Ana Dias Batista (Brazil, 1978) creates a site-specific work that underlines the tensions and contradictions of the relationship between the gallery’s building and the city. She intervenes directly on the border between public and private space, namely in the main facades of the building and in the courtyard between them.
Over the set of pichações (distinctive street writing found in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), drawings and writings that have been accumulated over time in the gallery’s blind facades, the artist adds another painting that is commonly found around town. The language is graffiti and the motif is that of a wall of stones. A type of drawing that is usually commissioned by people wishing to curb unwanted paintings on the walls of their properties. Unlike the pichação, such graffiti is legally permitted and socially accepted. Thus, one type of language is strategically used to avoid a congener, playing with a code of conduct that exists between those who paint (legally or illegally) the walls of the city. The wall commissioned by Dias Batista, despite its formal similarities with others, seems to operate according to another logic. It is late in avoiding any kind of illicit writing and seems to coexist on an equal basis with them. When it is interrupted by the gallery’s courtyard this two-dimensional wall is transformed and broken up in numerous concrete road obstacles that are distributed over the floor of the patio, which despite being open to the city is usually used as private parking. But such obstacles also do not seem to fulfill their original function of ordering and limiting automobile traffic. Their quantity is excessive, their positioning is illogical and redundant and they do not impede the circulation of vehicles in that area