Instituto Tomie Ohtake

Fable, fricton, melancholy
29 september to 29 october

"Instituto Tomie Ohtake created the Arte Atual (Current Art) program in 2013, an experimental platform for presenting the researches of young artists, in which, through a question posed by the Curating and Research Department, a group of artists is invited to create a new project. In its sixth edition, named Fábula, frisson, melancolia. (Fable, frisson, melancholy.), curators Paulo Miyada and Carolina de Angelis brought together Marcelo Cipis, Pedro Wirz and Tiago Tebet, catalysts for the imagery and sensibilities of our present time. In varied aesthetics, they echo parts of fables, frisson and melancholy: the mysterious - legends, myths - that overflow on the nature apprehended by humanity; the collective realization in the stages of spectacle; and inertia, disillusionment or impulses that are never realized.""Each artist is aligned with a certain field of fables that cross through ordinary landscapes - urban, rural or the ones present in the collective imaginary. As artificers, they go beyond given forms and symbols, creating new and captivating images. In contrast with our current reality, however, they still reveal gaps, mismatches with this world that has become specialized with consuming dreams or selling them as decadents parodies of itself"", the curators state."

Pedro Wirz, in a time when values and meanings are inverted, he turns to atavistic reminiscences. He takes up his own childhood, his roots, the folklore and the stories told around the campfire… entire myths, geographies and psychologies that were built due to the possibility of fantasy. Wirz presents a dark room that instigates the audience to explore the forest - evoked by the crackling of the sticks on the ground - and to find a ciranda sculpture (ciranda dance) composed by small characters. There are two sculptures in the installation, a small bronze piece on the ground that evokes the ciranda – depicting people involved in a type of square dance, and a large one, made of rammed earth, or taipa (a vernacular construction technique in Brazil), rolled on the wall. A large amount of soil creates labyrinths on the floor; dried wax and tree trunks present textures; wood gains the most varied shapes. Dealing with bronze, a recurrent material in his work, reminds us a traditional sculpting technique.

Marcelo Cipis presents the video that was originally created for the 1991 São Paulo Biennale, together with a large 2.5mx6m painting that reproduces the backdrop used in the video. Furthermore, there are ten paintings that emphasize the clatter and the unfinished, characteristics rarely seen in the artist's work, but which are present in pieces from different periods and even more so in recent times. They depict a media environment, inhabited by promises of happiness and well-being. With affection, the artist imagined the face of a kind corporatism, in apparently unpretentious humorous images.

The 1991 video, which promotes the “Cipis Transworld, Art, Industry & Commerce” company, points to a world in which technology and market would live harmoniously together with art and creativity. Time, however, reveals the anguish behind laughter - the discontent that begins, resumes and provokes short-circuits in a previously clear and precise trace. Paintings and drawings show indecision and procedural uncertainty.

Tiago Tebet presents a set of around 15 new paintings. The artist also wanders in search of a different imaginary, aspects of reality that feed new imageries, but his territory is the big city. In it, he found a different architecture from the one taught in universities and reproduced by developers that are hungry for new businesses. Not science, nor business, the architecture that interests him is the know-how passed on from generation to generation. The vernacular: cement, plaster, painting, texture, color, adornment. Everything is processed and intensified in the artist's studio.

White canvases show typical patterns from house painting techniques. Stones, plaster and a mixture of sand and glue come together with a scraping procedure to reveal surprising vibrant gradients. In this set of paintings, however, there isn't a celebratory atmosphere: something rough insists on increasing the gravity of each one of the works.

