Other routes – by Juliana Monachesi
Group show curated by Mario Gioia at Galeria Zipper, in Sao Paulo, investigates land art artists contemporary heritage.
A visit to “Hunting Ground”, at Zipper, immediately provides two insights: 1. contemporary practices that derive from historical land art are more engaged in a visual experience of the viewer within the gallery than in the idea of transformative experience on the outside, and 2. curator Mario Gioia ends up, with this project, as one of the great promises of the young Brazilian curatorship.
Gioia gathered eleven artists around the writings and concepts of Dennis Oppenheim, Michael Heizer and Robert Smithson (1938-1973), “more than a literal transposition of works that intervene on nature”, writes the curator of the show, which closes the 2011 Zip’Up project for young artists season at Zipper gallery.
The exhibition’s title comes from an interview by Oppenheim, in response to a statement by Smithson about the dialect that he established in his works between the outdoors and the gallery: “I think that the outdoor/indoor relationship in my work is more subtle. I don’t really carry a gallery disturbance concept around with me; I leave that behind in the gallery. Occasionally I consider the gallery site as though it were some kind of hunting ground. ”
Estela Sokol, Mariana Tassinari, John Castillo, Marina Camargo, Felippe Moraes, Fernanda Barreto, Manuel Veiga, Felipe Cama, Rachel Versieux, Maura Bresil and Shirley Paes Leme all show, for the most part, photographic works that tackle the dichotomy outdoor space / interior space in different ways.
Whenever the work takes advantage of a real intervention on the landscape, this action tends to be punctual and ephemeral. In all opposed to the geological scale interventions that many land art artists used to do in the 1970s, the gesture of a coloring a snowy landscape (Estela Sokol), stack up a few pieces of land (John Castillo) or circumscribe the blue sky through a circular flare (Felippe Moraes) is much more attuned to the complexity of contemporary thought about the consequences of human action on nature.
Another approach to landscape, and this one possible only because of today’s technological resources is proposed by the work of Fernanda Barreto, Manuel Veiga and Felipe Cama: digital mediation allows artists to record on poetic and conceptual form an extension of landscape unimaginable 40 years ago, creating a stream of water from fragments of images of various rivers captured by Google Earth (Barreto), building an outer space painting with pictures taken by Hubble telescope (Veiga) or by revisiting regions depicted in 19 century paintings through Google Street View (Cama).
Responsible for interesting curatorships in recent years as Presences (Zipper, 2011, which inaugurated the Zip’Up project), Incompleteness (Virgilio Gallery, 2010) and Spatialities (Central Gallery, 2010), Mario Gioia shows versatility and boldness with Hunting Territory because signals to have essential two skills to a curator nowadays – the commitment to a theoretical research and intimacy with the most important production of his own time. Touché.
Originally published in Select magazine (www.select.art.br) on December 3, 2011