The visual artist Lenora de Barros exhibits her most recent work, from November 22 through December 20, 2017, after a period of research in New York. Pisa na Paúra occupies Anexo Millan and examines themes like violence and fear through different art forms, including video, installation, wheat paste posters and ceramics.
The word “paúra,” in Portuguese, is a synonym of fear, dread, terror; it derives from the Latin pavere, which means “to be terrified or astonished, to be possessed.” The artist enters the etymological dimensions of the word to engender a set of works that marks a new phase in her career. She is now dealing with new challenges as she devotes herself to manual crafts, especially ceramics, a research she carried out during six months at the Sculpture Space in New York.
At the entrance to the exhibition space, Lenora will cover two large walls (6.5 x 11 m) with wheat-pasted posters containing the hand-written phrase “pisa na paúra” (step on fear). The text repeats itself in an obsessive and rhythmic way and overlaps until almost reaching entropy. The phrase is a poetic and radical transition from verbal language to drawing.
In the center of the same space, visitors will be invited to step on the letters of the word “paúra,” made of clay, which literally evoke the feeling of the exhibition title, the idea of stepping on fear. Ceramic works also appear in a series of small sculptures titled Máscaras de Mão (2017), whose shape and scale resemble boxing gloves, but also suggest disfigured faces.
The process for its creation came from an insight the artist had while exploring the inner composition of the medium, its visceral aspect. “This primitive state of clay and how it might lend itself to my poetics interests me. At first, I was afraid of the process of creating form, and that feeling made me revisit a poem I wrote in 1972,” she says, referring to MEDO DA FORMAAMORFA. Viscerality was already a recurring element in her work, but now it takes on a more sensitive character.
In a line of research that developed parallel to and in dialogue with ceramics, the artist was experimenting with targets used in shooting ranges – an uncomfortable and disturbing element at a time when violence spreads in a frightening way and turns against determined, as well as random, targets. During her research process, Lenora decided to collect used targets tossed out at a shooting range in São Paulo, which will be featured in the show. “It called my attention to the violence contained in these figures in ‘decomposition’ after the shots they received – images of bodies that never lived, but died in a violent way,” she says.
The pieces also served as a starting point for the video Alvos, which was recorded in one of the rooms at this shooting range, in which the artist positions the figure of the target over her own face. “What stood out in this image is the fact that the point that directs the shot is situated over her mouth. This connection with the tongue and language interests me,” she explains, and adds: “The intriguing thing is that this figure has an impassive expression, whose meaning is precisely the opposite of ‘paúra.’”
Lenora de Barros began her production in the 1970s, in a field of research that privileged the relationships between word and image. Daughter of the artist Geraldo de Barros (1923-1998), she had an up-close experience with the Constructivism in São Paulo. “I grew up in this stimulating environment interacting with artists and poets, under the influence of Concretism, Pop culture and the climate of experimentalism and transgression of sectors of the cultural milieu at a time when Brazil lived under a military dictatorship. All this influenced me and stimulated the development of my work, which came to meet the wider environment of contemporary art.”
Galeria Millan will hold, from November 22 through December 20, 2017, the exhibition Décio Pignatari – Na Arte Interessa O Que Não [In Art Matters What is Not], curated by João Bandeira. The uniqueness of the show is characterized by the presentation of a majority of lesser-known works, including some that were long out of circulation, produced between the 1950s and the 2000s, without leaving out examples of the classics by Décio Pignatari in a selection featuring around fifty works.
Also displayed are original manuscripts and typed writings, letters, photographs and other documents, some of them never seen publicly, as well as audio and audiovisual material. The exhibition, which occupies both floors of the gallery, proposes to give a concise but multifaceted panorama of Pignatari's artistic production, which extends the understanding of his work beyond his recognition as one of the founders of concrete poetry, alongside the brothers Augusto and Haroldo de Campos.
Over more than half a century of activity in Brazil's cultural milieu, Décio Pignatari explored not only the semantic dimension in his works, but also the aural and especially the visual language. A key name in Brazilian visual poetry, he was known for his creative restlessness; he also wrote plays, short stories and a novel––which were always highly experimental––as well as a series of texts in the areas of semiotics and communication theory.
