects would I corporate affective states.
On the first strategy we see a set of works done with traffic cones names “Feelings”. After all, they are destined to that they guide the direction of the traffic. But there senses also mean direction and internal arrangement of the pieces when structuring geometries that the artist constructs: the cones turn to inside, to outside forming a morula or a star, tensioned in contentions and expansions. Sense is also the meaning transformed in the displacement of the object from its primary context (from the traffic to art). Sense is finally, what allows us to perceive and feel within this displacement.
“Concrete deviation”, for example, is composed by two planes separated and twisted – deviated from their ortogonality – so, by a book between them – Ferreira Gullar’s “Neoconcrete Poetry” (after all, the neo-concretism intended a deviation from the concretism, the emancipation of the pictorial plane to the experience brought from space.
On the second strategy, the tautological games are replaced by the indexation to the symbolic significance of determined objects. Thus, the towers are protection and isolation signs; ladders translate dreams of ascension and transcendences; knitted cones and woolen treads tensioned by a gigantic wooden block contrasting to the feebleness of the weaving gesture, conduct to the feminine imaginary and children fables; and worlds are glass
spheres between the reach of the hands and the eminence of the fall and destruction, among delirium of omnipotence felt at the onset of a universal catastrophe.
In “Solitude” a small chess tower floats transparent and aloof inside the iron and lighted hollow cubes (where it can be seen references of Franz Weissmann cubes and the luminous vibrations of Jesus Soto). Cubes that are self sustained, independent and hung by almost invisible cables. Whether they are Euclidian structures of space and time in the classic tradition, there they insinuate an introverted perspective guarding the crystal tower that floats as if without ties or contact with the exterior world that involves it. A floating fenced in, an asphyxiating protection. Such lack of communicability , such soliloquy and reservation reappear in other works and in “Eternal Thirst”, “Search for the Answer”, “Guarded Freedom”; “Unsustainable Lightness”. They are diaphanous gages , aquariums involved and heavy anchors, glass domes separating worlds that fall in love but never touch each other. Crystal jails locking prisoners of an illusionary freedom
On the opposite sense of the melancholic absorption other works point at the search to overcome or extenuate limits, brushes the impossibility to represent and the invisible , the what exceeds us over what we have no control of. Improbable metaphysics
wave taken from the most trivial objects as id it is necessary to make a secret pact with the things of the world in order to discover the extraordinary lost in the extenuating routine of the days.
It is just like that that a concrete block (material associated to the masculine universe and rude civil construction) levitates, immobilized as if complete aloof of the gravity power and the brutality of its material. “Pact with the Infinity” it can be read at the works caption.
Ih “Pact” insinuates the impossible measurement of space, “Fractured Instant”, “Almost” show the fugacity of time and the pretension to insinuate ephemerides and consummations to paralyze to small and big movements – as the paint that flows from the scoop in a -not yet. In the video exhibition “Fractured Instance” red bicycles advance through walls and scenes extending and invading the extra-field of the projected image, as if slicing the continuous temporal. At his cut it is as if the instant debated itself between the distension and the fracture, between the movement and the stillness . Situating itself at the visible limit of the luminous spectrum the reds have the longest light waves that can be perceptive by the human eyes. Would it be possible the run around the world (on red bicycles ) at the just limit between the visible and the invisible?
The same mention to transcendence comes from other works. The artist appropriates of contraction ladders as a poetic metaphor of the heights which, overlapped in a feeble equilibrium, constructing interrupted bridges towards the sky abode. Ladders that attracted to the nuclei suggest the construction of a world or to expand it in explosions and vectors, sustaining on the soil in an instable three “Light contact points”. Transparent and fragile ladders from which a TAG is hung with the following instruction: Maximum weight allowed: one soul at the time”. Ladders that end up by betraying its original function: as a via to the heights. After all, they are impossible ladders, impossible are ascensions. Every climb is just a desire, persecuted in unending constructions, in unfinished ladders and bridges.
Art is not the instance of transcendence; it feeds on perplexities and the vertigo of falls, of the unsolved mysteries of the universe, of the errors the men did when searching in vain for his face reflected in the stars.
Lightly crossed of sweet images, the visual poetic repertoire of the artist reveals that between the calculation of the cold geometrics and the unexpected affections, the solid sustainability that the structures promise will be always shaken by the unsustainable lightness of the days and of the beings.
