"The Mother's House", by Randolpho Lamonier. Photo: Karina Bacci
“A Casa da Mãe”, by Randolpho Lamonier. Photo: Karina Bacci
*By Alexia Tala

 

Alexia Tala – When I look at your work I see that there is a deep search for supports and formats. You use graphic arts, photography, audiovisual, textiles, etc. This versatility means that your work is not limited to a particular aesthetic. How is the process in which you choose to work on an idea, in a support or another?
Randolph Lamonier — Since the beginning of my art research I have been dealing with a lot of experimentation and the act of improvising has become one of my main working methodologies. It was something that I assimilated in a totally intuitive way as a response to a series of barriers and faults, because when I started producing I didn't have the money for materials, technical knowledge or references from the art world. So I started observing what was around me and improvising with the situations that my reality offered me. This marked in me the feeling that I can work with any material, media or support, as long as there is a need and desire.

How and what was the influence that started your artistic work?
I grew up on the outskirts of Contagem/MG, in a context where we had virtually no access to any cultural apparatus. I was raised watching TV while my mother was working. I believe that the aesthetics of the Sessão da Tarde blockbusters, the sensationalist programs on Brazilian TV in the 90s and the MTV video clips were the first stimuli that could approach a so-called “artistic” influence. As a child, I helped my uncles in a small family business filming weddings, parties and other events. So the image capture and reproduction through VHS was also something that caught my attention.
Later, while I was already starting to explore the field of visual arts, I started to study theater and soon I was working in some companies. My short time at Grupo Oficina Multimedia, in Belo Horizonte, was one of my main influences at that time, due to its intrinsic relationship with the visual arts and its bold research with video installations, scenic objects, costumes and scenography. Then I started photographing my friends, almost all of them from the theater, and the narrative and aesthetic proposals we created to photograph led me to become interested in photo-performance and video production.

Your process is very interesting. What comes first, the subject or the encounter with the matter?
There is no rule, but generally speaking, first a question arises, then I find the matter, the form and the language through which I will explore it. I ended up arriving at an idea of ​​“opposition” that almost always guides my choices, like the bloody chronicles of my memories of Contagem narrated in small handmade embroidery; or the flags of prophecies, made with bed, table and bath rags, to deal with public affairs and social issues concerning Brazil. Ultimately, I allow myself to experiment with any type of material or process, as if making a lot of mistakes I would learn more.

Speaking of Prophecies, when I saw your work for the first time, it immediately took me back to the recent history of Latin America and the historical and symbolic weight of textile use and embroidery in resistance works. What aspects of textile interest you in your work?
My contact with textiles started at home watching my grandmother sew. My mother already worked in the industry sewing car seats for Fiat and, long before that, my paternal grandfather was a tailor. But it was after getting to know Violeta Parra's embroideries that I became interested in textiles as an expressive possibility. From her work I got to know the tradition of Burlaps Chileans and they impacted me strongly. Since then I felt very influenced, especially by the aspect of social and political denunciation that these works show. Gradually I got to know the work of other artists such as Bispo do Rosário, Louise Bourgeois, Tracey Emin, Leonilson, Sônia Gomes and Feliciano Centurión, whose influence led me to explore another aspect of textile production, more emotional and affective, when intimacy it becomes politics.

Your work seems to mix the intimate and the private, what happens in personal everyday spaces and what happens on the street. For you, is there a lack of differentiation between the public and the private that you seek to manifest in the images/works?
I try to explore in the territory of intimate matters everything that might be relevant to the public sphere, and on the contrary, I get involved with matters of public order with an engagement that is often sentimental and cathartic. So I'm always blurring the barriers between these two universes in an attempt to create a third space where I can move around as freely as possible.

Your work talks about violence, oppression and some social struggles related to underdevelopment and marginality. How is your work assimilating the current Brazilian situation?
As an artist interested in telling stories and dialoguing with the issues of my time, it would be impossible not to feel totally crossed by the general crisis that Brazil is experiencing. I already had an idea of ​​how the world interferes with my work and now I'm learning how it responds to what I produce. It is a conception of responsibility that has broadened my awareness of the power of all that subjectivity can. I'm looking for all the desire, irreverence, and courage that can be gleaned from these days of sheer horror.

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