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Curated by: Felipe Scovino

Undisciplined narratives

We are facing a repertoire that comprises a mixture of something fast and violent, ironic and dramatic, real and at the same time out of an order that is expected from the images that make up the world in Arthur Arnold's paintings. His works make apparent a power struggle in his most varied representations. His works offer us compelling narratives, but never disciplined, always confused between different ambiguities. Symbolic data or representations as (apparently) disparate as the Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro, Damien Hirst, a shark that makes reference to the classic film of the 80s and his girlfriend posing with a hybrid object, can inhabit on the same screen. between an opener and an African mask. Gradually, these differences find a trajectory, even if diffuse - that unites them, either due to the history of art or something that is surprisingly part of our daily lives, like the voyeur who is always lurking in this time of surveillance and insecurity . But even in this apparent dispersion, Arnold offers us a painting whose vocation is to direct the viewer's gaze and perception precisely to what happens in the world even though this lens is not always as clear as we expect.


However, fundamentally the world is constituted by these ambivalences, fractures and what we thought were inconsistencies. In his paintings, strangeness and difference are the guiding threads of these small narratives that end up interconnecting. The scale of his paintings in a way increases the circumstance of confrontation between spectator and representation. In "Cafezinho na Seu Pereira's house", fetish icons are side by side (the boot, being worn by, say, an eccentric gentleman who appropriately represents at the same time the image of a dominator, in reference to the terrain of sex, and of former "colonels" of the Northeast) and notably erotic (the "relaxed" and at the same time seductive pose of the girl or the woman's nudity) or scenes of violence, visible both in an execution scene carried out by a masked man and in the ambivalent figure of the dog that holds (or points?) a pocketknife. In the end, these narratives end up making a commitment to various representations of power that are spread in the field of sex, violence, domination or politics. Or even the violence can be seen in an inverse of functions as in "Paranoia", when the chickens leave their domestic, passive and feeding function to the human beings and start to attack the students in a violent way in a camping.


What has always been hunting becomes a hunter. And here is an important comment about the object located in the middle of the gallery. Constructed in a handmade way by the artist, it symbolically transfers to the viewer the sensation (or look) of (the) the prey is a victim (in this case, the animals and specifically those represented by Arnold in his paintings) as follows: the predator, using language linked to the discourse on power that interests Arnold so much, he would have a "three-dimensional view", which is that of the spectator or symbolically of the hunter who focuses on the prey and starts to have it in his sights, which would be replaced by " two-dimensional view ", as well as the view of" prey animals "that perceive the world with a side look in relation to things. The viewer who interacts with the object can experience the feeling of being a victim as well as the characters in the paintings in front of him.


In a surreal narrative - the scene still features an airport runway and the propeller of an airplane - Arnold's painting also establishes a chromatic relationship that is beyond common standards. Another deviation or yet another power relationship being exhibited and / or deconstructed by the artist. If the "responsibility" of art is to be a constant enigma, Arnold's painting, even at the beginning of a trajectory, fulfills this function. The different representations of power - their perversities and weaknesses - are there, albeit in a diffuse and not always literal way, to question us about what the world involves.


Felipe Scovino


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