Chow to talk about a created art in lands of virgin soil, at a time when the dust was still on the settlers' feet? How to define the eccentricity of the newly arrived royalty and their astonished look at the slave black and the appeased Indian? From Terra Brasilis to Global Village, exhibition that occupies the Unifor Cultural Space, in Fortaleza, until March 2019, tells how we were introduced to art, going through almost all the schools and artistic movements that gave body to what we can call Brazilian art today. Curator Denise Mattar had no difficulty in tracing this path, with 280 works in front of the rich and abundant collection of the Edson Queiroz Foundation, all to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Faculty of Fortaleza, Unifor.
Transgressing the script, a sort of timeline, I begin the text with the room of geometric abstractionism and highlight the work of the artist from Ceará Eduardo Frota, a rigorous circle of thin steel blade painted in red, which balances itself vertically and elegantly over the ground, without support, signaling the movement that gave north, strength and transcendence to Brazilian art. He shares space with Léon Ferrari Samson Flexor, Judith Laund, Sérgio Camargo and Mira Schendel, among others.
I return to the zero point of the show, proposed by Denise, for the copy of Americae Tertia Pars, by the Belgian bookseller Theodore de Bry, published in Europe in 1592, based on travel reports made by Europeans in Brazil. The book has the map of Brazil, dated 1592, which was plotted oversized for the exhibition and pasted on the wall. The copy, transformed into touch, can be virtually browsed by visitors. Denise chose 280 works, within a universe of more than a thousand, which are part of the Edson Queiroz Foundation's collection, including paintings, engravings, drawings, sculptures, in addition to several historical - geographical books, three of them written by Maurício de Nassau, especially for a map of old Recife, dated 1632.
The exhibition touches on the center/periphery question, a concept that has always permeated the art system. In past decades this happened with the imposition of artistic and aesthetic rules that came from Europe. The national salons that awarded Brazilian artists repeated the canons and it was common for artists to be awarded the prize for traveling to Europe. Internally, the situation was no different in relation to the Rio São Paulo axis, to the detriment of artists from other Brazilian states. The curator emphasizes that with this “some significant artists, because they live outside this region, did not get to integrate the so-called art circuit”.
Collecting is like a narrative, it also has the role of leaving everything unresolved and can invoke an aesthetic renewal. Structured chronologically, with a didactic route, the exhibition displays curiosities such as the photo of Maurício de Nassau, considered the most important ever taken by the governor of Dutch Brazil. Added to this, there are also books, of equal importance, that have been incorporated.
There is a lot to see and to be surprised with almost three hundred works. By bringing together the various art trends, the Queiroz Foundation shows its concern with open museology and signals its break with the formal commitment of the private collector, closed in on itself. The constitution of an art collection in Brazil indicates important transformations in the Brazilian art circuit, resulting from the dialogue between entrepreneurs, gallery owners, collectors, critics, artists, curators. The nine modules into which the show is divided try to redraw, in a panoramic flight, the movements of Brazilian art and its stridencies. The collection, in any of its latitudes, has specific works and, among the academics, Eliseu Visconti, Raimundo Cela and Almeida Júnior stand out, among others. From the first modernism, there is Anita Malfatti, Tarsila do Amaral, Ismael Nery and many others.
Gradually, collectors tend to fine-tune their knowledge of art history in practice and the look is calibrated. The Edson Queiroz collection does not have a curator to indicate the purchases of works. Everything has always been done by the Queiroz couple and now by their children. Therefore, attention is drawn to the quality of abstract-informal works such as Vieira da Silva, Antonio Bandeira, Iberê Camargo and Frans Krajcberg, as well as concrete and neo-concrete works, Ivan Serpa, Lygia Pape, Abraham Palatnik, Franz Weissmann, Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark.
It is often said that the work of art is the best translation of the spirit of its time. The years 1960-1970, period of the dictatorship, are represented by Antonio Dias, Wesley Duque Lee, Sérvulo Esmeraldo, Lygia Pape, Cildo Meireles and Waltércio Caldas, among others. The persistence of these artistic relationships reaches the contemporary world and concepts of all kinds are mixed in works by artists as different as their origins such as Adriana Varejão, Henrique Oliveira, Vick Muniz, José Tarcísio, Efrain Almeida, Luiz Hermano, Cildo Meirelles, Leonilson and so many others.
It is difficult to gauge how much a collection of this nature can reinvent the local artist and spectator. But, certainly, the presence of the Edson Queiroz Foundation collection in Fortaleza has contributed, in an applied way, to the understanding of the history of Brazilian art.
UNIFOR, 45 YEARS OF TEACHING AND CULTURE
The Vice Chancellor of the University from Ceará Randal Pompeu speaks to ARTE!Brasileiros. Ceará over the years has contributed to the Brazilian art system, with artists such as Antonio Bandeira, Sérvulo Esmeraldo, Leonilson, Aldemir Martins, Luiz Hermano, Eduardo Frota, among others, holding art events such as the International Biennial of the Americas (2002). ), curated by the Belgian Jan Hoet (Documenta de Kassel); International Biennial of Ephemeral Sculptures, at Parque Cocó (1991), curated by Sérvulo Esmeraldo and many other important exhibitions. It also created the Dragão do Mar Center for Art and Culture, museums and cultural institutions. Naturally, large collections and collectors emerged. At this moment in which the University of Fortaleza turns 45, what is the importance of the Edson Queiroz Foundation's collection for the University?
The Edson Queiroz Foundation has been active in the artistic field since the year the University of Fortaleza was created, in 1973, with the first edition of the Unifor Plástica show. This work consists of carrying out projects related to theater, music, dance, literature and, above all, visual arts, through exhibitions at the Unifor Cultural Space and in Brazilian and foreign museums. Since 2004, Espaço Cultural has held more than 50 exhibitions by great international artists, such as Rembrandt, Rubens and Miró, and Brazilians, such as Portinari, Bandeira and Oiticica, always with free access. Therefore, the Edson Queiroz Foundation's relevance goes far beyond the excellence of its collection and the exhibitions it presents, as it also opens space for other languages, including the mission of forming an audience, insofar as its priority audience is children, adolescents and university community.
What kind of seal does the University give to this remarkable collection of Brazilian art, considered one of the most important in the country?
The Edson Queiroz Foundation is the sponsoring institution of the University of Fortaleza.
What is the relevance of the exhibition Da Terra Brasilis à Aldeia Global within the university? To what extent does an exhibition of this nature motivate students, teachers and generate academic works?
The importance of exposure From Terra Brasilis to Global Village for Unifor is to offer the academic community and the general public the possibility of learning about the history of Brazil through works of art from the Edson Queiroz Foundation Collection, which results in a complete training, working with knowledge, values and visions world that only art provides. Teachers from all centers are able to relate the content seen in the classroom to the appreciation of the exhibition, through active and creative methods.
What do you highlight as exceptional in the collection and why? Will this exhibition travel to other capitals?
The relevance of the Edson Queiroz Foundation Collection lies in covering the main artists and avant-gardes of Brazilian art, from travelers from the 1592th century to contemporaries, with a special focus on modern art. These include rare books dating back to XNUMX, belonging to our Special Collections Library. It is a wide collection, from which it is possible to create the most diverse clippings, as can be seen in the exhibition currently on display at the Unifor Cultural Space.