The exhibition “Coletiva Novembro” presents the production of eight Brazilian artists who were invited by the photographer and journalist Julieta Schildknecht, mentor of the NGO #OnbehalfofBrazil, to carry out artistic interventions in a format of lambe-lambe in twenty points of the city of Sao Paulo, before being exhibited in an art institution. Inspired by the concept of “social sculpture” of the German artist Joseph Beuys, Schildknecht proposed a curatorship expanding both in the time and space. In this way, she began the work in March of 2018, with weekly meetings with the artists, where besides the production of each one, it was also discussed subjects related to the Brazilian society and its transformations. After the realization of this stage in the city, lambe-lambes were gathered and will be exposed in book format side by side the original works.
The artists were challenged to think about the impact of the climate and social changes as part of a global problem. Particularly in a difficult historical moment, it becomes pressing to discuss the costs of economic development that does not aim sustainability nor even the preservation of natural landscapes and local cultures, such as the native people ones. In this context, the Utopia of the contemporary metropolis like São Paulo, the largest Brazilian city with its more than 12 million inhabitants, is the symbol of this destructive development which model is becoming exhausted and need to be rethought.
Kitty Paranaguá, Miriam Mamber, Renata Telles, Carmen Rein, Fulvia Molina, Marcia Cymbalista, Lynn Carone and Carol Seiler developed works that reflect in different ways the links between the human being and nature. For this project, each artist chose an image by Schildknecht, as a way of revealing elective affinities between them.
The result was exhibited in places of great circulation like the Minhocão, the Paulista Avenue, the Estação Pinacoteca, the Casa do Povo, the São Paulo Biennial, the Augusta Street, among others. The idea is that the images interact with the urban scenery in a democratic sense, doing so the art finds the public in his daily life, besides the walls of the galleries and museums.
To talk about the nature and his preservation in Brazil involves so much the memory of a mythical and wild past, like the reminiscence of our origin still preserved in the Amazon Rainforest, as for perception of the destruction, of the aging, of the deterritorialization in the world more and more technologically developed. Many questions without answers are still substantial today in the Brazilian context and its public discussion will define the course of the country in the next decades. For instance, is it still possible to talk about a native landscape being preserved? How does our human nature respond to the different conditions of civilized life? Is it possible to maintain peaceful coexistence in the current world of different cultures, without the minorities being destroyed in the name of technical advancements? How will it remain open to the processes of immigration original from natural or social-political disasters? In this sense, it is the whole social ecology that is put before us like the challenge for a new era.
Be in the poetic form, be in a more straightforward way, the works reflect these investigations, maintaining a subtle presence. Fulvia Molina retakes the question of the prejudice and of the immigration in the work “Êxodos”, after the photography “De Profundis” by Schildneckt. It tells about the pain and the anguish that mark our time, caused by economic problems and political conflicts. Carone chose a Brasilia city photo, a symbol of contradictories in the contemporary Brazilian history, and presents the register of a performance carried out after the environmental crime of the Samarco, in Mariana (MG). She aims to discuss the dual role of the water nowadays: as something that is vital for life but at the same time lethal.
Rein and Paranaguá look for the memory of the wild nature as body and origin which we always bring back. The first one took inspiration from a photo of a big tree to speak on what is lost through deforestation, which destroys our sacred relationship with nature. For his time, Paranaguá chose an image of the "Erotic" series that treats the body like wild nature in counterposition to the quick and exacerbated virtuality of the current world.
Cymbalista is based on the existence of the city of Sao Paulo to create enigmatic drawings that allude to the transformations of the urbane scenery. She is interested in the spontaneous geometry that very often dominates the exterior façades of the great cities, through standards of grills that are used in the combat to the urbane violence.
Telles and Mamber create images based on the concepts of memory and ancestry of nature as much as culture. The first one chose the image of feet as an ancestral symbol of our connection with the land (previous to the rational knowledge), and in the rites of passage that happens symbolically through the washing of the feet. Mamber takes photography of utensils of ancient people, to recreate them like contemporary instruments.
Seiler carries out intervention from paintings that show the phenomenon of the Siamese twins as a way of reflecting the interdependence of the man and the environmental world. She worked from blurry photographies of “The Eliot Twins” series by Schildneckt, in which she identifies the question of the duplicity and of the identity.
From an allegorical point of view, the perishable nature of the support chosen for this first part of the project (lambe-lambe images) plays the entropic processes of the world. In this way, it considers the modifications suffered from the passage of time in the city, which also changes constantly.
- Art critic and curator, lives in São Paulo, Brazil. Professor of University of Campinas (UNICAMP).