By Marisa Flórido Cesar
What we name “man” is perhaps not to be dissociated from the sign of his fall and desires of ascension. Desires to correct the essential deviation, to recuperate the lost origin, or just soar towards the celestial spheres in order to, who knows, touch the mysteries of the universe and the gods. To transcend, even for a moment, our miserable and erratic existence about this heavenly body: wasn’t this one of the promises of the art?
Anna Paola Protasio is a graduate architect and, in this exhibition, her relationship with the constructive tradition of the art becomes transparent. The artist makes use of construction stepladders as a poetic metaphor of the elevations: ladders which, superposed in frail equilibrium, build interrupted bridges trying to reach the celestial abode.
Transparent and fragile stepladders which seem to reach solar rays or to dangle from them. Untouchable ladders, because of nails or covered and sealed. Ladders which, attracted to a nucleus, suggest the building of a world or dilating it in explosions and vectors. Ladders which end up by betraying their original function: to move towards the heights. Finally, they are impossible ladders, they portray impossible ascensions. Every ascension is only a desire. The culmination of its ideal was always suspended in endless reconstructions, in unfinished ladders and bridges. Art is not the moment of transcendence, cry Anna Paola ladders. On the contrary, it is fed on the perplexities and vertigo of the falls, on the unsolved mysteries of the universe, on the errs that made man search, unsuccessfully, for his face mirrored on the stars.
By Cesar Kiraly
1. The walls are taken. The imagination here perseveres and we are coated by rough matter. Is there opposition? Now, it is not the smooth or the striated, but very small reliefs organized in the small offense to the point of the careful fingers. In order to move in this reality, it is necessary to despise the pain a little. Protasio precipitates the black surface through all the walls, even the structural column is involved. There is something very threatening in this environment of sandpaper aimed at the world. If turned in another direction, if rubbed with any will, they would reduce all imperfections to dust. If we invested against them, we would certainly be interrupted by drops of blood. We would bleed before we can overcome the resentment represented by this form of heaven. Despite all this, even challenging the odds, golden birds cross the horizon.
2. Impossible not to remember The Story of Gerhard Shnobble. In it Will Eisner shows that Shnobble is an ordinary human being, the son of ordinary parents and created to be common. On his eighth birthday, he slips off the roof. Instead of dying, He flies slowly to the ground. His father, dazed, reacts by giving a beat to the poor, warning never to fly again, hurt, the little forget the skill. He grows and becomes bank clerk. After 35 years of work, instead of being fired, he is transferred to the night watch function. One day the bank is assaulted and he is beaten in the head. As a reward, it is finally sent away. He walks helplessly through the city. Apparently because of the blow he took, he can remember that he can fly. He climbs to the top floor of a building. After playing in the void, he begins to fly. Note that no one sees him. He does some pirouettes and tries to get some audience attention. He is hit by a stray bullet. He floats to the ground and dies. Eisner asks us not to be sad for Shnobble, but for humanity. Because we never knew there was a man who could fly.
3. It is not only in blackness that we are involved. How to hug a body dressed in aggressive sandals that would welcome us smiling? Would we expect the immediate birth of wings? Would it be feasible to wait for the golden share? Or not. Is it, then, how to talk about the contact of thorny animals in the cold? Would we approach as much as we could for body heat, without exaggeration, however, by the danger of the incompatibility of thorns? Yes, it is different, if the sandpaper body is approaching, it may be that we accept part of the nuisance, as a dynamic of cordiality, provided it is known, that it shelters all the good effects of familiarity, with which experience presents us and of which Unconsciously we are debtors. If the body is strange, if the life that it holds can be misrepresented, now only those who look for the sandpaper would tolerate having embraced it. Is it so easy to get heat, so that one can dispense with its source only because we have no sympathy for it?
4. It seems ambiguous to take the mood as intrinsic. In this account the same for the inanimate. Who tells us we can not be confused? If we admit that the difference is all in the heat, how to predict? Was heat the sign of the mood or the reverse? Could not the source of high temperatures be behind sharp sanding,
strange to any familiarity? Heat is something put, who needs it makes it present in the body of which it approaches, a little like beauty. But if we always need the heat, and if animation is always possible, why can it happen that we are taken to the glacier? Was there something perverse in sympathy? If so, we could be led to seek heat where there is none and to ignore that cold can be a form of mood.
