The research that guides the work of Maurício Ianês raises questions about the verbal and artistic languages, their possibilities and expressive limits, their political and social functions, in some cases proposing the public’s participation through actions aimed at creating situations of exchange where language and its unfoldings come into play.
Although it is pervaded by the cultural context in which the artist is inserted, Ianês’ work takes on universal characteristics through the use of the word, suggesting multiple auditory and visual signifying elements that are systematized and presented in the form of video, photography, drawing and installation.
Of all the elements that compose Ianês’ current research, revealed by the set of works featured in Ponto Final, the Fraktur typographical family, considering its current and historical use, constitutes one of the central elements in the exhibition.
The Fraktur fonts are the most important representative of the group of so-called Gothic letters. In the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and especially in Germany, this typographic family was the predominant font used up to the middle of the 20th century. Nowadays it continues to be widely used in tattoos, logotypes of newspapers and alcoholic beverages, bands and Gothic groups. The Fraktur font appears in various works of Ponto Final in different contexts, such as those linked to the construction of the national identity of a people, group or ghetto, or as a form of exclusion and racism. On the gallery’s façade, the Tennenbaum font, a member of the Fraktur family, was used to rewrite the phrase “Ordem e Progresso” (Order and Progress) of the Brazilian flag.
It also reappears in the Ponto Final series, which lends the exhibition its title, consisting of ten drawings of full stops carved on the walls of the exhibition space.
Composed of 14 groups of low-quality images obtained from the Internet, the Fratura [Fracture] series (from the German Fraktur) combines current uses of the Fraktur font with its use in old manuscripts and books, and in the strategies of propaganda and internal communication of the German National Socialist party of the 1930s and ’40s.
In Império, Ianês cites Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and constructs a large wooden sculpture that repeats one of the phrases he excerpted from “Tractatus logico-philosophicus,” published by Wittgenstein in 1921. In the context of this exhibition, “Die Grenzen meiner Sprache bedeuten die Grenzen meiner Welt” [The limits of my language signify the limits of my world] suggest that the limit of art is restricted to what can be expressed through language.
Besides Wittgenstein, Ianês also appropriates elements from Faulkner’s literature, more specifically the book The Sound and the Fury. In the homonymous artwork, the artist removed most of the words from the first page of the book, keeping only “fence” and “flag,” (those being repeated 14 times in the page) once again suggesting the limits of language.
The foremost symbol of countries and regions, the flag is used by Ianês in three of the works in the exhibition. This is seen in (The Sound) and the Fury, a work in which the artist embroiderers the words “Fence” and “Flag” on white flags, and in And the Fury, composed of nine black banners whose installation refers to the limits given by a fence.
The solo show is capped off by the works Wor(L)d, Discurso Ltda, Via Negativa, Broken language, Cinzas and Incisão.