• How did we get here?

    What will happen from now on?

    Will we return to our old world and accelerate even more to make up for the period of imposed suspension that we are experiencing instead of realizing that the time has come to review our daily practices to somehow “postpone the end of the world” (1)?

    This period of existential drift needs to be faced considering that our certainties seem to have been dissolved. At the moment, there are many more questions than answers, more doubts than certainties. The anxiety generated by the pandemic and the lack of perspective for a more just future suggests that we may have to live with not knowing for some time while searching for a possible balance amid precariousness. Affection and solidarity are attitudes that need to gain relevance in today’s world.

    Art has not been left out of the fragmentation caused by the pandemic. Since March 2020, exhibitions, concerts, shows and a host of other events have been canceled, further weakening a system under attack in today’s Brazil.

    Vermelho closed its doors on March 14. The exhibition program was interrupted and events like Verbo were canceled. We decided that being in suspension would be our best response to the unprecedented crisis ahead.

    Silence.

    Although it is not yet possible to resume activities with an audience, we have scheduled sequential actions that will take place in the gallery’s white cube with no opening- or end dates. These actions will be documented and made available for viewing on Vermelho’s social networks as in a cinematographic clip, an “image-mouvement”(2).

    The program will present installations, projections, actions and performances by artists from the gallery that will unfold over time as three-dimensional images.

    The White cube will initially be occupied by work that, after an indefinite period that can vary from a few days to weeks, will be overtaken by the work of another artist. Sometimes sharing the same time and space, these works will seek explicit links based on coexistence in a kind of unfolding of the confinement to which we are subjected. This being a text on Art, it would be possible to use the term contamination of one work by another, but in a situation of pandemic proportions with over a million deaths worldwide, it’s time to avoid this term and use something more appropriate. It is a moment for emotional distance.

    The series of actions that will take place in the white cube will be repeated with two works in a dynamic that seeks to create new meanings through cohabitation: together but separately. Thus, the coexistence between forms and concepts will be built on relational terms. Our interest is focused on the ways in which works amalgamate in space.

    “here, hence”, which serves as the title of the program, implies a process of coexistence that guarantees the possibility of living together with differences.

    The participating works affirm their existence through the fact that it is possible to perceive them as moving images that preserve the artist’s original gesture and, at the same time, creates a space for indeterminacy considering the works are subject to a variety of possible reactions. In this sense, the mythical rigidity of the work is abolished and it is inserted into a field of movement and permanent transit.

     

     

    1 Ailton Krenak. Ideias para adiar o fim do mundo (Ideas to postpone the end of the world). São Paulo: Companhia da Letras, 2020.

    2 Gilles Deleuze defines the cinematographic image not as a static moment of movement, but as images-mouvement, that represent images that moves beyond the mythical rigidity of the image. DELEUZE, Gilles. Cinéma I. L’image-mouvement.Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1983.

  • Henrique Cesar: Infiltration

    Gouache and plaster on wall

    The world consists of images that affect and are affected by their surroundings. Such a view is defined by the movement of action and reaction. For example, consider rain falling on a white wall. The moisture of the rain softens the paint and the cement layers of the wall while, at the same time, the wall interupts the flow of the rainwater. The materials that make up the wall and its action and reaction to the rain become both (wall and water) sediment and erosion: a stone thrown on the surface of a lake.

    In 2014, Henrique César presented the action “O informante (The Informant)” in Vermelho’s Room 2. During 26 consecutive days, the artist used a thermohygograph to simultaneously record the temperatura and relative humidity of the air in the room. The thermohygograph is an instrument used to measure air humidity as a way to control natural wear and tear due to climatic variations.

    Printing the information provided by the instrument on sheets of squared paper and presenting them sequentially, side by side, on the wall of the exhibition space, the thermohygograph worked in “O informante (The informant)”, as a tool for materializing the invisible and the immaterial.