Part of his rich artistic production can be seen at the exhibition, including period-original poems such as Terra (1958) and the iconic Beba Coca-Cola (in a serigraphic version signed by Décio in 1991), as well as works like Pelé and Agora, from the series Poemas Semióticos (1964) and a facsimile print of Cr$isto é a Solução (1967)––which visitors can take home–– that dialogue closely with the country's current context. Amidst a variety of techniques and mediums––prints in offset and silkscreen, objects, audio recordings and others––visitors will have access to two important book-poems, Life (1958) and Organismo (1960), available in replicas that can be touched in the exhibition space.
The curator, João Bandeira, considers Décio Pignatari's work as being "like a continent that is still not well-known." He adds: "Décio's work alongside the Campos brothers in the creation of concrete poetry in the 1950s, and the discussion on what he took up with them is, undoubtedly, a fundamental inheritance. But the originality and breadth of his production does not end there. He had a courage for taking risks that I find admirable. In addition to the "Décio language designer" in that best-known Swiss standard, there is also the "Décio udigrudi," who exchanged ideas with people like Hélio Oiticica and Júlio Bressane, and created the priceless ‘Marda – Movimento de Arregimentação Radical em Defesa da Arte’ with Rogério Duprat, governed by the most acidic irreverence, which resulted in screenplays for photo-comics and things like happenings to the jingle Brazil, My Mother (from 1970), which, incidentally, will also be in this exhibition at Galeria Millan."
Galeria Millan presents, from October 10 through November 12, 2017, Miss Natural e outras pinturas [Miss Natural and other paintings], Ana Prata's second solo show at the gallery. The exhibition will occupy Anexo Millan, and feature around twenty oil paintings on canvas varying between small and large formats. The artist operates with non-linear narratives, where thematic and formal aspects interlace. Each painting is to her a specific and unique way of organizing and presenting an idea, that when put together establishes new meaning. There is also a latent ambiguity in her work that can transit between humor, interiority and critical spirit.
Some groups of works are presented in this exhibition, among them: human figures, geometric forms, landscapes and abstract gestural paintings. A triangle can both present symbolic references — as in a kind of portal, or an idea of ascension — and can refer, by the way it was painted, to a pictorial vocabulary of the 20th century. When placed next to the paintings of female figures, other meanings can be attributed to them, forming a web that does not search for an answer but for paths of perception.
In the feminine context, the artist develops a character called Miss Natural, who appears in some works, and which may call to mind the idea of a “universal mother,” a mythical figure present in many pagan religions and cultures, or perhaps flirt with the hippie ideal of a “return to origins” and its remnants in the current culture. The work of the artist maintains an ambiguous character, a fact that becomes evident when we realize that the hand of one of these female figures resembles those of Mickey Mouse.
The landscapes of mountains and lakes are structured around the same design scheme (which has the unpretentiousness of a child's drawing), but with unique technique and visuality, creating varied, formally disparate temperaments. When looking at Ana Prata's work, the direct relationship that the artist establishes with several moments in the history of modern art is perceptible, as if this dialogue were a tool for her activity. However, Prata is not resistant to the diversity that this dialogue enables, but rather uses it for exercising freedom.
Galeria Millan presentes, from October 10 through November 4, 2017, the group show Respirar sem oxigênio [Breathing without oxygen], organized by the artist Regina Parra. The show features works by 24 artists, including names of the new generation—Bruno Levorin, Claudio Bueno, Gui Mohallem, Haroldo Saboia, Heloisa Franco, Julia Gallo & Max Huszar, Julia Ayerbe, Laura Davina, Malka Borenstein, Patrícia Araujo, Thany Sanches—in dialogue with important works by Ana Mazzei, Afonso Tostes, Artur Barrio, Caetano Dias, Fancy, Lenora de Barros, Leticia Parente, Jannis Kounellis, Regina José Galindo, Nelson Felix, Tatiana Blass and Tunga. The proposal is to investigate the vulnerability of the body as a means to create new powers from a rich dialogue between different generations of Brazilian and foreign artists.
