Pinacoteca de Sao Paulo will present, from November 24, 2018 through February 25, 2019, the exhibition Laercio Redondo: Relance, at the Octagon and the exhibition of the collection at the first floor of Pinacoteca. Curated by Fernanda Pitta, the senior curator at the museum, and consulting by American art historian Kaira M. Cabañas, the exhibition proposes to investigate other possible interpretations of the narratives concerning the history of Brazil, told through the museum collection, based on an olfactory experience.
The craft of Laercio Redondo, who lives in both Sweden and Brazil, has long been dedicated to images from the collective memory and certain effacements from Brazilian culture. For Project Octagon, this Paraná-born artist explores the potentialities in an anecdotal story told of Estevão Silva (c.1844-1891)—the first painter of African origin accepted into the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, in Rio de Janeiro—who used to present his still life paintings right next to the fruits he painted so that their smell would be part of the observer's perception.
Based on this strategy, Redondo thought of a way to propose an intervention that explored other possibilities to experiencing art objects than visually. The result is a proposal of an intervention at the Octagon as the starting point of a tour of the museum along which visitors will find 18 displays positioned strategically near works by Anita Malfatti, Almeida Júnior, Claudia Andujar, Maria Martins, and other artists, 8 of them containing odor-coated cards. Visitors will be able to take them home. These olfactory chords were developed through a partnership between the Pinacoteca curator and the German fragrance house, Drom Fragrances, created by the perfumers Cleber Bozzi and Luis Paulo Natividade, with the olfactory direction of Matthieu Ferreira, Renata Abelin and Kelly Medeiros, who are part of the fragrance team and the creative area of the company.
Curator Fernanda Pitta comments that “smell in this work by Laercio Redondo serves as a starting point for stories containing traces, leftovers, effacements, and comebacks to unfold.” She explains that “favoring the sense of smell is a strategy to activate, to free up, other memories, allowing new interpretations. Redondo, who has been working with procedures to erode, turn over, and reshuffle images, this time stretches his iconoclast self to the limit, in an attitude that seemed to him necessary to in a way escape the normalizing power images have.”
With Relance, whose title is borrowed from a song by Caetano Veloso, meaning literally “glance again,” Redondo seeks to provoke a critical deviation to the symbolic value and the meanings commonly assigned to some of the works in the collection. “Hopefully, therefore, the smell will revolve the memory of spectators, shuffle things up and activate a historical experience that turns their perception around, confronting their effacements, made explicit by the images,” Pitta says. The strategy is intended to open up the possibility, based on the reversal of the senses, of new interpretations as well as to spot, by way of the museum’s collection, the gaps in Brazilian narratives.