One of the most renowned performance artists in the world is about to leave another mark on the Brazilian artistic scene. Marina Abramović inaugurates tomorrow, January 3rd, her new monumental work at Usina de Arte, an artistic and botanical park that extends over 33 hectares, located in the district of Usina Santa Terezinha, in Água Preta, in the Zona da Mata Sul of Pernambuco .
Entitled “Generator”, the work stands out for the imposing black wall with impressive dimensions: 25 meters long, 3 meters high and 2.5 meters wide, which can be seen at one of the elevated ends of the Plant. Furthermore, the installation incorporates large quartz stones from Minas Gerais, with the aim of promoting public interaction with crystals and their energy. “At this moment of turbulent human history, we live in a time of war, violence, poverty and warming of our planet. Rapid technical development has moved us away from nature and we have lost the ability to use intuition, telepathy and remember our dreams. We have lost our spiritual center. The function of the ‘Generator’ is not just that of a sculpture. It is intended for public interaction with crystals and their energy, in the hope of restoring our ability to connect with nature through stillness and presence in the here and now”, says Abramović, who believes that rapid technological development has taken away the people of the ecosystem and deprived them of the ability to use intuition, telepathy and remember their dreams.
“Generator” is not just a work to be seen, but to be experienced. Inspired by “The lovers – The Great Wall Walk” [Os amantes – A caminhada da grande muralha]a performance performed by Abramović with his then companion and German artist Ulay at the Great Wall of China in 1988, the work invites the visitor to follow a path until reaching the wall, evoking a journey of pilgrimage and introspection that echoes the experience lived by the former couple.
Additionally, Marina Abramović has a long history of spiritual research in Brazil, as evidenced in her documentary Space Beyond – Marina Abramović and Brazil, released in 2016, available on Amazon Prime. The film follows the artist’s journey through different manifestations of spiritual power in Brazilian culture, including the rituals of Vale do Amanhecer, shamanism in Chapada Diamantina, Candomblé in Bahia and the crystals of Minas Gerais. This experience further enriched his connection with the country and his investigations into the healing potential of Brazilian minerals.
In the heart of Pernambuco’s Zona da Mata Sul, you will find Usina de Arte, an innovative project designed by Ricardo and Bruna Pessôa de Queiroz that combines an open-air contemporary art museum with a lush botanical garden. Since its creation in 2015, Usina de Arte has become a true catalyst for socioeconomic transformation for more than 6 thousand people who live in its surroundings, in the village of Santa Terezinha. Activities that promote education, culture, environmental resilience and entrepreneurship are the pillars that support this notable initiative.
The community of Santa Terezinha shares its name with the old Usina Santa Terezinha, whose history dates back to 1929, when it was founded under the direction of the Pessôa de Queiroz family. In less than two decades, the plant became the largest producer of alcohol and sugar in Brazil in the 1950s, with an impressive infrastructure that included a hangar, more than 100 kilometers of railways, 21 locomotives and more than a hundred of wagons for logistics in the sugar and alcohol sector. However, in 1998, the plant faced a serious crisis that led to the closure of its grinding activities.
Almost 75 years after its peak in sugar and alcohol production, Usina de Arte is witnessing a new chapter in its history, one that is no longer related to the transformation of sugar cane into industrial products. Today, Usina de Arte’s harvests are related to a new vision, which values culture, education and sustainability in the Brazilian Northeast.
One of the most visible initiatives carried out by the current enterprise is the constant reforestation work. By the end of 2022, approximately 35 hectares have already received around 10 thousand plants of more than 600 different species. However, the artistic-botanical park is just a visible part of the wide range of support provided to the village of Santa Terezinha and the municipalities of Água Preta (PE) and Campestre (AL). Among these initiatives, the music school, the library and the public knowledge center stand out, with a valuable literary collection. In addition, Usina de Arte has the FabLab, equipped with computer terminals connected to the internet, 3D printers and laser cutters, available for community projects. There are also partnerships with local school units to promote new pedagogical practices.
With a surprising sculpture park outside the Rio – São Paulo axis, its collection brings together more than 40 works by local, Brazilian and international contemporary names and currently curated by Marc Pottier. The resident artists work in collaboration with the Usina teams and the residents of Santa Terezinha, creating their works directly on site. For the creators, this approach avoids the simple accumulation of works of art and, instead, offers visitors the opportunity to rethink the history of slavery, indigenous cultures, African influence, ecological issues and the different plantations of Northeast Brazil. . The result is an experience that expands cultural boundaries and challenges the way we see and understand the past and present.
Among the various artists who have contributed to the enrichment of the park, names such as Regina Silveira, Artur Lescher, Iole de Freitas, Alfredo Jaar, Paulo Bruscky, Denise Milan, Matheus Rocha Pitta, Juliana Notari, Flávio Cerqueira, Bené Fonteles, stand out. Frida Baranek, Julio Villani, Saint Clair Cemin and Liliane Dardot just to name a few.
In 2021, the Botanical Artistic Park gained attention both nationally and internationally, when the work “Diva”, by Juliana Notari, was installed. The sculpture, which represents a 33 meter long vulva, provoked heated debates and generated repercussions in different spheres. In addition to the symbolism of the vulva, the execution of the work was also the subject of discussions.
generator [Gerador]site-specific by Marina Abramović
Opening: February 3, 2024
Location: Usina de Arte