QAP: Are you listening?
05 may to 21 may 2017
"In touch. Online. Proof of address. Hidden copy. Add new contact. Pending request. Notice of receipt. Message read. Tag friend. Follow. Unfollow. Reply to all. Dial 4 to return. Wait a moment. QSL, QAP, TKS. Over. We have never produced, edited and shared so much. In an age of hypercommunication, technologies intermediate distances and extend the reach of different voices while enabling the amplification of individual thoughts and the smallest everyday details. Still, the optimism originally placed on the potential of new forms of communication as resources to confront us with diversity seems increasingly restricted to theory. It has become customary to note the systematic closure of our networks around already familiar opinions, sometimes stratifying ideological alignments and favoring intolerance to the detriment of trade. Echo chamber, narcissistic mirror, factory of hate, circuit of partial truths. In macro-scale, there are several battles going on for the principles governing the communication channels. On the scale of the individuals, a doubt persists: is there, among so many exchanges, effective dialogue? And for this, does anyone practice any dimension of listening? In ‘QAP: Are you listening?’, a title alluding to the acronym used by radio operators in Brazil, the idea is that the exhibition rooms are occupied by invitations to get in direct contact with the artists. ‘QAP: Are you listening?’ reflects on the scarcity of listening in the present time and rehearses modes of contact between artists and audiences. The artists were invited to elaborate proposals that favored communication during the exhibition period. There is not exactly a set of works ready, but invitations to the public. According to the content of the projects, they can use telephone or virtual channels, the actual presence of the artist or even instructions for participation. These works can happen entirely in the showroom, just start there, or have in this space a point of a network - it will be through the exchanges that the works will find their real dimensions. Although guided by listening, the proposals are not confined to friendly invitations, distanced from differences. They launch themselves as bridges to the dialogue, which emphasize the present time of the visitors, as an invitation to be, by the chosen means of communication, close to the artists, willing to ""waste time"". Time, an unavoidable condition for listening, is practiced here as the antithesis of the urgency for productivity capitalized as labor or consumption. For those who want, there is time here to be spent to share, assimilate, internalize and even oppose the propositions presented. The exchanges, gradually dictated by the instantaneous speed of our informational flows, must here imply the time of involvement, of being available for listening, of being on line, but not necessarily online.

Audioguide of QAP

Aleta Valente

In this work, the artist problematizes the issue of abortion through a channel open to discussion on the subject. The artist brings about in her work many latent themes in social networks, channels in which Aleta develops an important part of her production. In the room she invites the public to enter in contact if they wish to talk about abortion by means of a banner with her phone number. The line, as a kind of S.O.S., works 24 hours."

Daniel Jablonski

"Fwd: Sorry for the delay" has as its central axis the correspondence via e-mail, a fundamental tool in contemporary communication. Starting from a quotation from Ricardo Piglia on the character of "debt" that all correspondence carries, the artist's proposal is that the public send him via e-mail all the conversations "lost" or interrupted, for any reason whatsoever, for him to forward, giving some continuity to these. Such conversations would be displayed in the room through paperwork, indicating the original sender, the artist, and the recipient.

Raquel Nava (in partnership with Cila MacDowell)

The artists seek to propose to the public telepathic exercises, in which two people must be directly involved: one as a broadcaster, the other as a receiver. There are three different exercises, which use instructions present on a table, arranged in the exhibition space. The ultimate goal is to try and understand the limits of the possibility of this communication by comparing images received and sent by participants.

Henrique Cesar

The work "Informer" is an interactive website in which the public can contribute by sending documents such as texts, images and videos. This platform is a kind of archive containing both the artist's references and those who wish to participate. From the documents, Henrique Cesar formulates relations that are not necessarily linear or have an explicit meaning."

Renata Cruz

The work of Renata Cruz investigates the dimensions of listening and exchange, using drawing as a medium. At a table, the artist will always leave papers and pencils ready so that the public can draw drawings from her invitation to observe the city. Cruz will be present on several days of the exhibition to make exchanges on these visions of the urban space with the visitors. Throughout the exhibition, a mural containing the drawings of this dialogue will be constructed.

