Over the past 20 years, Nelson Felix has been creating a series of works from various geographical coordinates, which have come to determine the locations of his exhibitions. As a result, almost nine years have passed since the artist’s last exhibition in São Paulo. His return takes place in November, when Felix will present Verso, at Galeria Millan, and Verso (meu ouro, deixo aqui), at the Tomie Ohtake Institute.
Together they set the second portion of a work created in two different locations, which refute one another and, as such, complement each other. The first part, 4 Cantos, was created in Portugal, in 2008, under the tutelage of the Serralves Museum and the Ministry of Tourism of Portugal. The work, as a whole, discusses, first, a poetic reflection about space in its primary elements - the corners, the center and the backside - and what these places represent in our current multifaceted perception of space. Later, it explores the ambiguous relationship present in the Portuguese language in the words ‘canto’ (corner) and ‘verso’ (backside), which have both a spatial and poetic meaning. In the first piece, 4 Cantos, the spatial relationship takes precedence; while in the second, Verso, focus is on the poetic relationship.
In 4 Cantos, the artist traveled in a munck truck to the four extremes of Portugal - Bragança, Viana do Castelo, Sagres and Faro - carrying four cube-shaped blocks of stone. In each of the four corners of the country, the artist placed the stones on the ground and drew until he felt he was deep-rooted in the local space. In the last city, Faro, already in this internal space, the artist tipped over the stones against the four corners of the exhibition space and fixed them with eight brass ferrules, on which the eight verses of the poem Casa Térrea, by Sophia de Mello Breyner, were written.
In Verso, as the title suggests, Felix refutes the first work, forming an amalgam of the two works and, as a result, a single piece, in two acts. The current work is born out of the observation that the city of São Paulo, the main economic and cultural center of Brazil, is equidistant and on an imaginary line that connects two small islands, one in the Pacific and one in the Atlantic.
The artist travels to the two islands, these two ‘versos’ created by the poetic structure of this work on the globe. From them, he looks in the direction of São Paulo, where he will hold his exhibition, and nails down three pieces of brass, which constitute the three parts of the letter A. A tribute to the Catalan poet Joan Brossa, through one of his poems, titled Desmuntatge. This tribute is made again when the artist will nail down this letter at Galeria Millan, in São Paulo.
Verso refers to the poetic sensation of a central location, built entirely of centers - a city that agglomerates and centralizes, and two small islands, dots amid oceans.
At Galeria Millan, Verso is presented in the form of an installation featuring two large Carrara marble rings, brass objects, gold, two drawings and two photographs. At the Tomie Ohtake Institute, Verso (meu ouro, deixo aqui) exposes the artist’s creative process, with numerous drawings that Felix created during the development of the work, and a piece composed of Carrara marble, gold and projections. A video, recorded in May this year, featuring a conversation between the artist and the critic Rodrigo Naves accompanies both exhibitions.