The photo shows the sculpture
Opener "Cristo Mendigo" in the Ratos e Urubus parade, Drop My Fantasy. Photo: Sebastião Marinho (O Globo Agency)

“Xepa from there to here xepei. I am a beggar in my life, I am king of the revelry”, sings the legion that paraded through the Beija-Flor samba school in Nilópolis, some carnivals ago, more specifically at dawn on February 7, 1989. The choir sang the composition of Johnny Thirty call from Mice and Vultures, Drop My Fantasy, which lends its name to the group of works exhibited at Galeria Tarsila do Amaral, in São Paulo Cultural Center (CCSP). More than inspiration or reference, however, the samba plot is presented as one of the works that make up the exhibition. Nothing could be more fair, taking up again that Joãozinho Trinta himself referred to the samba school parade as a “Street Opera” – being an art form that brings together music, plot, a plastic thought of the scenarios: a work of art that encompasses several languages.

Two broadcasts of the parade make up the opening of the exhibition, although the public is greeted by a reinterpretation of Christ the Beggar, the element of one of the floats that made the parade so emblematic. At the time, during the democratic resumption, the opening of the wings of Beija-Flor would be Christ the Redeemer dressed as a beggar, but the Archdiocese of Rio managed to prohibit the action, leading to Joãozinho Trinta covering it with a black bag including the message: “Even forbidden, watch over us”. Second Thais Rivitti, one of the curators of the exhibition together with Carlos Eduardo Riccioppo, the episode “it won a newspaper page, the weekly magazines, created a great aesthetic and political debate and brought up issues that we still find in the contemporary art scene”. She also comments that the image of Christ the Beggar “it has a lot of repercussions, especially with the recent episodes of censorship; it resurfaces and gains a 'new actuality'”.

The reinterpretation of the abre-alas, for the exhibition, was carried out by Raphael Escobar and the collective The Termites of the Arts, whose members are known to the public through the portraits of João Leoci, alongside the sculpture. It is also worth mentioning the three photographic duos brought from the project swing war, by Barbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca, whose video work represented Brazil at the 58th Venice Art Biennale. The images of Wagner and Burca are potentially the ones that dialogue more directly with the aspect of identity and belonging so present in the samba school parades. Especially in Rio de Janeiro, where they – the schools – “are really nations, many people work voluntarily because they are taking the parade to the avenue to be recognized”, as the creator of the exhibition, Alayde Alves, comments. 

In addition to the commissioned works, there was a curatorial work on the project to create the parade, rescuing the memory of the steps for the construction of mice and vultures with the photographic records of Valtemir Miranda and the sketches of the floats designed by Cláudio Urbano. These pieces broaden our perception of the parade passing the feeling of who was doing it and providing a counterpoint to the broadcasts of the Globe e TV Headline.

Finally, an untitled painting by Nuno Ramos and a visual poem by Augusto de Campos question the tenuous duality between “luxury” and “garbage”. Meanwhile, the exhibition ends with two installations – drawing with thirds e Pancake – by the Brazilian performance artist Márcia X with provocations about desire and religious restrictions – very punctual in a time when we more constantly see adults in an almost infantile state of unmedicated enjoyment. 

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