Blau Projects presents, from January 28 to February 25, the exhibition Miniaturas, maquetes, vodu e outras projeções políticas, curated by Claudia Rodriguez Ponga Linares. The exhibition was selected through #03 C.LAB Mercosul, an open call to young curators that is in its third edition, promoted by Blau Projects. C.LAB promotes an exchange between artists, institutions, galleries and curators via exhibitions and residencies that strengthen the role of the gallery as an incubator and diffuser of contemporary art. The artists presented in the exhibition are Débora Bolsoni, Gabriel Rossell, Jaime Lauriano, Martín Carrizo, Mónica Giron and Renato Maretti, who showcase eight pieces, some of them unseen.
The goal of the exhibition is to point out the magical/political power of the miniature model, creating a dialogue between works that approach problems that Brazil shares with its neighbors, including Mexico, that could be considered the "Latin-American" hub the furthest from Brazil, both geographically and culturally. On one side, the exhibition features miniature works and, on the other, allegories of ex-votos (a term that designates works of art created to be donated to deities as a form of gratitude for answered prayers).
"When the scale is reduced, it is possible to better control the result and produce a series of impacts", says curator Claudia Ponga. "With the miniaturization, the understanding is micro, but is through it that we reach the macro also in a political approach", she affirms.
The inspirations for the theme, according to Claudia, came from the Belgium anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss. To him, the miniaturization is an essential characteristic of the arts, for making the world understandable without the need of sectioning it in pieces. Furthermore, the mockup, one sort of miniaturization, is always "man made", built, and therefore "constitutes a real experiment with the object", according to Strauss. "And the small artworks have a toy-like appearence, they may seem harmless, but there is a kind of poison in them", states Claudia.
Another influence for Ponga is the work of Arthur Bispo do Rosário. The curator visited his museum, in Rio de Janeiro, where she found miniaturized models of all sorts of materials: coops, fences, stables. "Bispo had received a divine mission of reconstructing the world to show it to God on Judgment Day", reveals Claudia. "The interesting thing of his work is that he wasn't offering pieces of himself, like a part of his body, but his thought process that needed to be analyzed and thought over to be noticed", says the curator. Bispo do Rosário's miniaturization was extremely important for the curator and supported her thought on the importance of diminishing the scale to encompass the world.
On the other hand, the ex-votos, traditional in Catholic countries, are votive images that, according to the French philosopher Didi-Huberman, are defined by their disregard of "the rupture between paganism and Christianity". They are usually made of easily moldable materials and are shaped as a wish, as a prayer, and are always "objects to which the donator is connected, and objects that unite him to something", according to Huberman.
"Genocídio" ("Genocide"), by Brazilian Jaime Lauriano, portrays a series of Catholic saintsin miniature, and question the devotion of the believers. "They are figures of oppression, and have behind them the weight of all the centuries of colonization", affirms the curator. Whit a similar theme, "Catedral de Açúcar"("Sugar Cathedral"), by Mexican Gabriel Rossell, is a miniature cathedral made of sugar. This piece is a reference to a killing od natives that took place in a Mexican cathedral, where they went to seek shelter and ended up being burned, even in sacred soil. In Mexico, sugar is a much present element in the Day of the Dead, with colorful sugarskulls.
Brazilian Débora Bolsoni presents two pieces: "Confete e arapuca" ("Confetti and trap"), and "Pipocas" ("Popcorns"). The confetti is an allegory of joy, specially for the Brazilians, whose Carnival is a party that takes over the whole country. "But she creates a trap, that generates noise and a contradiction, it is a trap that may have a strong political conotation", explains the curator. In "Pipocas", the artist creates a series of ceramic popcorns spread on the floor and the public is encouraged to evaluate and put itself in front of a work they may even break.
The real estate market and the question of housing are the themes of two unseen works featured in this exhibition. In Renato Maretti's new piece, "Empreendimento"("Development"), the artist from São Paulo builds a mockup of a real estate development covered with graffiti, as if it were possible to "occupy" a project. There are tags related to housing struggles fronts that put in check the possibility of creating new developments, since there are many empty and occupied ones in the city. Along the same lines, Argentinean Martín Carrizo presents the piece "Sem título" ("Untitled"). He came to São Paulo to create what consists of a mockup in ruins. "It's a king of mockup of what exists in so many places in Brazil and in Latin-America, where constructions are started and for lack of foresight, money or feasibility are left unfinished and precarious, which highlights the lack of urban planning of these locations", explains the curator.
One of the most prestigious Argentinean artists, Mónica Giron, who has had a retrospective show at MALBA (Buenos Aires Museum of Latin-American Art), displays two of her pieces, "Enxoval para bandeirante"("Bandeirante's outfit") and "Neocriollo". Born in Patagonia, the artist produces in "Enxoval para bandeirante",miniature pullovers for the migrating regional birds. "Mónica is a very acid artist, and making bird clothing is almost a childlike gesture, but very critical at the same time", affirms the curator. In "Neocriollo", Mónica brings forth the neocriollo, language invented by Argentinean surrealist artist Xul Solar, a mix of Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, Greek and Sanscript with a touch of typical Argentinean phrases, much like a Da Prata River "esperanto". In this piece, part of an unseen series, Mónica creates a species of "play-dough" with groups of shapeless human figures and questions the "being together". "She illustrates how people are together and united, but, at the same time, also crumped and confused", says Claudia Ponga.