The works represent a means of escape, while also seizing upon emblematic images of Brazilianness: from beachfronts to the Amazon rainforest, to the urban megacity. In Brazil, both landscape and body have been idealized, either through commodification of “tropical nature,” or via the spectacle of the female body, for instance, in the celebration of samba as defining norms of female sexuality. With a majority of women artists represented, identity, race, gender, and sexuality become either underlying themes or are an integral part of their art-making processes.
For the installation, Pilot City (2018), created specifically for this exhibition, Liene Bosquê produced miniatures of iconic Brazilian architecture, replicated from souvenirs she has collected for years. Bosquê copied the shape of Brasilia’s city plan––one of the world’s most famous modern planned-cities––occupying it with the miniature casts of those familiar monuments. In Pilot City, the problematic aura around modern cityscapes is re-purposed, while in Alice Quaresma’s photographs, it is the memories of tropical beachfronts that are questioned and re-invented. Three of the featured artists have worked in performance, using the female body to reclaim the landscape. In Re-Measuring the Dry Land, Bia Monteiro’s video-performance re-visits Brazil’s colonial past, re-enacting an 18th-century engraving by Carl Friederich Philipp von Martius, a German botanist who travelled throughout Brazil, depicting its landscape. Monteiro’s body and hands are seen measuring trees in the Amazonian rainforest, in gestures of control and delicacy. Julia Pontés visited an abandoned pig iron plant that belonged to her family in Minas Gerais: observing the contours of its ruins, she reclaimed those spaces, photographing her own bare body as if appending it to her family’s past. Jessica Fertonani Cooke, on the other hand, inserted her “ancestral matter” into landscapes in Germany, testing the limits of her body and commenting on her mixed-ancestry.
Gender and sexuality appear in Rodrigo Moreira’s images that tend toward a queer imaginary: in his photographic series, Fusion, he literally freezes prints of found photographs inside ice-cubes and lets them melt, registering the process while blurring gender and family norms; in his All the Names, it is both gender and race that are blurred. On the other hand, in Karla Caprali’s embroideries, she refers to the female universe by mingling images of her daughters, Greek mythology, and feminist symbols, constructing fable-like narratives that suggest female strength. This subtle yet strong female empowerment is seen in other works in the exhibition, such as Maritza Caneca’s cinematographic images of abandoned swimming pools across the world that refer to fraught realms of pleasure; in Women, the idealized female body’s absence becomes a void to be considered. In Julia Brandão’sworks, pieces of fabrics she collects from used clothing––knots and draperies––become mementos of fragmented female identities, establishing a dialogue with works in which agglomeration and fragmentation also appear, such as those of Mateu Valesco’s fantastical human figures or Mauricio Mallet’s colorful reminiscences drawn on paper. Landscapes are abstracted in Talita Zaragoza’sdrawings of resonances, inspired by the topography of volcanos, while Luiz d’Orey uses print residues directly taken from the walls of New York’s public spaces to “digest” them: his new series refer to both physical space and the digital space of social media. In Gustavo Prado’s practice, both our bodies and surroundings are contained by mirrors, in persuasive acts of regarding the self. InLAND+BODY=Escape, the landscape and the body are re-imagined: conflated, or fragmented, parts of blurred, subverted memories.