The year is 2074. A sad news caught the population by surprise: it would no longer be possible to live in direct contact with the outside world. Nature has become a lethal threat to existence. The Earth's atmosphere has become harmful to man, with a reversal of natural forces. It was necessary to seek refuge in a safe, controlled environment, where it would still be possible to fuel some hope for the future.
Through the fictional narrative that gives life to the exhibition After the End, the public is invited to enter the Iberê Camargo Foundation, in Porto Alegre, now transformed into a space of isolation, research and contemplation; an environment to shelter the civilization that still lives and try to project another world, perhaps a better world. Here, from the work of local, national and international artists, nature, man and architecture can relate.
The video of Nelton Pellenz, the meteorite of Michel Zózimo, the bronze of Rodolpho Bernardelli and the intervention of Eduardo Haesbaert all serve as traces and indications of the events that led the civilization to seek shelter within this bunker, protected and isolated from the outside world. Outside, the guardhouse of Elaine Tedesco refers to the idea of an outpost of protection, from where one can observe the interior and exterior of this new place. Together, these works inform the visitor of the little traces of history that the building now houses.
When going up the ramps to the other exhibition spaces, the visitor comes across sculptures by Francisco Stockinger. Frightened children, with hands over their eyes, afraid of what they saw, unable to look forward.
2nd FLOOR - ROOM 1
In this first room, we see works that portray survival in time. Leonardo Remor presents a drinking fountain in the exhibition space, water necessary for survival, but a natural resource that is increasingly scarce.
The photos of Katia Prates and Fernanda Gassen talk about the erasure of memory and the fleeting existence of man. The notion of disappearance and the relationship between man and nature are strongly present here, provoking the reflection of the spectator on his present and future actions.
2nd FLOOR - ROOM 2
In this space, you'll find objects that carry out and tell stories. They are items made to last, that accumulate layers of time and also bring an affective correlation between the people and their belongings.
The largest wall on the left is assembled with works by different artists, such as Leopoldo Gotuzzo, Cláudio Tozzi and Luiz Carlos Felizardo, representing through paintings, serigraphs and photographs the themes and issues that were strongly imposed within the modern ideas.
2nd FLOOR - ROOM 3
The video presented in this room, by Cinthia Marcelle and Tiago Mata Machado called The Century, can be understood, within the context of After the End, as a synthesis of the destruction caused throughout the twentieth century and also of the current political tension of the streets , as well as moments of shock and revolution of the past.
2nd FLOOR - ROOM 4
The painting of Iberê Camargo, which depicts a body on the ground, represents within this nucleus the disaster as destiny, defeat, the body knocked down and inert, without action. The other objects that occupy the room, such as the Victorian-style reclining reading armchair and Elaine Tedesco's Blue Node, signal a certain futurism, a new way of thinking about man's relation to design, architecture and functionality of objects. They also deal with the idea of a utopian discussion about the future.
2nd FLOOR - RAMP
At the beginning of the ramp, the video of Jorge Macchi and David Oubina, echoes his audio around the building. An insistent beep, a countdown that never ends, creating an atmosphere of urgency emphasizing the dilation of the end. An end that never comes, but at the same time is always present.
3rd FLOOR - ROOM 1
In this first room, Luiz Roque's video, Vera Chaves Barcellos's series of photographs and the work of Romy Pocztaruk all talk about body and nature, with science fiction as the gravitational axis. Armor to house the body, samples of human material or ideas of fiction, which seek to narrate the story of this man, now confined and in search of a new way.
3rd FLOOR - ROOM 2
The works presented in this second room are evidence of history, as well as experiments and survival mechanisms. The work of Rodolpho Parigi, called Jewel, presents an urban figure: the slides as a weapon carried by transvestites to protect themselves from possible attacks. It also symbolizes a grenade used as a weapon of defense by the inhabitants of this bunker.
The work of Iberê Camargo, the painting Nucleus in Expansion, on the other hand, appears here as one more simbol of the disorganization of the bodies from the abstractions and the lack of perspective of future.
3rd FLOOR - ROOM 4
The third and last room carries within itself a certain aura of temple, or a place to project the future life. The work of Hercules Barsotti, placed at a certain height on the wall, makes a certain allusion to the mystical load of the triangles, which flow from the mathematics of Pythagoras to his presence in different religions. Saint-Clair Cemin's No-Words sculpture, half-ghost, half religious icon, looks up into this new world's tample.
The other works arranged in the room, such as that of Patrício Farias or TV Totem by Cristiano Lenhardt, appear as the presence of this confined man, experimenting and seeking to build a new world.
On the way out of the room, Carnival of Animals by Romy Pocztaruk also symbolizes the polarizations of the world today.
Porto Alegre, September 14, 2074.
At that time, the sad news that we might no longer be able to live in direct contact with the outside world had taken us all by surprise, filling the poisonous atmosphere with an unbearable sense of pessimism and defeat: nature had come to represent a lethal threat to our existence. The definitive destruction of the lights of our fragile civilisation seemed finally to have been declared.
We suffered disastrous and ignominious defeat in our battle against the world as we had come to know it, populated by men whose power and scheming exercised their unflagging desires of control over each and every living species, playing God in unrestricted omnipotence that had never been granted them.
In an inexorable, brutal and unexpected retaliation of natural forces, the role of merciless executioner no longer fell on the human species; we would henceforth be released from the great weight of having exhausted our life source and condemned our own mother to death. Faced with such imponderable events, the exercise of cruelty seemed to become the work of nature, of fate, the result of its hitherto unseen fury, which promised to sweep men and women from the face of the earth forever.
We decided therefore to find refuge and shelter in an artificial system of subsistence, a space of isolation, investigation and contemplation - a highly controlled environment resistant to real experience and living contact with the world, immune to chance and ultimately to error.
Enclosed in that regime of separation, years passed in which we were unable to bathe in the waters of the river passing before our eyes, sometimes calm, at others turbulent, but always marking the flow of time, of our fragile lives and our unrestrainable aging. Cloistered in a museum that served as a kind of bunker, children became adults, the days passed and the horizon was shortened to cloud our vision and wear away our most difficult economic, political or metaphysical dilemmas.
One day something new occurred in that brutally discouraging routine, or rather, something that we had not foreseen during a numbed existence that was always so marked by definitive certainties, irresponsible acts and promises of a never attained future. After a long period of quarantine we were finally given a last breath, a conclusive gasp of fresh air in that hermetically sealed "Noah's Ark", theoretically secure from the surrounding danger behind hatches from which we might foresee greater disaster: suddenly, a door was flung open by one of the last children to play alone in the inner courtyard of our fortress.
First one man, then a second, a third, a fourth and a fifth were affected by the incoming breeze, until as if by magic not a single member of our small community came to any harm. Many were already gathered in the entrance. Inert, yet alive.
Then, little by little, strangers began to occupy our territory, encroaching on our space of seclusion and controlled comfort. The came in groups and retinues, as if arriving on a new planet, amazed and unable to understand what kind of trap had imprisoned those poor creatures who no longer had the courage to take a step forward, to imagine new routes to the future, a way out to another world, a new world, and perhaps a better world.
Bernardo José de Souza
After the End was on view at the Iberê Camargo Foundation from May 18–September 10, 2017, and was curated by Bernardo José de Souza.
This online version of the exhibition does not include all of the videos and performance works included in the original presentation.
Translated to English by
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