Nheë Nheë Nheë
Nhee 2, Watercolor paintings of stone images

I'm out of time! We can't waste time! Forget those expressions before entering the exhibition Nheë Nheë Nheë, genealogy of Ótropical heat by Márcio Almeida, at Sesc Santo Amaro, in Recife. Try to sink into idleness, relax and think that life is an existential adventure.

If you feel like sitting or lying in the exhibition space, after all this can be your moment of discovery, enjoyment, pleasure of meeting with yourself. To be in idleness is to be in peace, redesigning life and mediating the place of creative transgression. Experimental loafing is nourished by not doing anything creative. In short, this is what this subtle show conveys, with a striking formal cleanliness, and which reflects on labor relations, from the period of colonial Brazil to the present day. The concept brings other contours and reaffirms the thought of Antonio Negri, an Italian Marxist philosopher when he defines:  “Work is production capacity, social activity, dignity, but on the other hand it is slavery, command, alienation”.

The exhibition is aligned with three previous works and the most recent, Nheë Nheë Nheë, is the result of Márcio Almeida's residence at Usina de Arte Santa Terezinha, in Zona da Mata, south of Pernambuco. For a few days he experienced moments of action and rest. He produced within a spare time, which nowadays is in danger of being eliminated by the government. Not working formally is seen by the system as vagrancy, laziness, idleness. Hanna Arendt, in The Human Condition, reminds us that all the European words for work also mean pain and effort – in Latin and English labor, in greek pride, in French job, in German Job.

What stands out in this work is the way it combines elements that emerge in the exhibition space, from the title of the show born in the origins of our indigenous language. Ñheé, according to anthropologist Adolfo Colombres, means speech. Therefore, Nheë, nheë, nheë, may be a free translation of chatter. It also refers to a form of control exercised by religious in an attempt to unify tribal languages ​​to facilitate forced catechesis.

In the introductory text, curator Beano de Borba comments on Márcio Almeida's work as a traditional idleness and a wild rite, sustained by an insurgency of free time. The artist's intention is “to make a parallel between the question of western work and tropical leisure”. In this context, it is based on the interference of religions and the strategies of the colonizers in the catechization of the indigenous people. Leisure and freedom is the binomial that runs through all four installations that make up the show. “In the curation process, we started from the new work, Nheë Nheë Nheë, and we include other works, developments linked to the western logic of work and that reflect the distortions practiced by the system”.

the installation Nheë Nheë Nheë, which gives the exhibition its title, is a delicate exercise made up of thirteen pieces created with olive branches, shovels and pit iron that shape the work tools. Despite the gallery's relatively small space, the works flow. The floor-to-ceiling glass wall does not interfere, on the contrary, it incorporates the external landscape, mimicking the vegetation with the dry branches.  In another installation, Our Rest Is Carrying Stones, serialism is present in the set of hospital timecards on which the artist illustrates with watercolor images of stones, symbolic elements of slavery since biblical times. The time clock marks the time demanded by the system which, according to Foucault, becomes a form of labor control.

The most comprehensive of them, waiting for work is marked by photography, a series of ten images that capture the moment of rest of employees after the lunch break. The time for doing nothing, for free reflection and communication among colleagues. This reality of daily temporal space is an animated extension of a field of attraction and repulsion, moved by poetic and social forces. close the show Truck System, that touches on one of the cruelest aspects of Brazilian labor, debt bondage. With about 30 carbon papers, collected and written, Márcio Almeida discusses the recurring debt slavery experienced by the working class of the city and the countryside. This abuse procedure in force in Brazil shows that the worker cannot settle his debts with the boss, even those of the canteen, becoming a permanent slave of the employer.

Nowadays, with man subtracted from the time to which he is entitled, genealogy of ótropical heat could be a starting point for the drug leaflet: Life another way to use? The artist believes so. “I understand production as something directly linked to free thinking, without commitments, it is precisely in these moments of reflection that we are most productive”. Márcio Almeida proves this remedy constantly. He just starts working on a piece, without any instruments, calmly thinking lying in the hammock, scheming ideas, literally in idleness.


Márcio Almeida: Nheë Nheë Nheë,
Genealogy of Tropical Leisure
Until September 28, from 9 am to 17 pm.
Sesc Santo Amaro, in Recife.
May 13th Street, 455, Santo Amaro - Recife
+55 (81) 3216-1728

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