View of the exhibition "Compositions for insurgent times" at MAM Rio; in the foreground, balloons by Paulo Paes. Photo: Fabio Souza / MAM Rio

QWhat are the impulses that generate uprisings in times of now, yesterday or tomorrow?”. For Beatriz Lemos, assistant curator of Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro (Mam Rio), “this is one of the questions that highlights strategic and poetic solutions for multiple life-sustaining dynamics”, and perhaps it is a first step towards understanding the title of the new exhibition of the carioca institution. Compositions for Insurgent Times, on view until May 8, 2022, proposes a reflection on life articulation processes, bringing together works by artists who imagine different dynamics of existence from the hegemonic ones and express (or expressed) them in productions that blur the boundaries between nature and culture.

Curated by Beatriz Lemos and the artistic directors by MAM Rio, Keyna Eleison and Pablo Lafuente, the show presents works created by different generations, in different languages ​​and from different geographies and knowledge – considering indigenous, Afro-Brazilian and popular traditions. “These are works by artists who think of art as a way out of life. Her poetics deal with different cosmovisions and promote collective social articulations, with reflections on sustainable structures and care, based on notions of territory”, explains Eleison. To which Lemos completes: “Many of these dynamics are elaborated by perceptions that do not submit to the limiting scope of a single and fixed definition for nature, prioritizing constructions of the world elaborated in different cosmologies”.

Adriana Varejao, Alberta Wittle, Bo Zeng, Brígida Baltar, Brazilian Castiel Vitorino, Dalton Paula, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Frans Krajcberg, Manauara Clandestina, Naomi Rincón Gallardo, Negalê Jones, Regina Vater and Tunga are some of the many names that we find in the selection of more than 100 works – which has six commissioned projects, six reassembly, loans from private collections and works from the MAM Rio collection. For Lemos, this result was only possible because it was the result of a collective conceptualization “which enables a project design based on the interweaving of research and interests”. 

The trio curatorship is an essential point for understanding Compositions for Insurgent Times. “There is a triptych thinking that drives several dynamics of the show. Three is the number of Exu, as well as the Holy Trinity. It is also the number of bars that make up the scores of rhythms that presuppose another one (or others) to be danced, such as the waltz and the polka.“, explains Eleison. For the artistic director, this is how the show is configured as a invitation to the collective imagination of new life dynamics.

Triangular relationships guide the expography, signed by Juliana Godoy, in order to escape binarisms, and the exhibition occupies three spaces in the museum (Salão Monumental, Sala 3.1 and Sala 3.3). Despite not being preconceived, the triptych dynamic was present throughout the process, including in the studies that would give rise to the show, as Eleison tells us. “When developing our research, we talked a lot about the perspectives of activation of life and what aspects of the artists' work development we perceived. Once again, without any kind of previous driving, we were in three guidelines”.

Relations, strategies e cosmologies proved to be axes that,despite not being present as a segmentation in the show, they design the resulting publication of Compositions for Insurgent Times – which will feature the participation of the artists who are part of the exhibition and teachers from different areas of knowledge (such as biologists, mothers of saints, scientists, poets, rabbis and architects). “We developed this practice to guide our dreams and choices, about how we can think of life as a curatorial dynamic and artistic practice”, completes Eleison.


Compositions for Insurgent Times
WHERE: MAM Rio | Av. Infante Dom Henrique, 85 – Aterro do Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro (RJ)
WHEN: On display until May 8, 2022. Thursdays and Fridays, from 13 pm to 18 pm. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, from 10 am to 18 pm
Tickets online. Suggested contribution (R$20 / R$10), with free access option
Mandatory presentation of proof of vaccination against Covid-19

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