It’s like dancing about architecture
15 february to 23 april 2017
The vigil of the surrealists bequeathed to us the lucidity that language is a field of disputes in which advantages are always on the side of established power. The writings of Georges Bataille especially strive with the conviction that morality, reason, language and architecture all work as prisons for man, straitjackets that make tangible the power structure of an era, and exclude the risk of contact with any noise or dirt that may tarnish it. architecture, houses - all can be read as language and therefore just know how to read them to find fairly accurate maps of which dominant forces in each context. In the case of São Paulo, for example, as significant as the heroic idealization of the local past made by the Monument to the Flags built to celebrate the fourth centenary of the city, is that the best known of recent São Paulo monuments is the Motorized Bridge over the marginal Tietê, in the business area of ​​Berrini Avenue. And if we approach the scale of the citizens of this and other great metropolises, how many are not those who consider the streets, the sidewalks, the places of work and sometimes even their own houses - supposed places of identification and comfort - as a sequence of spaces of embarrassment in which the mind seeks to remain oblivious to the continual discomfort of bodies continually oppressed by an aggression that one does not even know how to name? It is that the contemporary city lost the connection with the human body, while its streets, squares, avenues and bridges were reduced to mere places of passage. As the historian Richard Sennett points out, the attachment of the subject to his surroundings has become non-existent, configuring what he calls "freedom of resistance." It is as if the city were a language that we no longer practice as language, we only perceive as ready speech and, almost always, arid and rough. As the recent polemics have shown, vindicating the possibility of speaking the city, disputing its appearance as language or introducing noise into its official image is putting itself in tension and risk. From this they know very well those who make demonstrations, those who paint walls, those who climb walls, those who make the city lane, stage or panel. As anticipated, there has long been a famous expression among American musicians that can be translated like this: "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture". The analogy implies that writing would be as distant from musical experience as architecture, to make it durable, is from the ephemerality of dance. Of course, body, space, dance and architecture have different levels of relationship, but the saying reminds us of a fundamental indifference, especially on the construction side of contemporary spaces. The built-in inertia wants to ignore the spatiality that does not come from the state or the owners of the urban lots. It is a little quixotic to invest in such an unequal dispute; but there are those who insist and keep trying to write about music and dance about architecture, rehearsing insurgencies that draw their strength (tactical and poetic) from ephemerality. From contemporary art, artists such as Jorge Soledar, Lia Chaia and João Castilho catalyze and reinvent ways to make the movement (and stiffening) of bodies emerge in spaces. Between inventive fancy and absurd juxtaposition, performative choreography and disjunctive coping, the works assembled here open up a range of possibilities which recall that the ways bodies "speak" their spaces go beyond categories and niches already formatted for culture, art and freedom of expression in today's cities.

Lia Chaia

Jorge Soledar

João Castilho

Frame Reframe Unframe
14 may to 29 may
Frame Reframe Unframe - one of the sayings and writings that the artist Louise Bourgeois eternalized as a synthesis of a constant reworking of self which, even when it seemed self-destructive, was fundamental to the integrity of her persona and her work. Here, a paraphrase is presented: ""Frame, unframe, reframe"". The framework - a central notion for the definition of processes of representation and perception in different artistic languages ​​- and the possibilities of disputing it, circumventing its rules and reconstituting it crossed by bodies and spaces. Framing is not only defining a geometric edge for an image or space, it is also delineating a mediation between in and out of action, depth and epidermis of poetics. Whether in painting, theater, dance, photography or cinema, framings mobilize language features that include, but are not limited to, the material edges of a frame and proscenium. The picture is the border of the scene, but it is also an indication that there is an interior space to the artistic language. Modern and contemporary experiences have tried in every way to analyze its functioning and alternately emphasize it, deny it, and reformulate it. In this exhibition, we count on the ability of the invited artists to assimilate part of the history of the framing and, at the same time, to explore apparent contradictions or fissures in its functioning. Their paths and languages ​​are singular, but it is possible to approach them by the relations with structural aspects of the picture. Ana Mazzei and Renata de Bonis approach borderline situations between the inside and outside representation in the history of Western painting, translating them into space devices that encompass the body of the viewer. Claudia Briza and Marcia Beatriz Granero take advantage of the cinematographic language's efficiency in defining a verifiable narrative field to create short circuits between fact and fiction, person and character. Patrícia Araujo and Manuela Eichner respond to the experiences of urban, imaginary and / or expository space as pictures that edit their bodies, reacting with interventions that extrapolate the unity of the framed image.

Manuela Eichner

Multiple, Manuela Eichner's production (Arroio do Tigre, 1984) ranges from videos and performances to collaborative workshops, through the development of prints, pieces of graphic design and illustrations. In these different fronts, it systematically resorts to the principles of collage, rupture and shuffling of the spatial, contextual and semantic unit of images from different sources. Overtaking the edges of a medium and widening its frame until it matches the entire space is a latent strategy in Eichner's latest proposals.

The experiments performed on her ‘Monstera’ projects extrapolate the plan to invade space with three-dimensional collages in which the images of bodies and tangled objects gain an immersive scale. The presence of this hybrid mass, strange and monstrous in its convergence of printed materials, plants and objects, challenges the viewer and his assumptions about body, space and nature.

Ana Mazzei

The work of Ana Mazzei (São Paulo, 1980) reflects the structures that establish and delimit the space of representation and staging. The reference to the performing arts is recurrent, emerging in videos that evoke scenic devices and small felt models that evoke Greco-Roman theaters, for example. In other works, this reflection is transposed into the scope of painting, analyzing its formal, semantic and symbolic structures, from the perspective to the framing. Recently, Mazzei has turned to the attitudes of the bodies that inhabit the space of representation.