The selection of works traverses the years 1970 to 2017 and includes videos, sculptures, objects, paintings and drawings that cover the different deformations suffered by the contemporary body. Deformations that are not torture but a result of the “positions of a body that brings together the desire to sleep, to vomit, to toss and turn, to sit most of the time.” (Lapoujade, David. O corpo que não aguenta mais); resulting from exhaustion, fatigue, from a body that can take no more. “It is a condition of the body to be affected by the forces of the world. Deleuze insists that a body never ceases to be submitted to encounters and confrontations: with light, with oxygen, with food, with sounds, etc. A body is, according to him, always ‘meeting other bodies,’” says Parra.
If this situation of extreme fragility can be seen as a sign of resistance, exhaustion would not necessarily mean complete paralysis. How, then, to turn great fatigue into power? How to breathe without oxygen? This is the central idea that will be presented by Parra: the collapsing body as a means for research and creation of new powers in the face of the political, cultural and affective incontinences of contemporary life.
To complement the proposal, Regina Parra invited the choreographer Bruno Levorin to develop and action as an answer to the question: "What are the spaces and boundaries that circumscribe communication between two bodies?". Levorin will begin from his meeting with the visual artist Haroldo Saboia to investigate choreographic practices that discuss the relationship between gesture, nomination and invocation.
Galeria Millan will host, from September 2 – 30, 2017, the first-ever exhibition Das mãos e do barro, curated by Aracy Amaral, co-curated by artist Osvaldo Salerno, one of the directors at Museo del Barro in Asunción, with the participation of theorist Ticio Escobar. The show features 114 works by Paraguayan artists Julia Isídrez, Ediltrudis Noguera and Carolina Noguera which present the viscerality in the century-old tradition of Paraguayan ceramics for the first time in São Paulo at Galeria and Anexo Millan.
The show was conceived by Aracy Amaral in 2009 while curating the Chile Triennial of Visual Arts, when she came in closer contact with the works by these three self-taught Guarani artists who honor a century-old tradition, dating back to the pre-Columbian period, in their country of origin. “Artisans who work non-stop, having learned from their mothers, who in turn learned from their mothers, in a tradition originating from around the colonial period to present day. Women knead the damp clay and men work in basketry or woodworking,” explains Amaral.
Itá and Tobatí, the hometowns of Julia Isídrez and sisters Ediltrudis Noguera and Carolina Noguera, respectively, are two centers famous for the production of ceramics made by the Guarani people who cultivate the tradition of clay art, characterized by the production of cremation urns and votive vessels. The works by the Paraguayans carry with them traces of a daily routine divided between household chores, looking after the children and the home, where the work with clay takes place by the oven and the room in which their families sleep. “The activities in the home shift, creating another dynamic, which interrupts the routine,” explains writer Lia Colombino.
The three artists work with clay in their own unique styles and have shown their craft at important exhibitions in Latin America and Europe, including Documenta 13 in Kassel. Carolina Noguera (Compañía 21 de julio, Tobatí, 1972), daughter of prestigious ceramist Mercedes Areco de Noguera, began working with her mother during childhood, following the pre-colonial hereditary tradition. At the age of 17, Carolina took an independent path, at which time she began to develop her own style, marked by human and angelic figures, which characterize her work to this day. She began gaining notoriety after the documentary Kambuchi, directed by Miguel Agüero, which premiered in 2011.
Ediltrudis Noguera (Compañía 21 de julio, Tobatí, 1965), like her sister Carolina, also dedicates her time to clay art, but her practice focuses on pitchers (drinking vessels of Greco-Roman origin) with zoomorphic or anthropomorphic shapes, featuring powerful images of bulls, horses and humans. Her home oven was replaced by a kiln for firing larger pieces. She has shown her work extensively in Paraguay and abroad, at the Chile Triennial in Santiago, for example. In February 2017, she participated in an arts and crafts workshop in the City of Antigua, Guatemala, at the invitation of the BANAMEX Development Sector, National Bank of Mexico, an event that brought together great masters of Iberoamerican Folk Art.
Julia Isídrez (Compañía Caaguazu, Itá, 1967), daughter of artist Juana Maria Rodas (1925-2013) with whom she also learned, like the Noguera sisters, the craft of ceramics. Her work focuses on small pieces, often inspired by animals found in the home and in her surroundings (snakes, armadillos, chickens, ducks, fleas, spiders, bedbugs, scorpions, etc.); as well larger pieces that explore the vessel and urn formats. She has been exhibiting works internationally since 1976, including at the UNESCO Gallery in Paris, the Center of Visual Arts at Museo del Barro in Asunción, Paraguay (1998, 1999), the Mercosur Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil (1999), the ARCO Fair in Madrid, Spain (2007), the 35th edition of the International Exhibition of Traditional Arts and Crafts in Santiago, Chile (2008), the Chile Triennial of Visual Arts (2009), and at Documenta in Kassel, Germany (2013).