5. Protasio proliferates the birds, in matter that evokes to us the difficulties of the sympathy. How to be heated by sandpapers? They are birds of the same species, but of noisy singular existence. It is clear that it is important to produce the greatest admiration effect possible: forcing the impression. For this are made delicate birds, full of small accidents, in different aerial formations, are desired, distanced from the industrial environments in which they are landed, gold paint, sandpaper, each bird is a destination, even if they move parallel. Industrial gold is not meant to evoke beauty, but to make them noticeable, like cyclists determined to cut off the night traffic, or marathon runners at dawn, more so, as markers on endangered animal species, etc.
6. Birds are amazing. They are almost always in the pack so they can protect themselves. Nevertheless, if they are targets of our animism, they become representatives of freedom. The common desire is to have the freedom to fly like a bird. On the other hand, not without habit, they are perceived as plagues. A bunch of hungry birds devouring crops is quickly associated with multitudes of destructive people. A cloud of locusts? We would be afraid of such portents. Being free as a bird keeps violence resembling the movement that consumes resources. Is it not common to wear a structure in men’s clothing to scare off the birds? Was it the party that visits us the result of such a sort of astonishment? If they are not from here, why not return to their place of origin? If we frightened here while others intimidate from there, when would the flight end? The beauty of wanting to fly like the birds is amazing because it consists of being able to move alone
7. Birds move where they need them. But we end up thinking they move where they want. This antagonism leads us to scarecrows. There is intense rawness in astonishing who arrives because they need to. It is precisely because of this urgency that scaring becomes so problematic. The scarecrow must be so terrible as to force the bird back to where it needed to be. Moreover, that the diffuse costs of returning are inferior to those of facing the forces that do not allow to stay. In the end, only birds that feed on dead animals compete with the scarecrows. This means that if symbiotic with death, the stratum of existence avoided by those who migrate, there is no reason why anyone should bother to frighten them. They have nothing to fear.
8. Golden strands break from the ceiling and cling to the floor, like a ray of light that expands. Protasio moves deftly by the displacement of industrial matter. The conceptual function of such faults is that they can not be crossed, to interrupt the course. They remember, but they are not light. It does not matter that they are elegant in the environment. The point is that you can only pass through them if it is narrower than the distance between the bundles. It is not an imaginary line, so little a meridian. It is a border. It’s not quite a cage. Because
this is like a prison. There is nothing good in prison for anyone inside it. Well, save in funny stories, no one wants to go beyond the chain into their walls or grids. The border is quite different. It tries to establish ambiguity where in truth we only have ambivalence. It concentrates the effort to see the traffic restriction as sometimes good and sometimes bad. Good birds would have an ally on the frontier and bad ones an enemy. But in fact, the borders are ambivalent, any birds, for them, are good and bad at the same time. As we said, the more protected are hard, foreign body, etc. The border have them as border. At once good and bad, but necessary. Do not get confused with a man who flies.
Wires, Threads and Forms
By Marisa Flórido
A tress is suspended from a tower made of small chess towers. Another extremely small and transparent tower drifts all alone engrossed in copper webs. If, one tower reverberates on its own image, a “metaimage”, the other concentrates on its own unit. If one soars to the heights, the other reverberates towards a central core. If one visions a fugue, the other seeks refuge in evasive thoughts, completely self-absorbed.
Knitting cones and wool yarns are tensioned by a gigantic wooden weight that contrasts to the delicate gesture of knitting implied there. A concrete block finds itself in mid air, completely oblivious to the forces of gravity and the roughness of its raw material. Translucent cages, crystal coops fall down captives of an illusionary freedom.
Common objects that Anna Paola Protasio abducts from the every day banality to restructure them through the art to open the days and the melancholies to other senses and other mirages. If towers and tresses, spinners and knitting cones take us the feminine imaginary, to its fables and anxieties, concrete blocks and guarded cages brings us back to the contemporary metropolis, to the terrors and delirium of control which perplexes us.
Displaced to the art universe of art such objects, repeated or unitary, enormously oversized or minimized, grave or fragile, introduce in the torpidity of inexact hours, dreams and pains, fantasies and chimeras, solitude and fears. They reveal to us the burden and the weightlessness of the days.
