contemporary ART paradox(es) - FELIPE CAMA – BY ana magalhães AND priscila arantes
This work was created after a visit Felipe Cama made to China. The artist had become interested in the attitude of millions of tourists taking photographs in front of the entrance to the Forbidden City. Even before the selfie fever, Cama was aware of how people relate to the world, how they record their own experience and their memory in it and hoe tourist sites are part of that narrative.
The images here are paintings made from photographs, initially taken by the artist himself, (including himself in front of the gates of the Forbidden City, with the portrait-monument of Mao Zedong), but which were complemented by portraits of people who posted their images on the Internet. By choosing painting as a means of reproducing the originally photographic images, the artist discusses not only the status of the image, but also the idea of authorship. The paintings were commissioned by Cama, through the Internet, to Chinese artists, who are experts in copying any image that are sent to them into painting. China is today the world’s largest economy, placing its products on the international market in a competitive manner, and having grown by imitating and copying foreign technology. Part of this system is the boom of Chinese contemporary art in Western markets. In contrast to this global circulation of contemporary Chinese art, the country is also know for cities like Dafen (in Southern China, near Shenzen), in which local artists off copying great works of Western painting, which can be commissioned online by anyone, and sent by mail. These artists, however, are not seen as their peers who circulate in major international art fairs and exhibitions, but participate in a secondary economy whose circulation of art takes place through copying.
Originally published in the book Contemporary Art Paradox(es), Dialogues between MAC USP’s and Paço das Artes’s Collections - Org. Ana Magalhães and Priscila Arantes, EDUSP publishing, 2018.