Galeria Millan presents, from April 19th to May 20th, Nelson Felix's original show “Variations for Cythera and Santa Rosa”. The exhibition, which occupies the spaces of both Galeria and Anexo Millan, is comprised of sculptures and drawings that reflect the actions of the Poetic Method for Decontrolling the Place series fourth work, initiated in 1984.
“As the title suggests, the Poetic Method is an attempt of translating an idea of space, of poetic construction, that amalgamates places through drawings and similar actions”, explains the artist. Like an opera and its acts, the three previous works – 4 corners, Verse and A Corner for the Cornerless –, were respectively made in Portugal (2007/08), in Brasilia (2009/11) and in São Paulo (2011/13). And now the fourth work will simultaneously be on display at Galeria Millan and at Museum of Moden Art (MAM) in Rio de Janeiro.
“As in modern poetry books, in which a relation between text and image was created by drawings and engravings, Method... has a similar process. In this sense, sculptures, drawings, actions, photographs, videos and displacements illustrate a text, shaping a notion of place that conforms to a drawing on terrestrial globe itself”, reveals Nelson Felix.
As in MAM-RJ's project, in Variations for Cythera and Santa Rosa, Nelson Felix chooses Mallarmé's poem A Throw of the Dice to disorganize the idea of a single exhibition space. On this basis, he throws a dice that has number six on all its faces over a world map at a predetermined date and time and in an incidental road route. The thrown dice defines its chance, not by the randomness of the numbers anymore, but by the randomness of its given position on the map. Thereby, the artist travels to Cythera, Ionic Greek island, and to Santa Rosa, in the Argentinian pampas.
There will be on display at Galeria and at Anexo Millan eighteen drawings (with sealing wax, marble, plants, steal wire, brass and cloth) and seven sculptures (made of Carrara marble, brass, plants and a TV), that make reference to the French poet and the spaces covered by the artist. “There is an intertwining of material and non-material issues attached to art surroundings nowadays, such as: information, meaning, history, hierarchy, time, etc; our current space, at least in art, isn't that clean anymore. Like the previous ones, this fourth work also gathers indoor and outdoor environments, but its relevance lies in the multiple meanings that are created in the very site of the exhibition”, completes the artist.
Galeria Millan holds, from 3/11 to 4/8, the group show “Portraits”, curated by art critic and researcher Rafael Vogt Maia Rosa. The exhibition gathers 30 works by Brazilian artists that, since the 60’s, explored the portrait’s genre as a field of aesthetic investigation.
“This genre allowed approaches to diverse cultural processes and realities, such as photography and painting, the universe of conceptual art and fashion," says the curator. "There were many Brazilian artists who explored this field; The selection emphasizes the dialogue between the artists, from unpublished artworks by names represented by the Millan Gallery to items from private collections that are rarely exposed to the public.”
Integrate the show: Wesley Duke Lee, Tunga, Mario Cravo Neto, Waldemar Cordeiro, Geraldo de Barros, Carlos Fajardo, Claudio Tozzi, Regina Parra, Lenora de Barros, Maya Luxemburg, Vik Muniz, Sergio Romagnolo, Boi, Rodrigo Andrade, Ana Prata, Gilda Vogt, Otavio Schipper, Tatiana Blass, José Resende, Fernando Zarif, Bob Wolfenson and Janaina Tschäpe.
“Questions raised by Wesley Duke Lee since the 1960s - on the ritualization of the portrait process, commissioned art production and serial reproduction, among others - served as inspiration for this show, as well as conversations held with Tunga between 2014 and 2016", explain Rafael Vogt. In one of these meetings, Tunga, instigated by the critic, established parallels between his work and that of Mario Cravo Neto, both gathered in this exhibition: "Mario Cravo was in a position to look and incorporate that archaic world that is present in Brazil, where everyone is animist, want it or not. This is latent in the construction of subjectivity that people experience culturally, not because they are Brazilian, but because they live in a still fresh contact with archaisms that are constitutive of that society.”
Celebrities and anonymous figures are represented on the show. The techniques and supports used are diverse, from the digital prints The Woman Who Is Not BB (1971), made by Waldemar Cordeiro, from the iconic image of the face of a Vietnamese girl, and Kate (2011) by Vik Muniz, based on a portrait of Kate Moss; To the transposition of a familiar memory into the space of contemporary art, contrasting public and private, in José Resende's “Portrait of My Father” (1965) (photograph and acrylic box in metallic support) or the plastic sculpture “Girl with Towel in the head” (2000), by Sergio Romagnolo, which used as a model the artist's daughter.