Garabandal, Marat and Ascension compose a series of pieces of furniture that allow the visitor to shore up his body in order to approach the unnatural poses of celebrated figures painted by artists such as Jacques-Louis David or Giotto. The bodies supported by the devices freeze gestures, transposing the social and symbolic conventions of the history of art to the actuality of the exhibition space.

Renata De Bonis

In many of her projects, Renata De Bonis (São Paulo, 1984) evokes places she has visited on trips. Attentive to what is in the natural and remote environments, she seeks to restore or translate something of its unique presence in sound installations, drawings and collections of objects. The Annotations series from Caspar David Friedrich is the first materialization of a research into the sublime landscapes consecrated by this German romantic painter of the first half of the nineteenth century.

De Bonis, who always admired him, traveled to Europe to map, locate and visit several of the scenarios in which he had made his paintings. Instead of focusing on the timeless immensity of landscapes, she captured the sounds of the environments, the part that existed only as projected imagination on the framed visual. The sound tracks recorded in Friedrich's locations, then, became the substrate for this synesthetic sound installation.

Márcia Beatriz Granero

Since 2010, Márcia Beatriz Granero (São paulo, 1982) develops videos that weave short narratives starring Jaque Jolene, a fictional character interpreted by herself. This anachronistic figure appears in several urban contexts and, more recently, has been seen in explorations of the exhibition spaces of São Paulo. After repeated visits and a research on the place, the artist elaborates a script of actions, without speech, that assimilates the syntax of the classic cinema - in the frames, sound tracks and principles of assembly; and in the gestures and expressions of staging. Fiction is the medium the artist encountered in colliding elements of the history and functioning of institutions with the obsessions of her person. In Lacuna, it is Instituto Tomie Ohtake that receives a visit from Jaque Jolene. In the fragmentary narrative, the sound space is as important as the staged actions, and the imagery presence of the building imposes itself on its dynamics of use.

Claudia Briza

In her videos and photographs, Claudia Briza (São Paulo, 1965) acts in incomplete scenarios, rearrangements of remains of sceneries from the backstage of the audiovisual field. It thus reveals the artificiality of the stage props, costumes and effects of light and movement, while unveiling and diverting the mechanisms that enable the spectator's projection and empathy by characters and cinematographic narratives. In the videos ‘The Egg of the Serpent’ and ‘The Hour of the Wolf’, the artist enters and leaves the frame, in front of projections of segments of filmmaker Ingmar Bergman’s classics, interacting with the speeches and actions that are unfolding in the film.

If, in principle, there is a clear separation between the projection and her body, in the video, the artist integrates a same imagery field with the film of which it appropriates. In ‘The joy was always a hurry’, Briza imitates the gestures of Carmen Miranda, incarnation in the eyes of world of the tropical and joyous Brazil - that ended up succumbing to the imaginary force of her character.

Patrícia Araujo

The conflict with other individuals and with their surroundings guides several of the interventions filmed, photographed or performed by Patrícia Araujo (Fortaleza, 1987). In some actions, it is a vulnerable and passive body, which suffers when merges with the landscape. In others, it tries to compete with the immeasurable or seeks to sustain a fragile balance when there are many eventualities that can overthrow it.

In Abalo (Shock), the artist presents a constellation of records that unfold her Wild Answer project, in which she fixes street posters with names of geological accidents on the walls of some establishments in Fortaleza or São Paulo that are about to be destroyed. In this unprecedented installation, the shock that can be compared to the real estate dynamics is also associated with the tests of sharp approximation and abrupt shock in performance actions and archival materials.

