discussion I (variation), Ilê Sartuzi
"discussion I (variation)", by Ilê Sartuzi. Photo: Julia Thompson / Courtesy of the artist

Àat 18:XNUMX, we enter the space of the auroras, in the neighborhood of Morumbi, in São Paulo. Thought to only take place at night, it is at this time that Ilê Sartuzi's solo show begins. The title, A. And A again., “although it seems very encrypted to most people (due to the weird spelling), it points to a formal relationship that runs through a good part of the exhibition: repetition”, explains the artist, who was one of the winners of the PIPA 2021 Award. “This appears in the very structure of some cyclical works, in the dramaturgical choices and in the reiteration of some recurring elements in the show”, he adds. 

Hanging in front of the entrance is a small red curtain painted in oil on canvas and velvet. Despite being closed and static, it opens our visit. On the upper floor, the works are distributed in spaces that do not seem intended as exhibitions. Small paintings hang in the hallways as if they were part of the decor and two rooms seem to be taken over by the works – as if, to a certain degree, they inhabited the house. “A possible narrative of new residents is created”, points out the curatorial text. According to Sartuzi, this view is recurrent, being reinforced in the reports of several visitors. “This indicates two issues: the first is that the interventions make sense with the architecture; but also, it seems that the auroras is once again seen a little more like home, which is its primary identity”.

This conclusion is not random, or unreasonable, most of the works were aimed directly at this place and in view of the relationships that are established with each room in the house. discussion I, for example, is born from the room itself – in which Ilê Sartuzi slept several times. Involved in reading the dolls house, by Henrik Ibsen, in which the indignation with the bourgeois society and the patriarchal structure are latent, the artist started drawing the dramaturgy, leading to a couple's argument that could take shape daily in that bed. “On the other hand, in my recent work, things always seem to be turning a bit wrong, or they don't get anywhere, they are emptied of a clear and direct meaning. So I wanted it to be a discussion about nothing, for them to be able to argue endlessly, but to orbit around an empty topic,” he says. Thus, the work is configured: two mannequins that, interpreted by Lucienne Guedes and Silvio Restiffe, through videomapping and speakers, argue without getting anywhere.  

“While some works are presented in their own isolated condition, in other cases, the lighting seems to transform an entire environment into a single thing composed of different elements, which occupy that room as a scene”, explains Sartuzi. This is what happens in this room, decorated with paintings depicting mannequins – such as the couple of characters – and in the next room, where various small objects converse in the large space.

Drawn on a small canvas, hung on the wall, a curtain mirrors the work of the lower floor. Its about D curtain, which seems to herald this act of exposition. Illuminated at the center, the work carousel brings a puppet that rotates continuously, but is always hindered by a stumble: a stone positioned in the middle of its path changes the first dynamics of the object, despite always keeping it in the same sequence of movements. In the room is also house hair II. Made with beeswax and hair, it is through these materials that the work is projected as a memento mori. "The memento mori it's this constant reminder that time is ticking and death is lurking." As Sartuzi explains, somehow the hair there gives rise to this idea of ​​a cycle that does not happen, of this death that is enunciated, but does not arrive. 

The work is also a double and finds mirroring in the main exhibition room on the lower floor. On a single support and under directed light, the other house hair is projected as a sculpture on display, or a protagonist positioning herself in the spotlight. The same happens with discussion I (variation), andmirroring the original work. The installation features two automated heads, “which float there, robotic, like ventriloquist dolls, and repeat the same text, but in a completely random order. What I did was take the audio from the room installation and cut it sentence by sentence, then I created a database and the system randomly chooses what to say, how to say it and when each head speaks”, explains the artist.   

Between visual and performing arts

“Far from the Wagnerian defense of the unity of the arts that the opera would provide, but the theater made it possible to learn a lot, from light to text. I think these qualities made me think about each element of an exhibition, such as lighting and the dramaturgical possibilities of expography”, says the artist. So, A. And A again. is permeated by a certain theatricality. “It may be a consequence of a series of forms and themes that were emerging in the work, added to a desire for these objects to project themselves almost as subjects. Ultimately, the notion of theatricality has to do with the relationship that the object establishes with the spectator.”

In most of the works, this relationship is suggested by the use of new technologies, such as videomapping, automation and photogrammetry. However, for the artist, the use of certain technological tools does not come from the pleasure of experimenting with them, but from the need for the works themselves, from the desire to animate them. Ilê Sartuzi points out that this does not make the use of techniques naive. “I think it is important to emphasize that the use of more or less technological tools is never a choice that is empty of meaning and consequences.” 

The issues related to the idealized image of the body – often fragmented or constructed from different parts – and the absence of this figure, constant in Ilê Sartuzi's production until then, are also present in the show. It is possible to perceive them especially in the mannequins - whether the physicists in discussion I, or those painted in works such as TSF-3 portrait - but also in the latex skin and in the accompanying video installation. This work, in particular, brings back to us the main theme of the show around repetition, which, in addition to appearing in the doubles, also seeks to “resonate in works in which it seems that the beginning never begins, or even that the beginning is the middle”. and the end, perhaps in another way: there is a feeling that the beginning or the middle or the end leads nowhere other than the beginning, the middle and the end”.

The work prelude (or curtain call) perhaps synthesizes the idea, by presenting a curtain that, with the help of automation, opens and closes into nothingness. Thus, he creates mirrors with the curtains in drawing and painting, static, that we saw in other rooms of the house. Curtains that open and close the show. “This spectacle never begins or never ends”, concludes Sartuzi.


The E.A again
auroras: Avenida São Valério, 426 – Morumbi, São Paulo (SP)
Visitation: On view until October 2, on Fridays and Saturdays, from 18pm to 21pm, or with advance scheduling in the night period.
Free admission

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