Ge Viana,
Gê Viana, "Mast lifting. Festa do Divino Espírito Santo", from the series "Traumatic Updates by Debret" (2020). Photo: Gê Viana


after a season in Paranaense Museum (MUPA), between June and August, in Curitiba, the exhibition necrobrasiliana arrives this Thursday (15/9) in Recife (PE), at the Vicente do Rego Monteiro Gallery, of the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation. Curated by Moacir dos Anjos, a researcher at Funaj and curator of the 29th Bienal de São Paulo (2010), the show features 26 works by 12 contemporary artists that revisit Brazil's colonial memory.

In the cast of guest artists are Ana Lira, Dalton Paula, Denilson Baniwa, Gê Viana, Jaime Lauriano, rosana paulino, Rosângela Rennó, Sidney Amaral, Thiago Martins de Melo, Tiago Sant'Anna, Yhuri Cruz and Zózimo Bulbul. According to Moacir dos Anjos, the exhibition is an offshoot of the research he has been developing since 2008 on the relationship between art and politics, particularly in contemporary Brazil.

Also according to the curator, these investigations resulted in some exhibition projects, which allowed him to “get closer to the production of various artists who deal with the violence that formed and still constitutes” Brazil. “I began to notice the recurrence of works by artists, mainly Afro-descendants and indigenous, but not only, who were making, in their works, critical clashes with these images that supposedly portrayed Brazil between the 16th and 19th centuries. to research this production more actively”, he explains.

Moacir dos Anjos also says that the show was conceived in 2019, by Fundaj. The following year, the Foundation and MUPA entered into a technical and cultural cooperation agreement, the first fruit of which was the exhibition Education by Stone, held in 2021, at the museum of Paraná. Because of the institutions' agendas, both decided that necrobrasiliana would first be shown in Curitiba and then in Recife. The montage that now arrives in the capital of Pernambuco is exactly the same.

With the years of the pandemic and the worsening of the political crisis that Brazil is going through, the exhibition has become even more relevant, according to the curator. “The issues she poses, and racism in particular, have become more pressing. The coincidence with the commemorations of 200 years of Independence also gave it greater relevance, as many of the works refer, in a critical way, to images made at that time, which even today inform the memory we have of Brazil from the times of colony and empire”, evaluates.

The title, says the curator, is an allusion to the concept of necropolitics – policies of death, for the control of populations –, created by the Cameroonian philosopher, political theorist, historian and university professor Achille Mbembe. And it also refers to Brazilian, name given to the production of European travelers to the country, during the colonial period, by artists, writers, cartographers and scientists, such as Albert Eckout, Frans Post, Jean-Baptiste Debret, Johan Moritz Rugendas and Nicolas-Antoine Taunay.

“It is also the title of a work by Thiago Martins de Melo, which I met at an exhibition by the artist in São Paulo, at the beginning of 2019. Two paintings from this exhibition are present in necrobrasiliana, but not the one with the same title”, he says.

Moacir dos Anjos argues that the works on display reveal two main ongoing artistic strategies that focus on the reassessment of colonial representation in Brazil. On the one hand, he says, there are works that focus on exposing the damages imposed on racialized populations throughout the country's history, such as the creations of Thiago Martins de Melo, Jaime Lauriano or Rosana Paulino. Others point to a “healing and redesign dimension” of what Brazil could be in the future, namely the work of Gê Viana, Ana Lira and Yhuri Cruz and Dalton Paula.

“In some, these two operations get mixed up a bit. As stated in the title of the essay published in the catalogue, these are artistic strategies that want to 'defend the dead and encourage the living', he ponders. “That is, to defend the dead from their pain, but also, at the same time, to encourage the living to assert, in the present time, the frustrated or suffocated desires of so many in the past. Insisting on this relationship of 'intimacy' between the experience of those who are now living with the lives of those who have long since died seems to me, in fact, fundamental.”

Until January 29, 2023
Vicente do Rego Monteiro Gallery, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation: R. Henrique Dias, 609 – Recife (PE)
Visitation from Tuesday to Friday, from 14 pm to 19 pm; Saturday, Sunday and holidays, from 13 pm to 17 pm

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