In gathering a rich selection of works by these three artists for the first time in Brazil, Das mãos e do barro brings about an important reflection on the phenomenon of Paraguayan Folk Art as well as its expressive force that, along with the musical and industrial traditions, are acquiring new contours in an era of global communication that intensifies its creative production. These are works that translate “the transformation of the utilitarian in face of the phenomenon of globalizing contamination into an art that is now not only featured in local exhibitions and at Museo del Barro, but also at international events and exhibitions," says Amaral. Meanwhile, it also points to the dilemma that all century-old traditions face: whether to preserve or renew themselves, which, in attempting to meet the emergence of a market that is always eager for innovation, run the risk of disappearing.
Tiago Mestre, a Portuguese artist who has gained prominence in the Brazilian art scene, exhibits his works for the first time at Galeria Millan from July 12 through August 12. The show, Noite. Inextinguível, inexprimível noite. [Night. Inextinguishable, inexpressible night.], borrows its title from the poem Lugar II by Portuguese poet Herberto Helder (1930-2015) and features a selection of 60 artworks that explore the issue of form and the myth of the modern project relating to sculpture. Materials such as clay, bronze and plaster give shape to works that are in a constant negotiation between design and unpredictability, between plan and expressive freedom.
The set of works includes sculptures of different scales, video, interventions with the gallery’s architecture and a large installation (a landscaping element that organizes the whole exhibition). These works refer to the first human attempts at assimilating the natural within projectual thought, mapping the process of assimilating the landscape starting from the intellect. “The idea of the design as a backdrop, as the orchestration of a system," explains Mestre.
Each of the sculptures seems to demonstrate a concise act, that’s clearly manual, as if it were unfinished or in a perpetual state of becoming, often leaving an ambiguous affiliation as to its disciplinary nature. The use of color emerges punctually, not so much as a system, but rather as a resource that accentuates, corrects or clarifies specific issues in the work. This semantic uncertainty, or programmatic transversality, is one of the focal points of the work. The problematization of the performative capacity of each of the works is made evident (if not parodied) in situations such as the one of the sculpture of two hills (a work that is both landscape sculpture and a niche for other minor works).
The video, which will be shown on the second floor of the gallery, stands as a kind of general synthesis of the show. The immateriality of this medium contrasts decisively with the predominantly objectual side of the remaining works. In it, we see a slow, silent and interminable transmutation of geometric and organic forms, in an “apathetic” reference to the myth of Brazilian architecture, to its unique relationship with nature and the landscape.
Although some architectural procedures are involved in his process—such as sketches and scale models—his focus is more directed toward the observation of the bodies' experience in the space, whether they be natural, sculptural, or architectural. It seems that this intimacy between nature, space and form, is what Mestre’s exhibition seeks to unveil.
One of the most significant painters of the 80s generation, Rodrigo Andrade will display his most recent works at Galeria Millan and Millan Annex, from June 1 to July 1 of 2017. Duas Cavernas (Two Caverns) covers the main tendencies the artist has concentrated on intensively in recent months. Known for his ability to radically change the course of his work, in the quest for new lines of research, Andrade is experiencing a moment of greater synthesis, in which the various paths of his 33-year career appear to converge more profound interaction. With this exhibition, he creates an interesting interface of dialog with the major retrospective exhibition of his work at the end of the year at Estação Pinacoteca Museum.
In all, the exhibit will include 25 to 30 canvases, organized around three main axes: the landscapes, largely inspired by the classical works of masters such as Ruysdael, Uccello and Bellini (occupying the main gallery); the abstract paintings, the Bilaterals, consisting of two large chromatic fields, in equilibrium (shown in the annex); and, as the balancing factor, since they introduce questions common to the two previous groups – a series of recent works, the “binary figures".
