Esquizópolis

This was kind of a synopsis of this exhibition I saw in Brazil. I liked it a great deal.

Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia (MAM-BA) and Museu Náutico da Bahia

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The melding of production and consumption lead Deleuze and Guatarri to define our condition as schizophrenic; this exhibition uses the term to describe the simultaneous production of and consumption of the city space itself. “Ezquizópolis” is a play on the words schizophrenia and soteropolitano – the term for residents of Salvador. Divided between their modern art museum – a former chapel and customs house on the water, adjacent to more recently constructed shanty houses – and a nautical museum wihtin an iconic tourist site, the exhibition at once displays recently award-winning local art, while placing them in a conceptual framework.

The works are of a generally autobiographical nature. ¨Autopoeisis¨ by Ricardo Alvarenga consists of photos of the performance artist’s hair, as mask, as face, in a tongue cheek joke on the works’ title. Aécio Bustos records himself in a faux vintage video yawning at the screen in a clown nose. Rosa Bunchaft more directly intervenes on the beachside metropolis in a video installation: scaffolding and construction nets cover a recorded performance of a bride in a white gown walking through densely populated urban areas, often to the befuddlement of passersby. Zé de Rocha utilizes a traditional firework recently prohibited called a dueling sword – a spinning rod that shoots long streams of sparks – to create whirling brown burns on a eggshell color canvas printed with the topless body of the would-be enthusiast.

The most interesting work however is camouflaged in the kitschy lighthouse  museum. Gaio Matos places a video of a snail leaving its shell – painted with a house blueprint – neatly behind wooden steering wheels. Scupltor Vauluízo Bezerra hides a long fantastical bone in its own vitrium alongside skeletons and antique diving suits.

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