There is also a self-portrait (1983/87) by the painter José Carlos Cezar Ferreira (Boi), famous character of the Brazilian artistic scene in the 1980s, currently little known by the public. "The curatorship highlight the experiments carried out in Brazil exploring the portrait genre, opening the show for the experience of visitors, without imposing any type of chronology or interpretation. We celebrate in this exhibition the multiple expressions of contemporary Brazilian art, taking into account the formation of the public and the perception of the 'primitive technic' in our culture", concludes Rafael Vogt.
Artur Barrio and Cristina Motta present at Anexo Millan the exhibition “AGUATÁ - ...... C .....A ...O .... S”, displaying 40 pictures from the series “Poisoned Waters”, “Traces of a work” and “Enfante”. Besides Cristina Motta’s photography, Artur Barrio appropriates the exhibition space, transforming it into his own studio. Only days before the opening, the artist creates an unique situation or experience, which can be seen by the public from March 8 until April 8.
Artur Barrio’s work challenges the traditional artistic vocabulary, in that the word "exhibition" (and its historically sedimented meaning) does not seem to suit what the artist proposes in the way he displays his art works in galleries and institutional spaces. More than extending, reducing or distorting the current meaning of concepts such as exhibition space, art work and exhibition, Barrio employs another logic, questioning what is the essence of these ideas and deliberately frustrating the expectations that guide us, as the audience, as we come across them.
By recognizing the modus operandi not only of the art system, but also systems in general (including the world system), and by not identifying with them, Barrio does not resign himself to create a work that, in opposing such systems, continues to recognize (negatively) the same essential issues. More than that, his radical poetics shows that the act of cluttering, the breakdown of boundaries, the idea of the ephemeral and the reversibility of situations are "exercises of freedom" with strong emancipatory power.
While occupying the long main hall of the Anexo Millan (opened in 2015 and located only 50 meters away from the Millan Gallery), photographer Cristina Motta presents 40 unpublished images produced in 2016, divided into three series: "Traces of a Work", "Poisoned Waters" and “Enfante”.
Passionate about painting, the artist seeks the essence of this technique through photography. This devotion is perceived when we look at her photographic works that are almost abstract in principle, but at a closer perspective they reveal a great poetic force, originated in her experiments with nature, lights, shadows and movement. Cristina Motta’s work navigates between illusion and detail, highlighting certain shades of colours, such as blue, which predominate in seemingly obscure images that reveal fragile world situations and great beauty.
The idea for this project took place in 2012, during a daytrip to Coney Island, in the outskirts of New York. On my way back to Manhattan, I began noticing strangers who were waiting to cross the street under the blistering sun of a New York summer day. Their collective posture - that of mere pedestrians waiting for the green light - made them very similar, yet, their clothes and tattoos, their anatomy, skin colour and attitude (introspective or euphoric expressions) distinguished them apart. I photographed them with my small-format Leica and kept these photos as simple mementos of a traveller. Later on, when I looked over them on my computer, an urge took over me to photograph and organise scenes like that in different places around the world, highlighting one of the most striking paradoxes of the human being, so obliviously and conspicuously registered in that first instance: that of being alike yet different, that wish to be part of a group and at the same time, the need to stand out.
This ambition of mine, to create representative panels of diverse yet generic human identities, drew me to many countries and cultures. A year later, I returned to Coney Island, this time well equipped with a medium-format camera that has as its main characteristic a very high definition, for, ideally, these photos should be amplified when exhibited in order to allow the spectator to roam its eyes over the images and to identify details that even the photographer failed to notice when releasing the shutter. I also decided to photograph more particular groups, such as the orthodox Jews of Crown Heights, the African-Americans of Harlem, as well as suited up executives on their way to work in London, on a typical English winter morning. What’s more, most of the photos derived from my fortuitous search for places where the influx of people seemed adequate to my instincts.
As I placed the camera at a zebra crossing and pointed it at pedestrians, I faced a form of instinctive suspicion. Nevertheless, as expected, I witnessed expressions of fashion, transformations of urban life and the ethnic plurality of the major metropolises – all framed by the captured scenes and characterized by the climatic conditions of each location, determining the passers-by’s clothing choices and mood.
The process of creation of these photos followed some strict principles: the takes were exclusively carried out at zebra crossings or security passages, and the people were present in reality at the locales where they are shown, even though some of them were not photographed side by side, as shown in the final copy. I made some montages in order to emphasise the very assumptions that led me to cultivate this idea. As rational as a project like this may seem, the unexpected will always pervade when dealing with the photographic decisive moment. During the years that I dedicated myself to this project, I quickly came to realize that even with a tripod in hands and a precise plan in mind, not much can be controlled when you have a camera in the middle of the streets. The streets are alive and this liveliness is imposed upon us.
