Tudo aquilo que a nossa
pisa e mija em cima,
serve para poesia
Press Release of the Exhibition
'All our civilization rejects,
steps and pisses on, is suitable
5th > 28th Mar 2009
In the exhibition the Brazilian artist Rosângela Rennó (Belo Horizonte, 1962) conceived for Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art consists of three different series of works. The title of the exhibition is a quote from a poem by Manoel de Barros, an important Brazilian poet, born in the state of Mato Grosso in 1912.
The central nucleus, entitled Matéria de Poesia (para Manoel de Barros) [Matter of poetry (for Manoel de Barros)] – a direct quotation from a book by the poet –, is composed of a large set of ink jet digital photographs, gathered in 6 modules of 6 images each. Made between 2008 and 2009, these works consist of a condensation of images resulting from the juxtaposition of a group of slides (all found or bought in flea markets and antique shops). The result is an almost erasure of the original images, through accumulation of information on a black surface, where fragmented and de-contextualized ghost images emerge. The title of another publication by the above-mentioned poet seems to precisely elucidate what we see in these works: “An almost erased portrait where one can see perfectly nothing”. This series reflects on the daily and ordinary usage attributed in the past to slides, which where collected and enjoyed frequently in large quantities. Nowadays, it is almost an obsolete practice, as is the social act – the ritual – of sharing it with family and friends. Each module of 6 images is complemented by the original slides and verses by Manoel de Barros.
Another series showed in the exhibition is Carrazeda+Cariri (2009), which can be thought of as the reverse of Matéria de Poesia. From the outdated slide, which is transformed into digital we move to the digital image that is transformed into a unique portrait through an almost extinct practice, the photo-painting, very popular in Brazil, in the past. Rennó searched the internet for an 18 portrait gallery of the single men from a town in the north of Portugal, Carrazeda de Ansiães, where the presence of women willing to marry is small, as they refuse to continue the hardship of the agricultural lifestyle. These portraits where sent to two photo-painters from Cariri, a Brazilian region where this practice is still active, so that they would crystallize that precise, unique and ultimate moment as a painted portrait. The galleries of portraits were made by masters Jú'9clio and Abdom and the original photographs were done by Eduardo Pinto, Rui Lopes and Rui Martins.
Finally, Rosangela Rennó, presents the artist book 2005-510117385-5. The title refers to the file number of the criminal investigation set-up by the Brazilian police after the theft of 751 photographs from the Brazilian National Library collection, located in Rio de Janeiro, which took place during a workers’ strike in 2005. Three years passed and the investigation still open, only 101 photographs were recovered and reintegrated in the Library’s collection. All of them had been mutilated in an attempt to erase the Library’s property registration marks. The book created by Rennó is a photographic album where one can only see the backs of the photographs. The impossibility of having access to the image is a metaphor for the gap in the Brazilian visual heritage that this theft represents. By choosing historical photographs, in demand in the photography market, the offenders, without record of any imprisoning, stole part of the Brazilian memory which is now left void.