Exhibition space of "À Nordeste". PHOTO: Disclosure

Saturated environment: objects, sculptures, drawings, prints, closed rooms, videos, sounds, people. The first move was to escape that space full of entrances/exits, but with some effort I approached a small monitor where a girl was saying in pounds (with subtitles in Portuguese and English) that I was at the end of the exhibition. One more sign to get out of here at once? I resisted So I went back to what would be the beginning of the show (it wasn't) and started to make an effort to start the visit.

Exhibitions are usually produced to “show” something: the work of one or more artists, industrialized or handcrafted objects, etc. “To show” is to create ideal or, at least, satisfactory conditions so that the visitor can walk through the space without obstacles, without being bombarded by numerous stimuli. Too much information tends to equal no information or truncated information that harms each other. That's what happens with the show. Northeast (with crasis, even), at Sesc 24 de Maio.

Northeast was designed to seal. And he did, of course he did. What gave her the opportunity was to underline (or explain) the difference between the Northeast and the rest of Brazil, a difference that was manifested in the last elections, when that region, opposing the majority tendency in the country, did not elect what ended up being taken to Brasília. . The Northeast there, in this intended (dis)exposure, was presented to the “Marvelous South” as its other. The “other side”, our difference (however close it may be to us, like the very Northeast reveals).

And for that purpose, Northeast arrived, arriving at the desire to deconstruct the established, starting with some catiripapos in the Portuguese language, putting crasis in the title proposition, suppressing the defining articles of the genres of certain words, replacing them with “x” (that's what xs curators wanted). childish? It could be, but if the sealing has debatable moments – the fuss with the language, but also the “natural” wood panels seem to me to be one problem among many others –, Northeast It has strong moments, other very strong ones that justify a visit.

Although in the texts published in the folder and spread throughout the exhibition, the curators do not analyze a single work, in order to extract from it the postulates that they throw at the visitor, Northeast is full of fundamental works, not for thinking only of the Northeast (which would be too restrictive, let's agree), but for thinking about Brazil as a whole. Amongst them, the caretaker, 2016, by Jonathan Andrade. This work is perhaps the highest moment of the (un)exposure: to place alongside an old documentary that “catches” Gilberto Freyre in his daily life, the video about the daily life of a man who works as a caretaker of the old residence of the lord of Apipucos , and today a museum, reaffirms Andrade as one of the best interpreters of Brazil, of its structural complexities.

The duo Barbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca also expands the strength of the exhibition. She is represented at the show by two works from 2013: Recife Building – photographic documentation on sculptures at the entrances of some buildings in Recife – and the video make it go. Despite the differences in support, it is remarkable how the duo critically re-signifies everyday life through actions that neither folklorize nor insist on visual/textual discourses full of empty rhetoric about social issues (of which Northeast It's full, let's say).

Cristiano Lenhardt, with the video dusty, 2012, also lends the exhibition the importance of the work he has been doing. The video subverts the most vulgar television discourse, bringing to the exhibition a humorous fictional breath that is also at odds with most of the works presented.

Interestingly, both Lenhardt and the duo Wagner/de Burca and Jonathas Andrade are some of the stars of two of the most prestigious galleries mainstream Southeast of the country (Fortes D'Aloia & Gabriel and Galeria Vermelho). The inclusion, in Northeast, of works by these very significant artists (don't forget that Wagner/de Burca represents the country in this year's edition of the Venice Biennale), may seem to some a kind of contradiction of the show that, obstinate in its emphasis on Northeastern diversity, ends up betting on names that, after all, were already duly adopted by the hegemonic power of the São Paulo/Rio circuit. On the contrary, I prefer to believe that the integration of the works of these artists answers two questions. First of all, they are quality producers and it would be undignified not to include them in the exhibition because they have already achieved recognition in the “wonder south”. Second, I consider their presence at the show an important indicator of how well the curators think about the complexity of today's Brazil, in which the country's regional divisions are at least debatable. Brazil, despite what some still want, is much more complex than statistics, regional divisions, etc., show. and, in this sense, the inclusion in the show, not only of the works of the aforementioned artists, but also of the piece by Ton Bezerra – electronic signs, 2013, a video documenting his performance in downtown São Paulo – underline aspects of this complexity.

After all, the strangeness caused by that strange being walking through the center of São Paulo in electronic signs, also says a lot about this city, which is the most northeastern in the country.


From the comments above, I think the intention of this text is clear: if the visitor insists on staying in the exhibition grounds, and if he is willing to look around in that labyrinthine and confusing space, he will find more reasons to be happy to have gone to visit. Northeast. And, of course, not just for the works of Lenhardt, Wagner/de Burca and Jonathas Andrade. I think it's also worth paying attention to the videos by Zahy Guajajara and Marcelo Pedroso. It is true that both excel in rhetoric, which was not lacking. Perhaps too young, they commit exaggerations when they could trust more in the power of the images they conceive, but this can diminish over time. Dalton Paula's painting – bee song, 2018 – also justifies the visit, as well as some rare jewels by the brothers Joaquim and Vicente do Rego Monteiro and the delicate paintings produced in 1964 by Montez Magno.

(In the end, I left the show with the feeling that, despite itself – of all the obstacles it created for itself and for the visitor –, Northeast points to issues we need to think about urgently. Questions about Brazilian society, about the art we produce and, just as importantly, about how to satisfactorily adjust the desire to break with traditional curatorial work and, at the same time, maintain the intelligibility of what wants to be presented to the public).

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