    The physical materialization of this information seems to have finally broken the aseptic environment of the white cube and gained visuality in the mural painting “Infiltração (Infiltration)”, 2020 that César presents. The painting imitates marks of moisture resulting from leaks that become visible when the inner layer of the wall is already corrupted.

    In his research, Henrique César (1987) seeks to understand how the body relates to the absence of materiality, giving form to apparently invisible forces revealed in drawings, paintings, vídeos and objects, using elements from the exact and biochemical sciences. His interest is not only focused on the power of the unknown or its effects, but also on the hidden forces that “surround, interrupt and invade bodies”. How these forces act and how the reaction or resistance to them relate to the current social and political context, is up to the viewer to elaborate.
  • Henrique Cesar: Infiltration + Leandro Lima: Reliquary

  • Leandro Lima: Reliquary

    Vaso de barro, suporte e projetor de gobo

    Who doesn’t recall, as a child, taking advantage of the lonely minutes in bed, before falling asleep, creating with ones hands and fingers images of ghosts and winged beings on the bedroom wall? With this playful activity, we invented our dreamworld. Phantasmagories that will never be forgotten.
     
    “Relicário” (2020), installation that Leandro Lima (1976) presents in Vermelho’s white cube, uses a clay vase, a filtered light source and the gallery wall as a projection surface. The light passing through the filter superimposes the silhouette of a plant on the leftover of the vase. A familiar image but without materiality, like the ghost of something that is not there.
     
    Hence, we ask ourselves what constitutes absence and what consitutes completeness in “Relicário”? It is certainly not the lack of, or excess of materialities, but precisely the question that the work establishes.
     
    The representation of absence always implies its opposite: presence. Genuine emptiness is not viable simply because it is not possible in a world full of things. In “Relicário”, Lima dedicates himself to occupy the peripheral space, leaving the central area to be inhabited by a form of dialogue.
     
    In the installation, the notion of absence, literally, reveals much more than what an object could possibly reveal. The effect of this absence in the observer’s mind can cause a kind of anxiety: like the one we experience when familiar things are displaced or not fulfilling their usual role. Watching this optical effect and illusion might cause anxiety, but what is totally mysterious is, at the same time, a psychic relief.
     
    When faced with the installation, confirmation arises that the absence in its literal state cannot exist as the property of a work of art, as, as in the world, in art, there are no neutral surfaces or discoures. A space is never empty; as long as the human eye is looking, there will always be something to see.
     
    Art is a technique to attract attention. The eye scans the environment, naming it, making a limited selection of things that then becomes consciousness, a signifier, pleasurable, complex or not. Lima’s “Relicário” suggests new demands for the gaze. Before being an invitation to look, the installation engenders the look.
     
    Traditionally, the effects of a work of art are unevenly distributed in order to induce a certain sequence of experiences in the viewer. “Relicário” does not require the observer to assign meaning or sympathy; on the contrary, it requires that the viewer adds nothing but remains open to a multiplicity of experiences and consequent dialogues.
     
    Throughout history, mankind has continued trying to reinvent the project of transcendence. In contemporaneity, one of the most effective representations of the spiritual project is art. Painting, music, poetry or dance have become the stage where, as in a shadow theater, dramas that beguile the human conscience are played out.
  • Leandro Lima: Reliquary + Jonathas de Andrade: Lost and Found

  • Jonathas de Andrade: Lost and Found

    Burnt clay sculptures and speedos


    A Tropical Hangover (2009) seems to have invaded Vermelho's white cube, in a dance created for more than 100 bodies.

     

    According to the Housekeeper (2016), the Tide (2014) that reached the Higienópolis neighborhood, in São Paulo, carried with it more than 100 colorful swim trunks from the coast, but no Fisch (2016) at all. A rather unlikely idea since we all know that there is no ocean in the city of São Paulo.

