Alexandre da Cunha
Alexandre da Cunha, "Coverman", 2001 / 2013. Performance. Photo: Disclosure

Faced with a collapsing world, some artistic productions seek to “turn over our certainties, deal with what is urgent and put us in front of new perspectives”, explains Solange Farkas, founder and director of Associação Cultural Videobrasil (VB). It is in dialoguing with this idea that one builds TURNOVER, on display until September 10 in Vitória, Espírito Santo. Bringing together audiovisual productions that are part of the VB collection and that echo the moment we live in, the project takes place simultaneously in two spaces in the capital of Espírito Santo: while the Museum of Art of Espírito Santo (MAES) receives Turnaround – Art and geopolitics; to Homero Massena Gallery presents Turnaround – Body and performance.

The invitation to hold the show came in 2019, made by the government of Espírito Santo. The proposal was for a tour of the 21st Bienal Sesc_Videobrasil. However, due to the pandemic, the project was stopped. In those two years, other upheavals took place in the world: political clashes took on another body and the health crisis intensified a series of already latent collapses with regard to social, gender, ethnicity and race inequalities - especially when we are dealing with countries in the South. Global, those on the fringes of central capitalism and the great axes of economic and geopolitical power. 

“When we finally resumed, the political climate in the country had deteriorated to such an extent that we felt the need to show a panorama of production in the South more focused on the political vocation that has always crossed it, and more and more”, explains Farkas in an interview with arte!brasileiros. Thus, they changed the configuration of TURNOVER: “Instead of just the 21st Bienal or the works awarded at the event, we decided to use the Videobrasil Collection as a basis for curatorship, seeking in it diverse and powerful manifestations of the desire of artists from the South to create changes in the way of making art and think the world”.

But how does this turn take place in the way we understand art and life? “Coming from countries that have a colonial past in common – that is, a founding experience of intellectual, political and cultural submission – the artists of the South offer a necessarily different perspective, let's say, if we think about the official narratives that continue to overlap with dissent. and antagonisms”, explains Farkas. Two works exhibited at MAES show how this concept takes shape. In About Cameras, Spirits and Occupations: a Montage-Essay Triptych, the Alto Amazonas Audiovisual group articulates indigenous and non-indigenous perspectives to review the ethnographer's traditional position of power over the Other; already the performance L'Arbre D'Oublier, by Paulo Nazareth, resumes the ritual of 'erasing memory' to which enslaved African men were subjected before leaving for America, to which the artist turns the Tree of Oblivion 437 times – “it is an almost graphic image of inversion of perspective ”, shares Farkas.  

Today, the exhibitions at MAES and Galeria Homero Massena present a wide range of works in possible dialogues with the current moment, as well as support materials, such as testimonials from artists and the Videobrasil on TV series, which delves into a variety of content in order to to complement the exhibition experience. Thus, the works from the Videobrasil Collection are exhibited for the first time in a significant group in the capital of Espírito Santo. The project meets the institution's historical desire to access territories outside the great axes of power, not only in the world (the Global South), but also in the country itself (beyond the Rio-São Paulo axis). “The dialogue proposed with Videobrasil in Vitória encourages an exchange necessary to strengthen networks, artists and their productions beyond the borders of territories”, says Nicolas Soares, director of MAES, in the project's release.

action fronts

The invitation made by the Government of Espírito Santo to Videobrasil extended to two exhibition spaces in the capital of Espírito Santo. “We then carried out the exercise of imagining two different sections of the Collection that suited the characteristics of each of them – and, at the same time, were complementary, in the sense of offering the public in Vitória a significant overview of what the collection is and important aspects of the production of the geopolitical South”, says Solange Farkas, who is also the curator of TURNOVER

While MAES presents a more open exhibition space and a continuous curatorial proposal linked to contemporary languages, allowing the exhibition of works with a great spatial presence and representative of recent production in video and installation, Galeria Homero Massena has a more intimate characteristic – “it is a more concentrated space for enjoyment”, explains Farkas – and became more conducive to a retrospective panorama of a specific language: performance, “very present in the collection because of the importance that Videobrasil has given to it since the initial editions, in the 1980s”, explains the director of VB. 