These figures move between the figurative and the abstract and invariably consider the idea of the pair, of the reflection, an aspect frequently seen in all the artist's work. Some of these binary bring aspects that hark back to the universe of cartoons or to references of art history (as in the case of Fera e Princesa (Beast and Princess), in a clear dialog with Uccello's St. George and the Dragon, and Bicho e Pedra, depois de Neves Torres (Creature and Stone, after Neves Torres), based on a work by the author named in the title). Others are more indecipherable, like the gigantic 6 x 11 meter mural that Andrade will paint on one of the Annex walls.
The grottoes, catacombs and rocky outcrops, picturesque themes of the 19th century, have long captivated the artist and he has been collecting images of this type since 2010 and reworking the theme pictorially, until reaching the current stage. The caverns and his other works are dimensional bodies that project themselves beyond the plane, conquering space. In dealing with the masses of paint – in work that harks back to the geometrical forms of his paintings of the 2000s, which became a kind of artistic signature – Andrade uses masks and carefully designed templates in the cutting out process.
Since the early years, when his work and that of other colleagues – meeting at the Casa 7 (Number 7) atelier – came to the public's notice with their participation in the 18th São Paulo Biennial, there have been a number of radical changes in his output. The most recent of these was in 2010, when Andrade – who had been producing markedly abstract work – surprised the circuit with the black, immaterial landscapes, based on photographic records, displayed at the 29th Biennial (2010). Now, in addition to boundless vitality and a turning back in search of a greater incidence of color and form, the artist seems more inclined to tread parallel paths, discovering in each of them aspects to feed his research.
Galeria Millan presents, from April 19th to May 20th, Nelson Felix's original show “Variations for Cythera and Santa Rosa”. The exhibition, which occupies the spaces of both Galeria and Anexo Millan, is comprised of sculptures and drawings that reflect the actions of the Poetic Method for Decontrolling the Place series fourth work, initiated in 1984.
“As the title suggests, the Poetic Method is an attempt of translating an idea of space, of poetic construction, that amalgamates places through drawings and similar actions”, explains the artist. Like an opera and its acts, the three previous works – 4 corners, Verse and A Corner for the Cornerless –, were respectively made in Portugal (2007/08), in Brasilia (2009/11) and in São Paulo (2011/13). And now the fourth work will simultaneously be on display at Galeria Millan and at Museum of Moden Art (MAM) in Rio de Janeiro.
“As in modern poetry books, in which a relation between text and image was created by drawings and engravings, Method... has a similar process. In this sense, sculptures, drawings, actions, photographs, videos and displacements illustrate a text, shaping a notion of place that conforms to a drawing on terrestrial globe itself”, reveals Nelson Felix.
As in MAM-RJ's project, in Variations for Cythera and Santa Rosa, Nelson Felix chooses Mallarmé's poem A Throw of the Dice to disorganize the idea of a single exhibition space. On this basis, he throws a dice that has number six on all its faces over a world map at a predetermined date and time and in an incidental road route. The thrown dice defines its chance, not by the randomness of the numbers anymore, but by the randomness of its given position on the map. Thereby, the artist travels to Cythera, Ionic Greek island, and to Santa Rosa, in the Argentinian pampas.
There will be on display at Galeria and at Anexo Millan eighteen drawings (with sealing wax, marble, plants, steal wire, brass and cloth) and seven sculptures (made of Carrara marble, brass, plants and a TV), that make reference to the French poet and the spaces covered by the artist. “There is an intertwining of material and non-material issues attached to art surroundings nowadays, such as: information, meaning, history, hierarchy, time, etc; our current space, at least in art, isn't that clean anymore. Like the previous ones, this fourth work also gathers indoor and outdoor environments, but its relevance lies in the multiple meanings that are created in the very site of the exhibition”, completes the artist.
Galeria Millan holds, from 3/11 to 4/8, the group show “Portraits”, curated by art critic and researcher Rafael Vogt Maia Rosa. The exhibition gathers 30 works by Brazilian artists that, since the 60’s, explored the portrait’s genre as a field of aesthetic investigation.
“This genre allowed approaches to diverse cultural processes and realities, such as photography and painting, the universe of conceptual art and fashion," says the curator. "There were many Brazilian artists who explored this field; The selection emphasizes the dialogue between the artists, from unpublished artworks by names represented by the Millan Gallery to items from private collections that are rarely exposed to the public.”
