Photo: Leonor Amarante

The exhibition 50 Years of Realism – From photorealism to virtual reality – seems to impose the idea that nature is nothing more than a projection of men. Mounted at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, architecture that critically can operate with the concept of panoptism,
(total and continuous surveillance) the international collective moves with significant forms of sculpture, paintings, photographs, videos and virtual reality.


Realism can be considered a refreshment for the viewer who has not yet digested the complexity and “oddities” of contemporary art. The realistic and hyper-realistic installations apparently represent a joyful, fun society, involved in a sign of leisure time. The iconographic references of the collective are not casual. The curator Tereza de Arruda, who has lived in Berlin for over 30 years, sought out works with some social political impetus, such as the installation Springtime, by Peter Land, and others with the portrait of Simon Hennessey, without forgetting the suffering and tenderness as in Mother and Child, by John De Andrea.

Photo: Leonor Amarante

The set of 93 works, by 30 artists, suggests a journey that begins with paintings from the 1970s and 80s that portray, with photographic precision, the American Way of Life. The British John Salt and the American Ralph Goings stand out, whose screens show the parking lot of trailers, trucks and the traditional cafeteria tables of small towns in the American countryside with pitchers, salt shakers and ketchups. All find their place in the space and time of American history.

The American sculptor John De Andrea, one of the most important artists in the show, with Christine, recomposes his imaginary, in a hyper-realistic sculpture of a nude woman.
in polychrome bronze, which works as a landmark in the internal space of the room, surrounded by a certain number of works distributed according to angularly determined relationships. De Andrea is one of the American artists who fell in love with Harald Szeemann, who exhibited him in the fifth edition of Documenta in Kassel, Germany, in
1972, when the Swiss critic gave the exhibition North, transforming it into what it represents today in the art world: respect and power. At the German show, he drew attention with Arden Andersen and Nora Murphy, a hyper-realistic sculpture of a couple “having sex”. De Andrea's characters, whose theatricality is imposing, are a three-dimensional extension of his paintings. In Kassel, he performed with some market stars like Georg Baselitz, Christian Boltanski. Marcel Broodthaers, Dan Graham, Christo and Jeanne – Claude, whose works contrasted with his realism.

In the São Paulo show there are works with static realism, but with reference to a performative action, such as the installation by the Danish artist Peter Land, a buried arm asking for help. The history of exhibition spaces is that of how the various forms of installations
have modified our perception of what we see, depending on the context in which they are mounted. Land plays with the paradox of what is exposed and what is hidden. In another
At work he eliminates a supposedly male body, places it behind a dark curtain and only shows the toes of his shoes. He works the concept of place
transitive that could be in any other space. The singularity is not typical of this show in which so many disparate elements coexist. What the exhibition seems to seek, in its diversity, is to collapse the materiality of the supports used. Realistic paintings use images that are no longer self-interested and that function as news of their moments. They also function as testimonies of the power that everyday images can achieve.

The series of hyper-realistic photos is key to the show's historicity as a memory, but ground zero is the photographic precision paintings from the 1970s and 80s.
The work has the capacity to be an individual object, sometimes charged with formal cleanliness, sometimes with levity, sometimes with formality or simply kitsch. In realism, the friction field is wide, as shown by the Argentine, resident in London, Ricardo Cinalli. The subject is broad and spreads between still lifes, urban and rural landscapes and a series of portraits, very close to enlarged photographs, as is the case of the works of the British
Simon Hennessey and Paul Cadden. New media emerge in this realism of five
decades. German artist Felix Kraus, author of the paintings The Beginning of the End of the World and Cutting Sunday, gets closer to virtual reality by wrapping his canvases
in a 3D projection, transforming them into ghostly scenes. These distortions between fiction and reality are evident not only in Kraus' The Swan Collective, but in others. The fine line between the real and the fictional becomes stronger in the realist paintings of the
German Sven Drühl whose images were extracted from video game frames.

With this set, coming from collectors from several countries, the curator tries to discover to what extent people live in what she calls raw reality. “I wanted to bring
discussion for our time, and that's why I decided that the exhibition would start with photorealism and reach virtual reality”. In order to comply with Tereza de
Arruda thought of a place where she could, spatially, develop her thesis, hence the choice of the CCBB building.


Exhibition 50 Years of Realism: From Photorealism to Virtual Reality
From Monday to Sunday from 09:00h to 21:00h. Closes on Tuesdays.
Banco do Brasil Cultural Center – CCBB São Paulo – Rua Alvares Penteado, 112
Until January 14, 2019

Leave a comment

Please write a comment
Please write your name