     


    In fact, the collection comes from the abandoned building of The Club (2010), a swim club currently used by men looking for fast sex. The person in charge of the place, a Zumbi Incarneted (2014), collected forgotten swimwear left in the showers of the club for over ten years. Zumbi had intended to donate his collection to the Museum of the Man of the Northeast (2014), but was waiting for Tombamento (The Listing) (2013) of the building. Zumbi had even ordered clay sculptures 2 in 1 (2010) from the artisans of the city of Tracunhaém, but the negotiations with them were quite intense. The discussions evolved around themes such as the representation of male body and masculinity, popular art and the tradition of modern sculpture.

     

    Such speedos, name given to this type of swim trunks very popular in the 1980s and which are now back in fashion between stations 8 and 9 in the Ipanema Beach, now occupy Vermelho’s white cube filled with scantily clad clay sculptures; not even 4000 Shots (2010) could possibly control the bulges filling those trunks...

     

    In the middle of the pandemic, the public will have to Working up a sweat (2014) to see the installation, but the artist promises there will be 40 Black Candy (2013) in order to avoid agglomeration. Posters for the Museum of the Man of the Northeast (2013), accompanied by the famous Sugarcane ABC (2014), will also be available on site.


    In Brazilian art, representations of the male body gained visibility especially during the boldening counterculture of gay communities during the 1960s. Later, two openly gay artists, Helio Oiticica and Alair Gomes, in the 1970’ and 1980’, respectively, created iconic images of masculinity by using the bodies of cis men in their works. The transposition of the vocabulary of representing the male symbol with muscles and virility from marginal magazines dedicated to the homosexual public into their practice is quite clear in the work Gomes. It took decades for Gomes to gain recognition for his work in Brazil and only in the late 20th century he gained some sort of notoriety outside his home country.
     
    Although male representation is not Jonathas de Andrade’s central subject, there is a somewhat similar procedure employed in several of his works. “O Peixe”, “Museu do Homem do Nordeste” and “40 Nego Bom é 1 real” are some of these works that address contemporary concerns such as environmental issues and neocolonialism; moreover, in all of these, virility is reinforced by half-naked men who resemble the images of the bodies portrayed by Gomes from inside his apartment in Ipanema.

    Recently, gender identity policies have developed critical analytical tools aimed at authoritarian social and political structures. But the recent degree of tolerance to this type of practice in Brazil, does not mean that these issues are no longer considered problems to overcome. The exposure of the male body, partially or totally naked, shown in photographs, films, performances or other means of expression, continues to challenge the taboos of visual culture, as it violates the foundations of social and political order in homophobic societies such as Brazil.
     
    In these circumstances, what was actually undermined by recent gender policies was the way of representing the male body from the "closet", as was the case with Gomes. In the current order, where sex and gender identity are not fixed or supposedly determined by biological functions, there is no longer any place for "love that dare not speak its name[1]" from within the "closet". This procedure was supplanted by a dynamic, vibrant and explosive construction materialized in various resistance strategies which results are on the streets, but also in museums and galleries in large and small cities.
     
    Achados e Perdidos (Lost and Found), most recent work from de Andrade, on view at Vermelho now, in this sense, is a bridge between the representation, in Gomes’ poetics, that can even be considered traditional and the definitive disruption with the fetish of the body. What remains now are swim trunks, memories of a time of affirmation of masculinity, now questioned in its essence.

    [1] The "love that dare not speak its name" is not a line of "Wilde's," though it certainly applies to him. It was written by his lover Lord Alfred Douglas ("Bosie"), a poet of some accomplishment. Stephen's recollection of the phrase in Proteus solidifies some of the homoerotic suggestions conveyed by his thoughts about Mulligan in Telemachus. In Scylla and Charybdis he applies it to Shakespeare, who wrote most of his sonnets to the younger man with whom he was in love. Full version  http://m.joyceproject.com/notes/030114darenotspeak.html

     

     

  • Carmela Gross: Listen III, 2020

    Paper, plastic and adhesive tapes

    In 2001, Carmela Gross was invited to participate in an educational project created by Sesc/Senac for television. It was a program composed of a series of visits to artist’s studios in order to reveal the routine of these spaces.
     
