Galeria Millan is pleased to present, from March 24 through April 28, 2018, the exhibition The First Green, by Thiago Rocha Pitta. The show marks a new chapter in his meticulous research on the environment, as he delves deeper into the origin and evolution of the planet through a set of works––mostly frescoes, as well as an installation, sculpture, watercolor and video––produced between 2017 and 2018.
Rocha Pitta’s diverse practice is connected to a deep fascination with the subtle transformations of his surroundings: the slow erosion and alteration of desert sand, a fog's descent and the fluctuations of underwater formations. His works capture the vibration of a living planet by training the observer's gaze on the slow material transformations, the physical progressions of tiny particles of a territory, and the sudden shifts of time.
In this new body of work, the artist examines the natural processes involved in the foundation of all living things: from the appearance of cyanobacteria––the first beings to carry out photosynthesis 3.7 billion years ago––to the period of "Great Oxidation," when the oxygen produced by these microorganisms started being released into the atmosphere, creating the conditions for a life as we know it today.
From this, Rocha Pitta creates a rich visual field that reinvigorates and updates this narrative in contemporary life, an update that becomes pertinent when we consider our role in the ongoing transformation of the planet, which for many scientists now crosses the Anthropocene epoch, in which human beings and their technical-scientific activities have replaced nature as the predominant environmental force. In portraying ancestral microorganisms that have operated a radical change in the chemical composition of the atmosphere, the artist also hopes to alert us on our insignificance in the history of the world.
These ideas are manifested in the exhibition through the artist's engagement, since 2016, with the color green, which lends its name to the title of the show. The color evokes not only the exuberant landscapes of Brazil but can be considered a synonym of several ecosystems around the world. Using the vast spectrum, hues, and gradations contained between green and blue, it weaves abstract views of the earth and the sea that erupt with vigor in our gaze.
The liveliness of these views is accentuated by the implementation of the traditional fresco technique, through which pigments are applied directly onto a moist layer composed of lime and sand, resulting in freshly laid surfaces. The artist's choice of this technique––which involves the evaporation, hardening and release of heat––establishes a clear connection with the geological cycles shown in the exhibition. The exhibition also includes the video Before the Dawn, filmed in the Hamelin Pool, located in Western Australia. The Hamelin Pool is one of only two places on Earth where there are still stromatolites similar to those found in 3.5-million-year-old rocks. The 12- minute video captures daybreak over these extraordinary sea creatures and offers a touching image of early life: from the small organisms that brought about the development of the diverse flora and fauna of the world today, to the first experience of light.
Dawn marks a moment when light and darkness are still not separated and the world presents itself as an indistinct, primitive atmosphere. That is the feeling that permeates the entire exhibition. It is about recognizing the extraordinary processes that have contributed to the formation of the world we know today. It is also a reminder that our environment is not static. It is breathing and changing all the time
(Thiago Rocha Pitta)
Thiago Rocha Pitta (1980, Tiradentes, MG, Brazil) was awarded the Open Your Mind Award, Switzerland (2009), and the Marcantonio Vilaça Award, Brazil (2005), and held solo exhibitions at Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, USA (2017); the Santa Maria Incoronata church and Gluck50 Gallery, both in Milan, Italy (2013); Andersen’s Contemporary, Copenhagen, Denmark (2012); Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2011); Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2010); Meyer Riegger, Karlsruhe, Germany (2009); Arts Initiative Tokyo, Japan (2008); and Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, Brazil (2002); among others. Important solo exhibitions include: The Garden of Forking Paths Sculpture Project, Migros Museum Für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, Switzerland (2012); 30th Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (2012); The Traveling Show, Galería Fundación/Colección Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico (2009); Nova Arte Nova, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2008); A Time Frame, MoMa PS1, New York, USA (2006); and J’en Rêve at Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris, France (2005). He also participated in the 5th and 9th editions of the Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2005). His works are part of the following permanent collections: MoMa PS1, New York, USA; Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France; Hara Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, New York, USA; Colección Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico; Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Brazil; MoCP – Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, USA; among others.