With exhibitions scheduled in the European cities of Hamburg and Antwerp, respectively in February and April, Brazilian artist Matheus Rocha Pitta exhibits works at auroras, an art space in São Paulo. Until October 12, the artist's works are on display alongside works by Débora Bolsoni and GT Pellizzi.
Matheus now spends only a third of the year in Brazil. In auroras, he stayed just over two weeks, in a kind of artistic residency, producing the triptych of the series Curfew and the sculpture Captive Chair. The use of space as a residence has become customary. This year, the same artists did the same. Melvin Edwards e Tom Burr.
The three pieces of the show that make up the series Curfew they had already been thought of by Matheus for some time, and these were the first to be shown. They are made up of square cement plates, newspaper clippings that the artist has been collecting for a few years and bear the inscriptions “say something”, “hear something” and “see something”. The series “seeks to investigate issues around freedom of expression, opinion and social networks”, says Matheus.
The artist comments on his work related to gestures and says that the idea of “curfew” became a gesture for him: “I started researching and saw that the origin of the curfew is something that comes from the Middle Ages… the ringing of a bell that asked people to put out the fire before going to sleep, so that the fire would not cause any kind of accident”. It was then that he realized that the expression comes with a connotation of “care”, and not a repressive connotation, as it is often associated with. “I started to look at this gesture much more in a sense of care with the language than exactly a repression”.
During this process, Matheus remembered the “Three Wise Monkeys”, an image of Japanese culture in which monkeys do not see, speak and hear. “We also associate these little monkeys with something cynical. I pretend I don't see, I don't speak or I don't hear. And then I found out that there is an ethical issue, of being careful with language,” he says. “So if you see evil, you don't talk about evil. So you don't propagate it”, he adds. There is an idea in this that language itself carries violence, so the apes would be “trying to cut a chain of violence that can enter into language”.
For captive chair, he thought it important that the structures were all assembled from metal. “I wish there was this metal thing that works like a skeleton. I thought it was important that these elements were, in a sense, meatless.” He explains that there is a body that is not occupying that space, which he refers to as a “ghost of authoritarianism”. At the same time, he demonstrates, this ghost would be on the point of being deposed, since with the absence of the cell phones that make up the installation, the chair would overturn, overturning the body that was in it. Thus, cell phones would be what gives the spotlight to authoritarianism.
At the exhibition in the German city, Matheus should show more works from the series Curfew. The individual will take place at the Kunstverein, an institution that celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2017. In Antwerp, Belgium, the exhibition will take place in a non-profit space called CASST L. For the latter, the artist is still not sure if he will continue to show works from the new series. In addition, he will also produce a sculpture for Usina de Arte, an institution located in the municipality of Água Preta, in Pernambuco: “It is a work that will deal with a very strong Northeastern popular culture heritage”, he says, confessing a lot of joy in carry it out even though it is still in the research phase.
Débora Bolsoni, GT Pellizzi and Matheus Rocha Pitta
auroras: ave. São Valerio, 426 – Morumbi, São Paulo
until october 12th