Thus, Art and geopolitics in the Videobrasil Collection, at MAES, part of the cartography drawn by two recent editions of the Bienal de Arte Contemporânea Sesc_Videobrasil (2017 and 2019). The exhibition features works by Brazilians Aline X (Minas Gerais), Alto Amazonas Audiovisual (Amazonas and Ceará), Ana Vaz (Federal District), Gustavo Jardim (Minas Gerais), Luciana Magno (Pará) and Paulo Nazareth (Minas Gerais); and foreigners Bakary Diallo (Mali), Daniel Monroy Cuevas (Mexico), Enrique Ramírez (Chile), Seydou Cissé (Mali) and Tiécoura N'Daou (Mali), in addition to the indigenous collective formed by Ana Carvalho, Ariel Kuaray Ortega, Fernando Ancil and Patrícia Para Yxapy (Brazil and Argentina).

Artistic practices emerge in the exhibition that blur the boundaries between art and science and are built in the interdisciplinary field, in order to expand conceptions of the world, as well as a reinforcement of community practices as possibilities to rebuild the world from collectivities linked to identity. and affection. “The need to make non-hegemonic stories reverberate in all their potency gives video a narrative breath that was once a privilege of cinema. At the same time, and almost to the same extent, the artists mobilize the power of the image to create spaces and metaphors”, writes Farkas in a text about the show.

In parallel, 200 performance records make up body and performance, in the Homero Massena Gallery. The selection is the result of an immersion in the records of performances produced by Videobrasil over its 40 years – including happenings, musical interventions, video performances, among others. “In the countries of the Global South, amid state violence and colonial heritage, artists shape body and image in a production that is a sign of life against the politics of death. In the main program of this exhibition, they maneuver the performance repertoire in different ways to bring to their own bodies the confrontation of urgent themes, such as structural racism, state terrorism and gender violence”, highlights Farkas. 

The list of artists and collectives participating in the show, coming from different corners of the globe, is vast. Among the internationals are: Aya Eliav and Ofir Feldman (Israel), Coco Fusco (Cuba / United States), Marcello Mercado (Argentina), Melati Suryodarmo (Indonesia), Michael Smith (United States), Steina Vasulka (Iceland) and Stephen Vitiello (United States). Among the Brazilians: Alexandre da Cunha (Rio de Janeiro), Ayrson Heráclito (Bahia), Chelpa Ferro (Rio de Janeiro), Eder Santos (Minas Gerais), Felipe Bittencourt (São Paulo), Frente 3 de Fevereiro (São Paulo) , Lenora de Barros and Walter Silveira (São Paulo), Luiz de Abreu (Minas Gerais), Marco Paulo Rolla (Minas Gerais), Otávio Donasci (São Paulo), Paula Garcia (São Paulo) and Waly Salomão and Carlos Nader (São Paulo) ). 

“There is also a special program in the exhibition dedicated to artists from Espírito Santo with performance works: Charlene Bicalho, Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro, Geovanni Lima, Fredone Fone, Marcus Vinícius, Natalie Mirêdia and Rubiane Maia. A significant part of these works on display will become part of the Videobrasil Collection, which, in addition to safeguarding them, is committed to giving greater visibility and circulation to the works and artists”, adds the curator. 

Despite not yet having plans to carry out similar projects in other states in the country — especially given the current focus of VB on the next Sesc Videobrasil Biennial, which will take place in 2023 in São Paulo and celebrate 40 years of activities of the association — Farkas does not rule out the possibility. “The collection offers us almost unlimited curatorial possibilities, for the creation of programs and exhibitions that, yes, can and should travel, feeding new circuits and letting the artistic production of the global South feed new generations of artists. We are open."


Art and geopolitics in the Videobrasil Collection
June 10th to September 10th
MAES: Av. Jerônimo Monteiro, 631 – Vitória (ES)
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday, from 10 am to 18 pm; Saturday, from 10 am to 16 pm

Body and performance in the Videobrasil Collection
June 10th to September 10th
Homero Massena Gallery: Rua Pedro Palácios, 99 – Vitória (ES)
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 18 pm; Saturday, from 13 pm to 17 pm 

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