As part of Camden Council’s annual arts programme, Camden Sentido, three Brazilian artists were invited by PIVÔ, an art gallery in São Paulo, to take part in an inaugural international exchange project. Swiss Cottage Gallery plays host to these international artists while PIVÔ hosted Frieze Art Fair (based in Camden every October) during this year’s São Paulo Biennale, all as part of Camden Sentido’s wider programme. All the works here on display by Albuquerque, de Barros and Cavalli contemplate the body and language, or the language of the body.
To coincide with the Para/Olympic Games and Sao Paulo Biennale, Camden Council's 2016 Annual Arts Programme is inspired by Brazil, textile of place and global / local thinking.
This programme is called Camden Sentido. Built around our senses and wellbeing, Camden Sentido embodies the street spirit of Brazil with the street spirit of Camden.
In September, Pivô, Camden Arts Council and Frieze accomplished a two-step partnership: in São Paulo, in parallel with the Biennial, they provided a platform for discussion on mycology and a performance in the context of Mycorial Theatre Project; at the present time, in Swiss Cottage Art Gallery inside of the program Camden Sentido, they present the show “Laughter and Tears Have no Accent”, that display three Brazilian artists, whose works raise questions related to body and language, or more accurately the body languages.
The group show “Laughter and Tears Have no Accent” brings together works of three Brazilian artists, Cibelle Cavalli Bastos, Daniel Albuquerque and Lenora de Barros, that under the curatorship of Fernanda Brenner, reflect on the languages of the body when words are insufficient. Laughter and crying, as rudimentary forms of communication, are the first bonds we have with outside world. Both one and the other are ways to transmit emotions restricted only to the human species, although other animals can have watery eyes or show their teeth. By laughing or crying we establish ties that don’t depend on verbal communication, either on definitions of identity, beliefs or nationality. From the perspective of this ‘pre-language’ dimension, the show examines what essentially makes us human.
Based on this discussion, the three artists exhibit works that undertake the body as the essential vehicle for consistent communication. Cibelle Cavalli Bastos, who usually works with vocal performances, presents on this occasion a series of watercolours painted ‘on the move’ in several locations where the artist lived between 2008 and 2014. Daniel Albuquerque displays a composition of small ceramic sculpture, all of them new works, produced in 2016. His “quasi-bones”, or quasi-images”, according to the curator, are objects that lay in the threshold of recognizable forms, holding a delicate tension in the room. Lenora de Barros, artist and poet know for her work with visual poetry and videotexts since 1970’s, takes part in the exhibition with the poem ri-chora (1976), in a new verbivocovisual version (James Joyce’s expression appropriate by the Brazilian concrete poetry group to denote the production of poems in different media and technical means). The artist vocalizes the words of the poem – laughing and crying onomatopoeia – whose spelling is the same but due the artists’ interpretation, the subtle difference between laughter and sobbing becomes noticeable. Ri-chora works as an incidental soundtrack that conducts the relationships between the works on view and with the visiting public.
From the perspective of what we have in common, this exhibition proposes a reflection on what pulls us away from each other. Taking into account the paradox of the incommunicability between people and governments in an era with unprecedented access to information, the artworks exhibited here reiterate the essence of human relations: contact and coexistence. In such complex times, collective work is vital. We see the visual arts as the ideal environment to deepen discussions and understand what is at stake when dangerous decisions are made by governments across the world. With this in mind, Pivô, Frieze and Camden Council embarked in this joint venture, connecting London and São Paulo.