Aerial view of
Aerial view of "Um Campo da fome", by Matheus Rocha Pitta.

Prephrasing the Italian writer Ítalo Calvino, I go back to my steps at the Usina de Arte, in Pernambuco. The imaginary return is the experience of seeing later, of seeing something else, of still living.

The continuous mutations of this open-air cultural space, operating in the heart of Zona da Mata, reinforces the idea of ​​transforming rural territories into artistic centers, multiple, alive and aggregating forgotten communities. With the inauguration of the works Landscape, by Regina Silveira and A Field of Hunger, by Matheus Rocha Pitta, the discussions about violence and hunger are materialized in two political projects that increase the plant's art collection. Both mirror the concern of these two artists, from different generations and trends, with the country's social situation.

"Landscape", by Regina Silveira, work commissioned for the Bienal. Photo: © Levi Fanan / Fundação Bienal de São Paulo
“Landscape”, by Regina Silveira, work commissioned for the Bienal. Photo: © Levi Fanan / Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

Regina's transparent labyrinth it was assembled at the 34th Bienal de São Paulo and acquired by businessman Ricardo Pessoa de Queiróz, according to the artist, after an intermediation by the São Paulo gallerists Luciana Brito and Marga Pasquali. The transparent walls, graphically “pierced” by shots, display an enigmatic scene. Targets point to the blind spot in the question of who shoots and what is targeted. The artist approaches geometric shapes that give essence to this provocative work, wrapped in a curious tension. withAs Walter Benjamin says, the conventional is enjoyed without criticism and the different is subject to it. Landscape it can symbolize the confrontations experienced in the state of Pernambuco, notable for its historical struggles against the Portuguese, French, Dutch or during slavery in the sugar cane fields. From whichever angle you look at this labyrinth, the translucent walls set the surrounding topography as a backdrop. Thus, the installation involves and is enveloped by the surroundings. The visitor can experience a walk through the 2,50 square meters, whose XNUMX m high walls display, at a little more than one meter, printed images of shots.

view from above, Landscape it becomes a fully traced map, a microcosm made up of perfect fragments. The collective or individual spatial experience is essential to constitute a labyrinth. Conceptually, Regina's works are recurrent. Landscape reinforces the series of graphic labyrinths, made in the 1970s, around the same axis, with graphic marks of shots. also the series Crash it is in the thread of this thought in which porcelain dishes are broken.

"Landscape", Regina Silveira
Aerial view of “Landscape”, Regina Silveira.

The artist performs the installation with fluid formal freedom and spatial situation. In contemporary society everything happens fast and simultaneously making only what stands out to be perceived. Sensation is what triggers the perception of her usual rhythm and Regina applies this very well, whether in her intimate works or in her oversized public works. The artist's translucent, formally clean and angular labyrinth dialogues in counterpoint to the organic and open labyrinth, Tropical Hermitage by Márcio Almeida built with bricks and slowly mimicked by the landscape. the installation tangential to “radicant” morphology, which refers to plants that produce roots in the process of displacement. The idea fits into the concept of landscape designer Gilles Clément, who proposes to create “moving gardens”, using exactly this mobile, or deterritorializing, feature of the weeds and climbing plants.

With other grammars, but equally political, Matheus Rocha Pitta inaugurates today his greatest work, hunger field, an immense intervention in the landscape. The installation encompasses the repertoire of visual manifestations that involve ecology, focusing on the destruction of the environment and hunger. THE The artist occupies an area of ​​700 square meters with a vegetable garden focused on typical vegetables from the Northeast such as cashew, pinecone, pineapple, corn, manioc made with clay. The installation still adds tiles and pieces of concrete that he calls ordinary materials. As the artist explains, “due to its recent implementation, the work can give the impression of incompleteness and instability because of the terrain that is not yet sedimented”. His transgressive art is colored by the ocher color of the earth and by the speech of hunger. The installation is divided into strictly equal spaces with serialist repetition and which is supported by the manifesto The aesthetics of hunger, by Glauber Rocha, the Cinema Novo booklet, in which the director defends an emancipatory language based on the lack of food and warns. “As long as he does not raise his arms, the colonized is a slave”. Rocha Pitta also brings to the discussion the description of a hunger camp located east of the Acropolis, in Ancient Greece. According to legend, no one could enter that land where hunger was trapped, so that it would not reach other territories. “My idea was to develop a work as a containment of hunger, an almost sacred place, to let the lack of food remain there frozen”. The garden consists of 30 beds where vegetables, fruits or roots from the region are arranged. “In all, the installation brings together around nine thousand pieces produced by Domingos, an artisan from Tracunhaém, a city known for its ceramic work”. Covered by the intense color of the clay, the food is better perceived from a visual approach.

