Jonathas de Andrade exhibition highlights desire and sexuality – 09/22/2022 – Illustrated

Jonathas de Andrade exhibition highlights desire and sexuality – 09/22/2022 – Illustrated
Jonathas de Andrade exhibition highlights desire and sexuality – 09/22/2022 – Illustrated

“Recife / Not the American Venice / Not the Mauritsstad of the West Indies shipowners / Not the Recife of the Peddlers / Not even the Recife that I learned to love later”, wrote Manuel Bandeira in the introduction to “Evocação do Recife”, 1925.

In the first verse, the name of the city planes alone on the page, being followed by three negations. Bandeira said “no” to the epitomes of the capital of Pernambuco until he found the “Recife without anything else / Recife of my childhood”.

The poet resorted to the intimacy of the first years of his life to define that city of accidental geography, a plain between beaches and rivers surrounded by mangroves. Almost a hundred years after the poem’s publication, the landscape is almost the same for an artist who lives there.

The installation “Ressaca Tropical”, which is part of the retrospective of Jonathas de Andrade’s 15-year career, now at the Pinacoteca de São Paulo, reveals that the movement of the tide can give beauty or destruction to the floodplain.

Andrade says “yes” to the fracture of the city. If the geographical design has changed little over time, there the rupture is not limited to the break between the first and second verses of the Bandeira’s composition. Evoking the present, he denounces a modernization project incompatible with the tropical reality of the Brazilian Northeast. Recife de Andrade mirrors the behavioral revolution of the last decade, which coincided with the beginning of his artistic career.

Curated by Ana Maria Maia, the exhibition “Jonathas de Andrade: O Rebote do Bote” questions the interventions of modern architecture, one of the results of the 1922 Week, which left a material and political heritage in the city between the 1940s and 1970s. .

“This project was both power and ruin”, says Andrade, walking through the exhibition rooms. “There is nostalgia in my eyes, but I also know that this whole urban project was captured by a sense of class.” The retrospective also includes the unpublished work “Museu da Caravana” and “Teatro das Heroínas de Tejucupapo”, never shown in the country.

Conceived 13 years ago, “Ressaca Tropical”, released as a book by publishing house Ubu in 2016, articulates 99 photographs from four files to pages from a diary found in the trash by a friend of the artist. The exuberance of the city can be seen in the black and white images by photojournalist Alcir Lacerda.

In the aerial shots, the tension between nature and the city appears with the violence of buildings that confront the natural space. The old Sudene building, a developmental body created in 1959 by Getúlio Vargas, also appears imposing, but abandoned.

Below, a whole narrative unfolds in the diary of an anonymous boy, in his “first enlightenment”, as that poem says. In the pages of a diary from the 1970s, we come into contact with the author’s first loves, existential crises and student rants. It is not by chance that one of the photographic archives recovers scenes from the youth of a boy, bringing an autobiographical air to the installation.

In those scenes, the boy appears in endless summer days. Surrounded by friends, he’s sunk in the pool, the sun cutting the water to the deepest blue. Following the white wall, a group of young people gather on a hot night. Cheerfully, they organize a party in a living room. Meanwhile, we read in the diary passages such as “I went with Rosa Maria at the Art Palácio cinema” or just “I ended my relationship with Zeca”.

As far as we know, the author of the diary had a monotonous job, had relationships with several girls and went out secretly with boys. Andrade, in any case, is not from Pernambuco. He was born in 1982 in Maceió and moved to Recife to attend college, living there for 20 years. With a rapid rise in the art circuit, he participated in this year’s edition of the Venice Biennale, exhibiting interactive sculptures.

From the memories of the hometown, two works remain. “O Clube”, from 2010, features four photos of the Alagoas Yacht Club, a meeting point for the local aristocracy in the 1970s. The establishment has been closed since 1990, but its ruined structure is occupied by drug users and prostitutes. on calm sea days.

The artist went down to the basement of the building to portray the meeting of the sea with the stilts. In the photos of “Maré”, from 2014, the water that recedes or floods serves as a metaphor for the desires enlivened inside the club. In this coming and going, the study of human sexuality and the affirmation of homoeroticism mature as a libertarian force of artistic creation.

In the work “Achados e Perdidos”, completed this year, he covers a platform with hydraulic tiles, a typical coating for swimming pools, where dozens of male hips made of terracotta, dressed in swimwear found by the artist in changing rooms in Recife, sit.

Then, the viewer is faced with some scenes from the 1959 film “O Mestre de Apipucos”, filmed by Joaquim Pedro de Andrade. In it, Gilberto Freyre strolls through his mansion in the capital of Pernambuco and reads a book by Manuel Bandeira. Freyre had commissioned the poet to write “Evocacao do Recife”, on the occasion of the centenary of the Diário de Pernambuco. “It’s the greatest thing about the lyrical geography of Brazil”, said, at the time, the author of “Casa-Grande & Senzala”, from 1933.

Subverting the social hierarchy of that time, Jonathas de Andrade plays a video alongside “O Mestre de Apipucos”, in which a black man appears toweringly, imitating Freyre’s steps in that same mansion. Ironically, “O Caseiro”, from 2016, highlights the elitist point of view of the interpretation of Brazilian society that the writer had imagined.

In love with ruins, Andrade saw the progressive abandonment of the certainties of Brazilian modernism. In recent years, he himself has visited vacant lots in Recife, documenting houses in the architectural style being demolished with a camera. In these images, the artist found traces of an old order, which are located between nostalgia and the rejection of the past.

As the photos of “Ressaca Tropical” faded, according to the artist, only the ruins of the modernist utopia remained. There remains the expectation for the future and the awareness, latent in Andrade, that all time will be just memory. “Recife/ Rua da União/ My grandfather’s house…/ I never thought it would end!/ Everything there seemed impregnated with eternity”, wrote Bandeira.

The article is in Portuguese

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