Marianne North (1830/1890) was a British artist that travelled to dozens of countries documenting the local flora and landscapes. She lived in Brazil between 1872 and 1873, in where would later be called Rio de Janeiro state. Sul x North (2010/2015) series shows reproductions of North's paintings side by side tourist's photos appropriated from the internet, shot from the same places depicted by North.
Mouse over the images below for technical information, click to enlarge.
SUL X NORTH - BY BRUNO DE ALMEIDA
Galeria Leme is pleased to present Felipe Cama's third solo exhibition in the gallery. In "Sul X North" the artist deepens his interest in the digital image, continuing his examination of its ambiguous status as a matrix of visual experience as well as its modes of diffusion, circulation, reproduction and consumption.
In this new series, the computer-internet binomial remains the central axis of the work, both from an instrumental point of view and also as a source of raw material for the work. The exhibition is not only about the possibilities and limitations of the nature of digital and electronic media, but also questions the problem of representation of images from art history through these same channels.
To better articulate this parallel between two forms of image production and presentation, Felipe Cama focuses, on the one hand, on the work of travelling artist Marianne North (1830-1890), and on the other, the artist appropriates several photos from anonymous tourists, posted on the internet.
North, an English naturalist and botanist, was a pioneer woman for her time. A travelling artist, she began her excursions in 1871, first going to Canada, United States and Jamaica, and finally living in Brazil for a year, where she worked in a cabin inside the forest. The artist made numerous paintings depicting the landscape of nineteenth century Rio de Janeiro, carefully representing the vegetation and the landscape, which gradually underwent changes made by the human settlements.
Despite the alterations of the landscape, over more than two centuries, the artist was so accurate in her choice of images, that today we can very often find the same views on the photos of many tourists who passed by Rio de Janeiro.
Though they have completely different ontologies, both ways of recording reality, when encountered on the Internet, are presented as digital files, quickly circulated on the network and available for consumption. Even unique works, such as paintings, end up being stripped of their materiality to move through the system in the form of digitized images. So, they are not distinguishable from the prosaic photos taken today, and are also consumed as a substitute for the genuine experience of being in front of a canvas or admiring a beautiful landscape.
After appropriating these images, the artist does not adulterate the "original". However, he overlaps them with a geometric mesh that accentuates the simulated effect of synthesized images. Homogenizing them as pixels (forming particles of the digital image).
The exhibition features a group of 11 polyptychs, which make up a set of about 90 images in total. Through this excess, the artist intends to represent the implications of the flood of information that we handle after the arrival of the internet, while making a parallel with the way Marianne North's works are permanently displayed in her gallery in Kew Gardens, Great Britain, which fill the entire walls of the space.
Text for the exhibition Sul x North, Galeria Leme, São Paulo. August 2015.