From February 24 through March 21, 2015, Galeria Vermelho is presenting solo shows by Marco Paulo Rolla, Dora Longo Bahia and Lia Chaia. On opening day, the TIJUANA publishing label is releasing the book Álbum by Lia Chaia. The same day, Vermelho is hosting the release of the book Novas Derivas, by art critic and independent curator Jacopo Crivelli Visconti, published by WMF Martins Fontes.
Marco Paulo Rolla. Impertinência Capital
Marco Paulo Rolla is showing his recent production in the solo show Impertinência Capital [Capital Impertinence]. The show reflects the artist’s multidisciplinary research, presenting paintings, drawings, sculptures and performances made for the video camera.
In the gallery’s Room 1, the series Esvaziamento Cotidiano [Everyday Emptying] features six acrylic paintings on large-format canvases. Everyday drama and tension between individuals is the crux of the situations represented, as in the opulent private cinema portrayed in Home Theater, in which the singer who occupies the projection screen appears mute before the microphone in front of her.
On the second floor, the series Desenhos Brancos [White Drawings] (which together with the painting series Esvaziamento Cotidiano form the family of works entitled Dramas) is executed entirely in pencil and white dry pastel on beige paper. The situations represented in this series are all taken from images appropriated from mass communication materials such as magazines and newspapers, and are thus derived directly from scenes presented in the media. The technique used in the drawings refers to the art of phantasmagoria, which originated in the images produced by the so-called magic lanterns, predecessors to the modern projection devices. These images took on a phantasmagoric aspect because of their projection on clouds of smoke. Walter Benjamin, fascinated by this technology, uses phantasmagoria as a term in relation to Karl Marx’s concept of merchandise as a fetish, pointing to the universality of the phenomenon of fetishism as a central characteristic of modernity.
Five monitors and projections scattered through the exhibition space show Homens de Preto [Men in Black], an action carried out for the video camera. Figures wearing masks and black suits ceaselessly strike typewriter keys, generating an installation that is simultaneously visual and sonic, in which the artist talks about a model of obsolescence. These men seem to work tirelessly to extract something from these machines, but the only result of their action is the sudden failure of the characters themselves, who, exhausted by their repetitive movements, fall in a momentary death, only to later return into action.
The exhibition is capped off by the sculptures Discurso Interrompido [Interrupted Discourse] and Discurso Fechado [Closed Discourse], both made in soapstone, in which microphones are mixed with the materiality of the stone, alluding to the inertia of contemporary discourse.
Dora Longo Bahia. Black Bloc
In Vermelho’s Room 3, Dora Longo Bahia is showing a series of works made on the basis of manifestations that have been taking place in Brazil since June 2013.
In the installation that lends its title to the show, 126 fiber-cement flat sheets present silhouettes of vinegar bottles silkscreened in black. They are like portraits of protesters, wearing black hoods and holding bottles of vinegar, used to neutralize the effects of the tear gas used by the police. Amidst the different vinegar bottles, the silhouette of a single Molotov cocktail stands out, emphasizing the imminent violence. Longo Bahia discusses the power of the spreading of union among a mass of faceless people.
In another artwork, also entitled Black Bloc, a set of 11 vinegar bottles was sculpted from solid pieces of black nylon. Although they are made in 1:1 scale, their materiality confers them a monumentality, and the iconic character of simple vinegar bottles is once again evident as they are transformed into symbols of resistance at this current moment of Brazilian history.
Simultaneously, in the videos Lucifer and Lilith, Dora traces a parallel between the Black Blocs and the Muslim women who wear a burqa. The artist treats on two subjects without a place in contemporaneity: the young protesters without identity and the religious women who do not show their body. In Lucifer, the protesters are shown as children who, after the fall of an angel in an idyllic and mysterious forest of vibrant colors, try to survive in a post-apocalyptic landscape. One of the children is the “bearer of light,” the original meaning of the word Lucifer, because he is holding a Molotov cocktail – a cause or a consequence of the destruction?
In Lilith, the artist presents a lunar landscape peppered with volcanoes and geysers, interspersed by shots of a couple who seem to be conversing in a desertic, inhospitable and hostile landscape. The woman, dressed in a burqa, is listening to a man whose face is covered by a keffiyeh while he gestures senselessly. Lilith was Adam’s first companion, made of the same raw material as he was, and thus his equal. She is a “creature of the night,” the original meaning of the word lilith, and was thrown out of paradise for having disputed her importance with Adam.
Together with the Black Bloc series, the videos Lucifer and Lilith present an iconoclastic view on representations rooted in the media and religion.
Lia Chaia. Álbum/ Corpo Mitológico
The Edições Tijuana label is releasing the new book by artist Lia Chaia, who used the sticker album as a system for articulating her research about the place of the spectator in relation to an artwork.
The sticker album is a very popular sort of publication. It is generally thematic and suggests an interactivity with the reader, since the rule is to obtain the stickers and use them to fill the empty spaces on the pages, each in its proper place. In the case of the work entitled Álbum [Album], the stickers that accompany the publication follow another rule. There are no exact spaces for them to fill; it is up to the reader to decide where to stick them. Álbum was moreover printed on transparent material, thereby multiplying the possibilities for placing the stickers, since the content on distant pages can be overlaid to form new formal and symbolic relationships.
In parallel with the release of the book, Lia is presenting the solo show Corpo Mitológico [Mythological Body] featuring a series of the same name, a work derived from the research for Álbum. The game of the placement of figures and composition is apparent here, since Chaia resorts to a repertoire of predefined figures to develop random and fortuitous constructions on sheets of frosted glass.
The exhibition also includes the series Transfusão [Transfusion], where Chaia uses PVC pipes and cords of different tones of red to refer not only to a circuit of human veins, but also to architecture as something both alive and propositive.