Daniel Jablonski, "Before the Device", 2016
Daniel Jablonski, “Before the Device”, 2016

How young people see the period of military dictatorship that Brazil went through between the 60's and 80's? This is the clipping of the exhibition State(s) of Emergency, held by the Paço das Artes. The show presents the theme from the perspective of artists who were born at the time of the political opening and redemocratization of the country.

The exhibition is presented at Oficina Cultural Oswald de Andrade, in the neighborhood of Bom Retiro. This is because the institution did not have a definitive headquarters, having been removed from Cidade Universitária/USP in 2016 and operating at the Museum of Image and Sound (MIS-SP) since then. Finally, in September, Paço received the good news that it will have a new place to call its own. Provided by the Government of the State of São Paulo, the institution's home will now be Casarão Nhônhô Magalhães, in Higienópolis. The opening will feature an exhibition by Regina Silveira.

Cinthia Marcelle and Tiago Mata Machado, “Community”, 2011.

State(s) of Emergency, the Paço’s last exhibition before settling in the new headquarters, is curated by Priscila Arantes and Diego Matos, and is based on the intense desire that the curator, who is also an artistic director, had to talk about the subject from this perspective. The clipping took place when thinking about the Paço’s own work, which, according to her, “works on the edges”. The project had already been carried out for two years, when Arantes invited Diego to carry out the joint curatorship, due to affinities in research.

“We work a lot with resistance. Not only in the thematic and political sense of the word, but micropolitical as well. Broadening the word: an art that resists entering the market, that creates criticism in relation to hegemonic thoughts”, says Priscila. Many of the selected artists –  such as Lais Myrrha, Daniel Jablonski, Rafael Pagatini and Romy Pocztaruk – have already worked at the institution for the Project Season, held every year. For Diego, the subject has always fascinated and worried him since his schooling. He had already held an exhibition at the Paço, by Associação Cultural Videobrasil, with a certain similarity to this one. He points out that the exhibition also reflects others, such as the state of violence in Brazil. “The idea of ​​an extremely conflicted state and dictatorship is perhaps the last shadow of that”.

Fernanda Pessoa, Stories that Our Cinema (Não) Contava, 2017. Stills from the trailer

The history of dictatorships around the world, especially in Latin America, had already been covered in other exhibitions throughout the Paço's existence. The best known are perhaps the individual Operation Condor, by the Portuguese João Pina, held in 2014, and migrations, by Argentine Marcelo Brodsky, which took place in 2016.

Diego says that since 2013 he has observed a rise of the military dictatorship in the production of these younger artists. “There is a term that I find quite interesting, which I have already seen, for example, Márcio Seligmann also agrees and Priscila herself. An idea of ​​fearlessness, because they are people who, as they have not lived or do not necessarily have a direct traumatic relationship with the subject, start to look at it in a more accurate way, even as researchers themselves”, comments Matos.

Another still from the trailer for the film by Fernanda Pessoa

For the two curators, there are several factors that lead younger artists to talk about the dictatorship, despite not having lived through its worst phase or having had any direct contact. The most evident would be the institutional crisis of the New Republic, bringing a desire to understand how it got there, and the transparency brought in the last 15 years by the government. The last one, which allowed the creation of the National Truth Commission and access to various documents of the time, offering a lot of material to work with.

The artist Daniel Jablonski, who presents his work at the exhibition In front of the Device,  In 2016, he decided to honor the hiding places of several militants persecuted in the dictatorship with his work. Apartments that served as housing or meeting space were called “appliances” at the time. “Between 2008 and 2011, when I went to live alone, I had the idea of ​​making a kind of inventory of everyone who stopped by my apartment for the first time”, he explains.

People posed for the artist under a sign with the name of the apartment, which he called “apparatus”, for a historical and emotional reason. “In addition to the political issue, he also has a very interesting demographic issue. The 'device' was the first apartment for many people, because most of those people who live in them were in their early 20s. They were not only planning a 'revolution' against the State, but also promoting a change in customs against the model of affection, sexuality and family that existed in the home of relatives”, points out Jablonski.

Detail of the work of Daniel Jablonski

Fernanda Pessoa presents her film in full Stories that our cinema (not) told. PAwarded at several festivals inside and outside Brazil, the feature is a montage of excerpts from nearly 30 popular films. Many, from the pornochanchada genre, from the 70's, demonstrate some relationship with the dictatorial period. She says she learned a lot about how society worked in the long process of researching and editing the film.

The feature also addresses, in a very strong way, other issues of oppression that existed, such as symbolic machismo. Fernanda considers that what shows this more explicitly is an analogy that those films brought between the female body and the economic miracle promised by the military. “I made the film precisely to try to understand a moment that I didn't live. I think the problem today is that we still haven't really studied what the dictatorship was,” she confesses.

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