Emmanuel Nassar exhibited in PLACE-COMUM at MAC USP
Emmanuel Nassar, untitled, 2007-2009, painted metal plate. Photo: Disclosure

Common place, exhibition held by USP Contemporary Art Museum (MAC USP), is an exercise in connection and dialogue that is born from a project aimed at the de-hierarchization of works and agents, mixing categories and adding new poetic layers over time. The process unfolded over several months and was organized into three different phases of work. In Act 1, 12 artists from different generations and languages ​​were invited to select and show creations of their own authorship and belonging to the collection for exhibition. In Act 2, these same artists assumed the role of curators and selected works from the collection and by different authorships to be exhibited together with the first set. In Act 3, which can be visited until August 2023 and brings together around 150 works, choices made by this collegiate, plus the museum’s curatorial team and six other invited artists and curators were also incorporated. It is possible to identify, through the subtitles system, the moment of incorporation of a certain work, as well as which artist was responsible for its inclusion, in case the visitor is interested in going deeper into the backstage of the process.

The concrete result was not one, but three successive exhibitions, which were consolidated from the contributions. With each act – as the stages are called by the montage – new additions were brought to light. Iconic pieces gained different configurations and little evident convergences were established, creating a more horizontal and complex model for thinking about the hidden poetic and formal nexus of modern and contemporary production.

There are many unlikely encounters resulting from this process. Among them are the chromatic and formal approach between Lucio Fontana, Alexander Calder and Emmanuel Nassar and the emphasis on the intense relationship between art and the world of work present in Renina Katz's prints and in Laercio Redondo's installation. Interestingly, there are even two works that share the same title, That's how I was taught, adopted by both Flávio Cerqueira and Felipe Cama. Still life and, more broadly, an affective relationship with the world of things and objects, permeates practically the entire exhibition, echoing in the works of Eleonore Koch, Giorgio Morandi, Marcelo Zocchio, Nina Moares, Sidney Amaral, Yozo Yamaguchi, among others. Another highlight of this subjective process of valuing and resignifying the collection – as a place not only for storage and preservation, but also as a source for new investigations – is the panel of drawings by Di Cavalcanti selected by Carmela Gross among the approximately five thousand works on paper. by the modernist artist present in this collection.

Emphasizing the procedural and polyphonic character of Common place, Marta Bogéa, Helouise Costa and Ana Magalhães, who are responsible for curating the museum and for the general coordination of the show, recall how the exhibition, in a way, rescues the legacy of Walter Zanini. Seen as a kind of “myth of origin” of the museum, the management of the critic at the head of the institution is explicitly represented by the rescue – proposed by Rosângela Rennó from the reading of a text by Helouise Costa –, of the exhibition unknown photographers, organized by him in 1972. Public notice, had 263 subscribers. After a series of disagreements between the judges, they chose to eliminate any exclusion criteria and show all the works presented. The current version gathers only the photos that remained in the MAC collection, signed by authors such as Moema Cavalcanti and Paulo Cleto.

The emphasis on freedom and experimentation also ended up moving the institution internally, involving all instances of the museum, triggering and mobilizing sectors such as documentation, education and conservation of the works, which deal with backstage and details that are often not so visible. The latter, for example, ended up approving, after very careful technical analyses, the idea of ​​temporarily removing the frame from iconic canvases such as those by Morandi, Volpi and Matisse, in a simple but transformative movement.

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