Magazine article Artforum International

Laercio Redondo: CASA FRANCA-BRASIL

Magazine article Artforum International

Laercio Redondo: CASA FRANCA-BRASIL

Article excerpt

With his exhibition "Contos sem Reis" (Tales with No Kings), Laercio Redondo examined the history and symbols of Brazilian national identity in order to suggest not only what these exclude from official memory but also how such competing memories might have purchase on our understanding of the present. On entering the main hall of Casa Franca-Brasil (CFB), one first saw a scaffold-like structure built from thin wooden rods. This work, Ponto Cego (Blind Spot), 2013, nearly forty feet long and thirteen feet high, which Redondo produced with his longtime collaborator and the exhibition's architect, Birger Lipinski, was situated at an oblique angle to the neoclassical building's main axis. As one walked past it, the spelling of the word REVOLVER eventually emerged from the virtual volumes and planes created by the armature. In Portuguese, the word means "to turn over," as if excavating in the ground. A sound piece that reverberated throughout the space seemed to explicate this idea: "We are the updated versions of the foolishness of buried pasts." Redondo thus implores us to reread the present through history.

In an adjacent gallery, Venda--logo da memoria falha (Sale--Faulty Memory Game), 2013, a work using a multilayered silk-screen process applied to nine plywood panels, presented images of street sellers by the nineteenth-century painter and printmaker jean-Baptiste Debret on one side and Redondo's own photographs of itinerant beach vendors on the other. One could recognize parallel gestures across the two surfaces but could not see both at once. Yet the stakes of this memory game go further: While Debret depicted the customs of African slaves in ways that reveal social relations of domination in colonial and imperial Brazil, Redondo's documentation of corporeal posture as an expressive form suggests that similar inequalities persist today. In the same gallery stood Paisagem impressa (Printed Landscape), 2013, seventy-seven stools that when assembled form two panoramic landscapes of Rio by Debret. …

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