By Renato Rezende
In the broad and varied context of the rich artistic production in Brazil in the post-war era, Anna Paola Protasio is situated in the difficult but fruitful construction of a third way — which perhaps consists of a true civilisatory project for the country — between a strong constructive legacy, linked to rationalising concepts of progress and ordering of the world, very much in vogue especially in the 1950s; and another, no less vigorous, related to the poetics of the precarious, the orgiastic, and the sensory, whose formal and theoretical origins date back to our early Modernism, in the 1920s, recovered by art movements of the 1960s. This means that if, on the one hand, in Protasio’s work, the practice of displacing everyday objects (alongside traditional and noble materials) into the art realm is not equivalent to maintaining their social or cultural meanings, for they are full of intense symbolism and personal connotations; on the other hand, these meanings, in the context of her works, are subject to a formal and grammatical rigour that prevents any excess of subjectivity or mere sensory experimentation.
However, such characteristic moves — or suspends, a word which, as we will see, seems to indicate something dear to the artist — the work of Anna Paola Protasio away from the immediate context of Brazilian art history’s parochial dilemmas, in order to place it within the broader context of western art’s intellectual research, or, rather, the history of the western individual since the Enlightenment, with their harrowing and concomitant need for (philosophic) transcendence and (scientific) control. Based on these strong elements of research and intellectuality — which mark, but do not deplete, Protasio’s work — her output may be understood as a visual and material language, which follows a law (her language’s law) to produce symbolism, metaphors, and allegories that incessantly point to their own limit, in which the individual (and the spectator) feels imprisoned, using the fetters of her own language to forge, or at least point toward, possible states or spaces for transcendence or suspension (of law; of time and space).
Anna Paola Protasio’s work can therefore be located between the crushing imprisonment of the constructive and the precise, and the horror of chaos and dissolution of consciousness — like a utopian point, always to be conquered —, like a possible project of individual, ultimately transcendent and present. Such effort is present, to a greater or lesser extent, in all works of this exhibition, from the installation
“Transe,” in which an aluminium lighthouse casts its beams into infinity while we hear the deep and languorous hymn to Yemanja (goddess and queen of the oceans), to the poetic installation “Horizon,” in which a see-through acrylic boat sails without moving (suspended in time and space, or frozen) towards a horizon forever unreachable, drawn on the wall (transformed, therefore, into an infinite background) by a laser level; to sculptures and paintings (in metal, defining a kind of water — which is the element that serves as leitmotif for the reflections and questions raised by the works of this exhibition — which is hard, that is, what is naturally shapeless acquires shape and rigidity) which are, in their successful attempt to grasp with nobility and stoicism the subtle transition from a state of non-being to a state of being — to a third shore, where human existence finds and invents itself —, pure poetry.
Education Solo exhibitions 2015 2013 2012 2010 2009 2008 2007 Selected group exhibitions 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2002 Awards 2012 2010
– Degree in Architecture and Urbanism – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Flock, United States – Brazil Institute, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Soul, Gaby Indio da Costa Gallery, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– The Fractured Instant, Nohra Haime Gallery, New York, USA
– 14Trawl, Nohra Haime Gallery, New York,USA
– Unsustainable Lightness, MuBE (Brazilian Museum of Sculpture), São Paulo, Brazil
– The Fractured Instant, Cultural Center of the Post Office, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Threads, Wires and Forms, National Museum of Fine Arts, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Ascension, SESC (Social Service of Commerce) Bauru, São Paulo, Brazil
– Ascension, SESC (Social Service of Commerce) São José do Rio Preto, São Paulo
– Ascension, SESC (Social Service of Commerce) São José dos Campos, São Paulo, Brazil
– Ascension and Labyrinth, House France Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Labyrinth, SESC (Social Service of Commerce), Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil
– Couleur Matiere, Galerie Espace_L, Geneve, Suisse
– Objetus, NH Galeria, Cartagena das Indias, Colombia
– Escultura, NH Galeria, Cartagena das Indias, Colombia
– Singular Sum II, Galeria Murilo Castro, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
– Contemporary Art Salon of Foreign Ministry- Itamaraty, Brasilia, Brazil
– The New Brazilian Sculpture, Caixa Cultural, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– 27th Annual Arts Hall Embu das Artes,Brazil
– III Salon of Brazilian Contemporary Art, Caixa Cultural, Sao Paulo, Brazil
– Winner, Contemporary Art Salon – Brazil Institute, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Winner, Contemporary Art Salon of Foreign Ministry- Itamaraty, Brazil
– Winner, Florence- Shanghai Prize Sculpture and Installation, Shanghai, China
– Third Place in Other Languages (installation, video, photography and
performance), 27th Annual Arts Hall Embu das Artes, Brazil
Selected group exhibitions