The transformations of Usina de Arte accompany the socio-artistic environmental awareness and are piloted by its owners and main actors, the architect Bruna and the businessman Ricardo Pessoa de Queiroz, great-grandson of the founder of Usina Santa Terezinha who was hislittle brother of President Epitácio Pessoa, who ruled Brazil from 1919 to 1922. A The mill was the largest producer of alcohol and sugar in Brazil in the 1950s. Ricardo is responsible for transforming this deactivated heritage. He believes that the project only makes sense if it drives the transformation of the neighboring community, made up in part of former employees of the plant. “This is one of the objectives with which we work in the diffusion of art”. 

Collecting can also be the result of the need to be close to the things that give us pleasure. Every collector is an intermediary who becomes an author in the process of searching, storing, classifying and caring for the artistic object. Bruna and Ricardo have been working in this direction since the beginning of Usina de Arte when they chose to create an open-air collection. She emphasizes that they do not intend to create pavilions, as in Inhotim, and Ricardo reinforces the idea that works of art can be in direct dialogue with nature.

Chiaroscuro (Claro-dark): metal, acrylic and LED lamps on the comment of the thinker Antonio Gramsci. Photo: Sesc Pompeia.
Chiaroscuro (Claro-dark): metal, acrylic and LED lamps on the comment of the thinker Antonio Gramsci. Photo: Sesc Pompeia.

The art collection has more than 40 works that were initially curated by the artist José Rufino from Paraíba, with the participation of Ricardo and Bruna. Three months ago, French critic Marc Pottier took over and one of his proposals was to put neon chiaroscuro (Bright dark) by the Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar on the facade of the deteriorated building where the plant used to work. The 18-meter work consists of the phrase The old world dies, a new world takes a long time to be born and, in that chiaroscuro, the monsters burst. philosopher Antonio Gramsci written in the 1930s, at the height of fascism in Italy and which dialogues with the tumultuous moment that Brazil is experiencing. The curator also mentions another project to be implemented, the benches for rest created by Claudia Jaguaribe that will be spread throughout the space.

The art collection brings together artists such as Carlos Vergara, Iole de Freitas, Frida Baranek, Artur Lescher, Júlio Villani, Georgia Kyriakakis, Saint Clair Cemin, José Spaniol, Juliana Notari, Denise Milan, José Rufino, Marcio Almeida, Flávio Cerqueira, Bené Fonteles, Hugo França, Paulo Bruscky, Marcelo Silveira, Liliane Dardot and Vanderley Lopes. With the exception of Rufino's work, installed inside the old hangar, the others are scattered around the immense garden that surrounds the three artificial lakes, designed by landscape artist Eduardo Gomes Gonçalves. In the midst of reforestation with around 10 plants of approximately 600 species, the Botanical Garden planted on 33 hectares is a driving force for other actions to generate development and income for the community of XNUMX people who live close to the project.

One of the highlights of the cultural complex is the Arte na Usina Festival, created in 2015, which brings together artists and intellectuals around concerts, residencies, literary and art workshops, open to the residents of the community. Also relevant is the music school, equipped with various instruments, offering daily classes to residents. “We got a partnership with the Pernambucano Music Conservatory, our students go to Recife and the teachers come to Usina alternately”, rraises Bruna. still attracts attentionclimate-controlled library with more than five thousand cataloged copies, in addition to a FabLab with computer terminals connected to the internet, 3D printers and a laser cutter for community projects, in addition to a partnership with school units. Since its creation, Usina de Arte transcends artistic experiences and tries to exercise otherness in the socio/cultural transformation of the community.

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