Integrate the show: Wesley Duke Lee, Tunga, Mario Cravo Neto, Waldemar Cordeiro, Geraldo de Barros, Carlos Fajardo, Claudio Tozzi, Regina Parra, Lenora de Barros, Maya Luxemburg, Vik Muniz, Sergio Romagnolo, Boi, Rodrigo Andrade, Ana Prata, Gilda Vogt, Otavio Schipper, Tatiana Blass, José Resende, Fernando Zarif, Bob Wolfenson and Janaina Tschäpe.
“Questions raised by Wesley Duke Lee since the 1960s - on the ritualization of the portrait process, commissioned art production and serial reproduction, among others - served as inspiration for this show, as well as conversations held with Tunga between 2014 and 2016", explain Rafael Vogt. In one of these meetings, Tunga, instigated by the critic, established parallels between his work and that of Mario Cravo Neto, both gathered in this exhibition: "Mario Cravo was in a position to look and incorporate that archaic world that is present in Brazil, where everyone is animist, want it or not. This is latent in the construction of subjectivity that people experience culturally, not because they are Brazilian, but because they live in a still fresh contact with archaisms that are constitutive of that society.”
Celebrities and anonymous figures are represented on the show. The techniques and supports used are diverse, from the digital prints The Woman Who Is Not BB (1971), made by Waldemar Cordeiro, from the iconic image of the face of a Vietnamese girl, and Kate (2011) by Vik Muniz, based on a portrait of Kate Moss; To the transposition of a familiar memory into the space of contemporary art, contrasting public and private, in José Resende's “Portrait of My Father” (1965) (photograph and acrylic box in metallic support) or the plastic sculpture “Girl with Towel in the head” (2000), by Sergio Romagnolo, which used as a model the artist's daughter.
There is also a self-portrait (1983/87) by the painter José Carlos Cezar Ferreira (Boi), famous character of the Brazilian artistic scene in the 1980s, currently little known by the public. "The curatorship highlight the experiments carried out in Brazil exploring the portrait genre, opening the show for the experience of visitors, without imposing any type of chronology or interpretation. We celebrate in this exhibition the multiple expressions of contemporary Brazilian art, taking into account the formation of the public and the perception of the 'primitive technic' in our culture", concludes Rafael Vogt.
Artur Barrio and Cristina Motta present at Anexo Millan the exhibition “AGUATÁ - ...... C .....A ...O .... S”, displaying 40 pictures from the series “Poisoned Waters”, “Traces of a work” and “Enfante”. Besides Cristina Motta’s photography, Artur Barrio appropriates the exhibition space, transforming it into his own studio. Only days before the opening, the artist creates an unique situation or experience, which can be seen by the public from March 8 until April 8.
Artur Barrio’s work challenges the traditional artistic vocabulary, in that the word "exhibition" (and its historically sedimented meaning) does not seem to suit what the artist proposes in the way he displays his art works in galleries and institutional spaces. More than extending, reducing or distorting the current meaning of concepts such as exhibition space, art work and exhibition, Barrio employs another logic, questioning what is the essence of these ideas and deliberately frustrating the expectations that guide us, as the audience, as we come across them.
By recognizing the modus operandi not only of the art system, but also systems in general (including the world system), and by not identifying with them, Barrio does not resign himself to create a work that, in opposing such systems, continues to recognize (negatively) the same essential issues. More than that, his radical poetics shows that the act of cluttering, the breakdown of boundaries, the idea of the ephemeral and the reversibility of situations are "exercises of freedom" with strong emancipatory power.
While occupying the long main hall of the Anexo Millan (opened in 2015 and located only 50 meters away from the Millan Gallery), photographer Cristina Motta presents 40 unpublished images produced in 2016, divided into three series: "Traces of a Work", "Poisoned Waters" and “Enfante”.
Passionate about painting, the artist seeks the essence of this technique through photography. This devotion is perceived when we look at her photographic works that are almost abstract in principle, but at a closer perspective they reveal a great poetic force, originated in her experiments with nature, lights, shadows and movement. Cristina Motta’s work navigates between illusion and detail, highlighting certain shades of colours, such as blue, which predominate in seemingly obscure images that reveal fragile world situations and great beauty.