Us before it
The first painting I ever saw by Guilherme Ginane depicted a chaise longue on (or in) a grey background. It makes sense to highlight the ambivalence of both positions – on and in –, because the background blended with the floor, just like the so-called seamless backgrounds in advertising photography studios. The only anchor point and reference to perspective was the shadow beneath the chaise longue. And while, on the one hand, this shadow prevented the depicted image from being reduced to the two-dimensionality of the canvas, on the other, the background disoriented the incipient perspective in a claustrophobic, disturbing trompe-l'oeil, where the infinite was both wall and floor, transparency and opacity, full and empty at the same time. There was nothing but the chaise longue and its shadow, lost in space. And I couldn’t take my eyes off of the picture, as though trying to focus on a black hole.
It wasn’t just the chaise that got me thinking (by subject matter association) about “Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles”, which Van Gogh painted to take his revenge on the bed-rest – or, even before, the disease that left him bedridden in that room. Ginane quit advertisement for painting. If advertising was his disease, it's likely that painting is his vengeance.
Of “Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles”, Italian critic Lionello Venturi wrote that “Van Gogh (…) wished to represent sleep and could not. The tragedy of his mind was approaching, heralded by signs of derangement, and it allowed him neither rest nor sleep. Calm reigns in the abandoned room, but it is a calm without hope and without pity. (…) It is a rest that is born of despair” .
The perspective in Van Gogh’s Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles, is multiple, as though, lacking a human figure, each object had obtained the right to a singular independent point of view, as though parallel universes or dimensions coexisted in the same painting, making an unstable totality, slightly distorted by the contradiction and the incompatibility of fragmentary autonomies.
Guilherme Ginane’s objects on the tabletops also have an autonomous and oddly irreconcilable existence. The cigarettes, the matches, the flower pots, the books, etc., overlap with the table, which oscillates between background and surface; they drip like paint on the canvas, they float over the table more than rest on it; they dispute the prevalence of parallel planes and incompatible perspectives with the table. There’s a fight with painting there, that has very little to do with rest.
“I used to struggle a lot with my work. I’m getting more confident now. The plane is changing, it feels like an achievement,” Ginane told me about a year ago. “Once Paulo Pasta [his former teacher] wrote that shoegazing is an insecure gaze. I’m starting to look up and other, yet unrecognized elements are popping up, light bulbs and walls where there were once cups and carpets.
The change in plane perspective and its seeming mobility result in a metamorphosis of things: the gaze that once was laid on strips of carpet at table edges now sees walls; what once was a cup now turns into a light bulb at the top of the painting. In other words, the plane turns, bends without bending, bending as though it might turn three-dimensional, yet still remains flat, and in this idle movement (the plane that turns without turning) the objects also change. The painting embeds more than one point of view, at times even incompatible points of view, in such a way that objects turn into other objects without ceasing to be the same. This coexistence in Ginane’s painting represents an arc, a change in the gazing subject’s point of view (artist and observer), and refers to an experience in the world.
The difficulty of a background that is infinite and surface at the same time, represented by the tactile evidence of the paintbrush, of the overlapped layers of paint, already played an assertive and destabilizing role in previous works: the figures in the foreground – chairs, cigarettes, cups, etc. –, lost in space, had their point of view, their three-dimensional autonomy, halted by the shallow, two-dimensional and opaque background with which they ended up merging. Even later, when the tabletops and carpets under the tables start popping up, the two planes still blend, by a telescopic effect, into the same surface. There is a tension and a viscosity between things and planes, simultaneously diverse and still unique.
At any rate, the difficulty is less of a problem than part of the solution. It sets boundaries, points the way to the painter. When he didn’t have money to buy oil paint, Ginane started working with charcoal and opened another powerful path in his work. In his adolescence he didn’t go to school for 5 years, due to a paralyzing phobic depression. “I was afraid of the wind,” he says. He’s been to doctors, tried voodoo and ended up in a psychoanalyst's office, where he discovered abstract painting (he had discovered figurative painting with a Degas ballerina poster in the hall of the building where he used to live with his mother and brother in Meier, Rio de Janeiro).
“I was dying to paint the human figure,” he says about a boundary that remains essential in his work to this day. As in “Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles”, his paintings are still lifes where the conspicuous absence of human figure, indicated only by the silent trail of cigarettes and matches, ends up referring to the presence of the eye, of the viewer.
“Literature touches me more than contemporary art. Project art is similar to advertisement. From my point of view, painting happens in painting. There is a muteness in painting, that no words can account for,” he sums up.
As opposed to an increasingly rhetorical art, Ginane chose to name his exhibition after one of the most ironic statements (“This will have been another happy day”), uttered by a motionless woman, buried up to her neck, in Happy Days, by Beckett, a writer whose work also tends toward silence.
