Daniel de Paula. 'Testimony', 2015. Rock testimonies resulting from geotechnical surveys carried out for public works of urban mobility in the state of São Paulo, arranged in chronological order according to geological periods

Curatorships with generic themes are lazy models, but recurrent in the current art system. It's an easy recipe: you choose an overarching theme, select works from different periods with artists of different generations, national and international, and put it all together with a text full of quotes. “Matrix of Real Time”, which was on display at the USP Museum of Contemporary Art, is a great example of this practice.

Organized by Jacopo Crivelli Visconti, the exhibition not only reveals this type of curatorial exercise at a basic level, but also the entire perversion of incentive law mechanisms and the precariousness of Brazilian public museums.

Starting with the concept: The text that introduces “Matrix of Real Time” is pretentious in stating that it is “conceived in the interaction between diverse reflections and inspirations, ranging from the conceptualisms of the 1960s and their reverberations to the artistic production of the following decades”. Therefore, a long-term research on the subject is expected and, again citing the curatorial text, how time “is present in an almost physical way”.

Between design and execution, it is normal that there are adaptations, but if there is something that the exhibition does not actually deliver, it is a physical presence that translates into some kind of effective time experience. What we see, in this sense, is a series of illustrations of the theme, with a path that trivializes each work to just one layer – time –, reducing all its complexity. This is the case, for example, of On Kawara, seen in just one painting of the “Today” series, carried out daily from January 4, 1966 to January 12, 2013, months before his death.

The work had eight possible sizes, three colors established by the artist, and if it wasn't finished on the same day, it had to be destroyed. The language used also depended on the place where the artist was and began in a time of questioning of traditional supports, and Kawara managed to paint even if conceptually. The simplification of a work with as many possible readings, reducing it to a date is regrettable, just as talking about time without an experience of duration is still contradictory.

But the problems don't stop there. The first work seen in the exhibition, “Certificate of authenticity of Team Spoken”, by Ian Wilson, belongs to and is identified as the “moraes-barbosa collection”, and Visconti is curator of the collection. It was for something similar that one of the most renowned curators in Europe, Beatrix Ruf, resigned as director of the Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam, when it became public that she was mixing private activities with the museum. It's kind of a case of conflict of interests, after all Visconti is giving visibility, therefore value, to a particular work with which he is related.

With this, once again, the USP Museum of Contemporary Art outsources its space to external projects, with problematic contours, as happened with “Os desígnios da arte contemporain no Brasil”, in April last year, when its curator exhibited his own works – giving visibility and value to them – in addition to others identified as the sponsor.

It is understandable that a public museum without sufficient resources for an adequate program seeks partners. However, outsourcing its space, allowing exhibitions to be mounted there without any type of control and still financed by incentive law money – in the case “Matriz do Tempo Real” has R$ 750 thousand of support from Itaú – reveals the incapacity of the museum in exercising its public function.

For a museum with a university character, which in the 1960s and 1970s, under the direction of Walter Zanini, even without money, was the center of experimental production in the city, it is like having lost the sense of its function and surrendering to a pale survival. and bureaucratic.

1 comment

  1. Why doesn't MAC provide exciting courses in art, photography, curatorship, etc, as IMS, MASP, MIS, Pinacoteca do. Palatable prices, population embraces and attends.

Leave a comment

Please write a comment
Please write your name