    At the same time, similar projects were developed by other institutions focusing on languages ​​such as dance and theater; moreover, these projects were also intended to bring the audience closer to the artist's creative universe.
     
    For Carmela, the proposal sounded like “a staging of art making”, where the artist “would appear as a false character of herself”. This perception becomes quite understandable in the case of an artist who has maintained a daily work routine in the studio since the 1960s, when her works began to be exhibited regularly.

    Not satisfied with the proposal, Carmela's counter-proposal was to create a situation in which it was possible to document a “real work” that showed her practice “in real time, covering questions, errors and successes, deviations and improvisations.”
     
    This was how the first version of “Escuta” appeared. To create the work, Carmela and three assistants covered the entire interior of the studio with kraft paper. After three days of assembly accompanied by a video camera, the studio became an “ocher capsule, illuminated by the filtered light from the windows and skylights ...; almost a landscape of deserts, mountains and imaginary mountain ranges”.

    Escuta was born from Carmela's desire to subvert an external demand, a fetishization of art making. Her body then imposes itself and, in a sort of long-term performance, takes on the attitude of revealing, through covering-up, the private universe of her studio. The challenge was to create a form of visibility that would overcome the dichotomy between the action/event and the built space.
     
    If the initial proposal of the project was to replace the fourth wall of her studio with a camera, the artist subverts it and transforms the space into an enigma, constituted by an imbricated set of pragmatic and conceptual choices, and by the exchanges with her collaborators.

    To the initial proposal of mass communication, Carmela responds with a two-way action – permanent and temporary, and which reception is always relative: listen to see, see to listen. 
     
    “Escuta III” (2020), by Carmela Gross with the collaboration of Abraão Reis, Carolina Caliento, Fabio Audi and Osmar Zampieri, is part of Galeria Vermelho’s program “aqui, daqui (here, hence)”, created for the period of social distancing.
  • On listening

     
    Disconsidering the exceptions, every human being is born with the capacity of hearing. When this capacity works as expected, it is likely that we can all hear, and we all do. We hear the sound of birds, the forest, rivers, the noise of streets and cars, we hear music, we hear people. 
     
    But if listening is perceiving the sound through hearing, listening goes further because it presupposes a certain empathy that is nothing more than the willingness to listen.

    Digital technologies have made it possible for an infinite number of people to speak from different parts of the planet simultaneously. Listening, however, seems to have been the sense most affected by the digital revolution as social networks (social media) are not made up of people who listen, but of people who want to speak: In a world confused by the betrayal of language and the excess of images, everyone has a lot to say, but they don't seem to be willing to listen; the more they listen, the more they ignore what is being said.
     
    Listening may seem like an obvious action because common sense takes it for granted: we believe that because we hear, we listen. But the question is not so simple, because listening is not a passive action inherent to our existence. Rather, it is an active action that requires interpretation. If when we hear, we only receive what is said; when we listen, we apply filters to our perceptions. We try, before admitting what we hear as accepted, to separate the parts of what is heard and, when analyzing them, to listen.
     
    Therefore, listening involves attention. Everyone who hears, listens, but not everyone who listens, listens with the same intensity, but to different degrees. This happens through what is said and not just because of what our set of symbols allows us to understand in an instant action. In this sense, listening is not transferring our symbolic knowledge of the world to the speech of the other, because listening is to understand the differences, and for that there must be generosity, that of placing oneself in the space of speech, and, from there, build an understanding that is less trivial and instantaneous.
     
    Our effort to listen requires a shift in our understanding, a momentary suspension of our perception of the world and things, in a movement that refers to the perceived content much more than that produced by the receiver's expectations. 
     
    We will not be able to listen if we do not allow ourselves to be flooded by the symbology proposed by the interlocutor. 
  • Osmar Zampieri, Carolina Caliento, Carmela Gross, Abraão Reis dos Santos, Fabio Audi Osmar Zampieri, Carolina Caliento, Carmela Gross, Abraão Reis dos Santos, Fabio Audi