Detail of the work "A Gente Combinamos De Não Morrer", by Jota Mombasa, 2019

The title of our editorial is borrowed from the name of the work by Jota Mombasa, whose details are published on the cover of this issue. The work was carried out in collaboration with Musa Michelle Mattiuzzi, Cíntia Guedes, Ana Giza, Adrielle Rezende, Juão Nin and Paulet Lindacelva, and forms part of a sequence of performances at Casa do Povo in São Paulo, inspired by the eponymous short story by Conceição Evaristo. The action consisted, among other things, of manufacturing knives with string, branches and glass today on display at SESC 24 de Maio at the exhibition Northeast, commented on in this issue by journalist Jamyle Rkain and criticized by historian and curator Aracy Amaral.

The presence or allusion to violence is notorious in several of the interviews or exhibitions that we have been following in recent times. In the works, the imminence of danger is latent, the feeling of helplessness, the need to find answers and resist, to find ways of healing for the subject and the environment.  We are going through a moment of enormous violence. The violence of a society that attacks the non-equal; of citizens and politicians who advocate putting weapons at the disposal of a population whose difficulties and intolerance only increase. The violence of having to beg for education, work, health and watching the increasingly precarious quality of life. The violence of post-truth and post-lie.

The violence of doing nothing to prevent violence. The artist from Pará Berna Reale, in her video American, 2013 and the artist Cinthia Marcelle, in hunting ground, 2017 presented at the Brazilian Pavilion at the Venice Biennials of 2015 and 2017, respectively, works denouncing the conditions of indigence and prison overpopulation in the country. They anticipated, with their images, several rebellions and the carnage that imploded these days in the prisons of Manaus, leaving dozens of dead. Almost in an allegory to the book Chronicle of a foretold death by the Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Art usually fulfills its role, a kind of mirror and permanent alert about everything that surrounds us. Cildo Meireles, one of the greatest contemporary Brazilian artists, once said: “You don't do political work in art. He becomes political.”

cover of ARTE!Brasileiros 47

In contrast to the institutionalization of barbarism, a kind of ode to death that makes the day dark, we adhere to life and art, and use it as a symbol of potency and force with which the life and death drive appears in it..." It is a life-death. Whenever an artist proclaims the death of art, a new leap is taken, and art gathers strength for a new stage.” Frederico de Morais said in Against affluent art. The body is the engine of the worka, 1970.

In May, the Instituto Tomie Ohtake, through its Culture and Participation nucleus in partnership with the philosopher, essayist and translator Peter Pál Pelbart, invited one of the most active thinkers of our time, the French philosopher and professor at the Sorbonne (Paris I) David Lapoujade. For almost two hours he spoke about a text entitled “The Force of Art” presenting ideas by Nietzsche and Deleuze that reflect on how much art provides us with a “promise”, “a belief in this world here”, not a belief theological, since we should not believe in anything when we are with the work and, at the end, he said:

“In other words, the strength of art – when it has it – is to be able to justify itself (and to justify ourselves) better than any other form of reality, to be able to acquire, exclusively by its strength, a reason to exist and to make us exist. If I had to sum up in one word (to conclude) what the strength of art consists of, I would say, therefore, that this word is: justice.”

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