All life is in this absence, in the battle between planes, in the paradox of the idle metamorphosis of objects and points of view, which shifts the focus to the position and to the eye of the viewer; in this silent quality (characteristic of great paintings) of blending matter and anti-matter and of putting on the canvas, through the materiality of the paint, a dimension both visible and invisible and that moves standing still, like us before it.
In "Ocidente", the second solo show by Felipe Cohen (b. 1976) at Galeria Millan, the artist from São Paulo explores and interprets the genre of landscape using geometric elements and color, in a series of paintings on wood (the series "Luz Partida"), in objects/showcases such as "Ocaso #3", "Ocidente" and "Lago", and, finally, in an intervention directly on the gallery's floor.
opening : 22 . nov . 2016 - 7 pm - 10 pm
visitation : 23 . nov - 20 . dec . 2016
tue - fri , 10 am - 7 pm ; sat , 11 am - 6 pm
Tunga, one of the most important creators of Brazilian contemporary art, died prematurely last June at the age of 64, leaving ready what would have been his next exhibition. Galeria Millan is taking the artist’s plans forward and on October 15 will launch the show "Pálpebras" at both its premises in Vila Madalena, bringing together a group of never before or rarely seen works in Brazil.
Millan’s original premises will display the "Phanógrafos", works derived from the series "Cooking Crystals" (2010). These rarely exhibited pieces are boxes that act as a recipient or support for assemblages of different objects and materials, such as bottles, wine glasses, amber, stones or scatological items. Things that, as Tunga wrote, have a “talisman quality”, and “change shape like a lantern”.
The gallery's second floor will also contain projections and drawings, aimed at broadening the way his plural and transmutable work is viewed; for example, by revealing the connections between two-dimensional and three-dimensional productions and emphasizing the importance of the line in the artist’s work.
“It will certainly not be just an exhibition of pieces. We are working on the spaces so that the art is shown at its very best. Tunga’s work will be present in the atmosphere and not just physically, in his creations”, explains André Millan, who put on the artist’s first exhibition exactly 30 years ago, in 1986.
The Anexo, the new space inaugurated last year, will house the "Morfológicas" series, organic sculptures that refer to the body; they are sensual, sometimes surreal, often erotic – reminiscent of vulvas, glans, tongues, fingers, mouths and breasts – and have originated from other works (as in the series "From la Voie Humide", in 2014), but have never been exhibited on their own in Brazil, even respecting their somewhat undefined stance between form study (as the title itself suggests) and finished work.
Initially they were merely small, hand-molded shapes in wax, with slightly larger versions (between 30 and 60 cm) emerging over time in bronze or barbotine (a type of liquid ceramic). A large-size version of one these works was originally created for the International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC), in Paris. This piece, "A Seus Pés" (At your feet) is seven meters – which is normal in his work – and consists of various parts. The central element is a long, rounded shape, with claws at each end, resembling fingers pointing in different directions. One of them is pregnant, as if propagating the pods that hang from it.
Anexo Millan is pleased to present “Barro”, the new solo show by visual artist Miguel Rio Branco, one of the most prominent contemporary photographers in Brazil, and the only one who's a member of Magnum Photos, the agency founded by Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa in 1947. The show at Anexo Millan, which opens on Saturday, 09/03, from 12 to 4 PM, is comprised of nearly 24 works created by Rio Branco from the late 1970’s to the present. “My new efforts are made from old things”, as the artist says.
The selection features over 100 photographs (singles, diptychs, triptychs and polyptychs) and a video (“Under the stars, the ashes”), which shows the variety of techniques and solutions used by the artist in constructing his works. Miguel Rio Branco’s pieces maximize the potential of the most diverse sorts of visual languages, generally achieving coherence among them. Combining very different images, Miguel suggests narrative rhythms and insinuates volumes in multiple works that point to film cutting and editing. Contrast, light and color saturation blur the lines between the images’ elements, and his compositions often present the viewer with an atmosphere of pleasure and pain, drama and lyricism in very singular and recognizable pieces in the context of Brazilian contemporary art.
Among the new solo show’s highlights are images of the Kayapó people captured in the village of Gorotire in southern Pará throughout the 1980s. Most of these records also feature in the 14-minute short film “Under the stars, the ashes”, which will be screened in full in one of Anexo's rooms. “Barro” also displays images of miners taken when Miguel was in the Serra Pelada, also in Pará; others feature Baroque elements and traditional Portuguese tiles; or animals; and still others depict shockingly devastated scorched earth landscapes. The impressive polyptych “Barro”, as yet unseen in Brazil, and for which the exhibition was named, skillfully combines elements and settings that relate to the photographs scattered around the show. Whoever enters the first room of Anexo Millan, with its 23-foot ceilings, is immediately surprised by the power of this piece and its amazing 18-image ensemble.