on banality - volume 1
3 february to 6 march 2016
It is easier to recognize something banal than to define banality. In medieval feuds, a banal thing - a mill, for example - was a possession of the feudal lord that could (or should) be used by any vassal at a corresponding rate. The first meaning of banal refers to that used by all, but possessed only by one. Nowadays, banality refers to things of trivial use and little originality, which can be employed by anyone in any situation, without exceptional implications or consequences. The banal happened to be identified with what counts for all and therefore does not belong to anyone. It is remarkable that the banality of things results from them being ""from all over the world"" and, over time, they have dissociated themselves from the original authorship that may one day have been associated with them. It is as if the very success of the diffusion of an object, expression, or idea would eventually lower it into some imaginary hierarchy of values of originality or authenticity. This is particularly intriguing when we think of language, where terms need to be shared by many people to be effective, because communication happens with codes shared in the indistinct region of what is ""between us."" Thus, although it is usually evoked in a pejorative tone, banality is of special interest to many contemporary artists. The very possibility of banal objects being perceived as art has already been tried and debated to exhaustion and, without having to test this hypothesis again, several artists today refuse the lands of the ""great"" genres, subjects or techniques to dedicate themselves to scraping poetry and possibilities that reside on the level of banality itself. This can lead to the winding paths of popular ""taste,"" the basest and generic principles of language, or the unpretentiousness of everyday personal notes. What is important here is not to demonstrate how artists can do something special by using trivial things and materials. On the contrary, it is to accompany them in the handling of the banal as banal, taking advantage of their supposed lack of specificity, aura and courage in trying to think their meanings and more disconcerting meanings. Although banal is read as vulgar because it does not have a recognizable owner, it is in fact very close to what we are and exercise in our daily babblings. To deal from within art, with the epidermis of the banal is an opportunity to pay attention to what weaves the fabric of our life when we are not particularly attentive to it. As the popular lullaby John Lennon wrote for his son says, ""Life is what happens when we're busy making other plans."

Ana Elisa Egreja

With realistic principles, Ana Elisa Egreja's paintings seduce and deceived the eye into a familiar illusory game just like a circus magician during a show. In today's art, her meticulous pictorial technique is commonly associated with historical moments of art until the nineteenth century or even considered to be a little tacky, a little nostalgic of painting classes for dilettantes, with a common, banal, almost vulgar taste in the way you taste colors, textures and lights.

In her recent production of small-format works (studies of contemporary still lifes), the artist is aware of the strangeness she promotes, offering herself and the public concentrated opportunities of pleasure and doubt. Unable to resolve the encounter with these works by a separation between high and low culture, good and bad painting, art and spectacle, the viewer finds himself disarmed by exuberant bromeliads, printed towels, popular ceramics, anachronistic skulls, unexpected eggplants, delicate flowers - all represented as chromatic suggestions deformed by the "fantasy" glass reticles, as the industry would name these cheap materials.


Without pedestal, without noble materials, without protection in virtuous intentions or in the intellectual solemnity, Cabelo experiments the art like low dynamics, next to the prosaic and the spontaneous one. With a work that can both evoke secularized and delirious ritual forms, and join the marginal poetry of everyday life’s poetic experience, the artist sometimes defines himself as a seismograph of his time, an instrument to capture fragments of ideas, sounds and sentences around them, arranging them into small notes. Among videos, stills, fabrics and serigraphs, the engine of this room is the drawing, the most delicate part of his work, that articulates the perception of the surroundings with the free ramblings and associations of thought.

When drawing with brush and ink, converge calligraphy, annotation, scribble and movement; born there figures who have something of ideogram, calligram, hieroglyph and petroglyph. Magnified and multiplied by screen printing in vibrant colors on equally colored fabrics, the drawings make, from the wall or the cave, scores of rhythms of repetition and movement. In the video, the process is reversed: the camera slides over the surface of any objects that reflect traces of electronic lights; images and traces appear as if the camera were in a trance and was a vehicle for the emergence of the drawing.

Julia Kater

It is possible to learn much about language functioning by observing how it fails - either because it is still immature or because it has become dysfunctional. It's what makes the recent production of Julia Kater, who besides being an artist acts as a pedagogue. 'Free designs on imposed themes' present fragments of a collection of clouds, trees, suns and houses designed by children of literacy age. Learning to read and write does not only mean increasing cognitive processes and motor skills. The collection edited by the artist evidences, in a sagacious visual chain, the schematic character of the "literate drawing" that is formed when children, compelled to mean something, repeat prefabricated schematic forms.

In Breu, the recorded images present, in a non-linear assembly, the semi-artisan process of asphalting a rectangle drawn arbitrarily in the middle of a wasteland. The sound brings a circular text that abounds in adverbial phrases of manner (right and wrong, mainly), without defining any clear object. Inspired by the discourse of a patient fixed in the narrative of a history of rectitude and disarray of something she could not enunciate directly, the text constructs the discourse in an endless cycle, on which the ideas of progression and evolution do not apply.

Credits: Story

Research and Curation Department Carolina Mologni, Luise Malmaceda, Paulo Miyada, Priscyla Gomes and Theo Monteiro

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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