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Curated by: Paula Borghi

State of Siege and the instrument through which the Head of State temporarily suspends citizens' rights and guarantees, legislative and judicial powers are submitted to the executive, all as a measure of defense of public order. For the decree of the state of siege, the Head of State, after hearing the Council of the Republic and the National Defense Council, submits the decree to the National Congress in order to effect it. This decision can be made with a maximum term of 30 (thirty) days, except in cases of war, as it may accompany the duration of the war. It can also be enacted in extreme cases of serious threat to the democratic constitutional order or public calamity. (Arts. 137 to 141 of the CF).


Wouldn't we be living in a State of Siege?


This is the question that accompanies us since the demonstrations in June 2013 until today, a period in which protest seems to have become a crime. The police are coercive, the protesters are treated as vandals and the police branch alleges a “state of exception” to circumvent the constitution.


It is on this scenario that Arthur Arnold presents the exhibition Estado de Sitio, speaking with images of protest, violence, inequality, discrimination, abuse of power, symbolic mutations, oppression and criminality. It is a painting and painting exhibition, by an artist who lives and works in the same context as his images. Direct reflection of the streets of Rio de Janeiro, a wonderful city that hosted the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, or rather, a city of sex tourism, overpricing of public works, expropriation of slums, protesters arrested for forming a gang in an emerging, underdeveloped country, marked by corruption, political maladministration and unilateral interests.

Arnold presents us with a production that intensely explores both the political and pictorial layers of art. These are paintings that encourage the viewer to reflect on what many prefer to “close their eyes”. Works that conquer the viewer through their formal excellence (composition, color and gesture), to then incite a conceptual and brutal meditation of what is seen inside and outside the art gallery.


There is a direct relationship between what the artist lives, paints and presents. His research begins on the street, looking at the public space in search of living models, objects, light and architecture. Subjects that in a second moment are transposed to the canvas, sometimes in acrylic paint and sometimes in oil paint, like mental collages that overlap images one after another until they reach the limit between fiction and reality. For if we live in the linear of being in a State of Siege or not, this ambivalence remains latent in the exhibition.


Paula Borghi


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