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Curated by: Victor Gorgulho
12|09|21 - 01|08|22

At first glance, everything seems like theater and staging in the work of Viviane Teixeira. "O Banquete" (The Feast), the artist's solo exhibition that opens the Galeria Movimento space in the Gávea neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, brings together a set of about fifteen recent works, mostly paintings made in recent years, from 2018 to now, along with a group of works made on paper, finished with old frames garnered by the artist at fairs and the like. 


The dimension of theatricality in her artistic production, which began in the first decade of the 2000s, seems to reach here both its apex and a turning point. In her current body of work, Teixeira continues to evidence an interest in the narrative of a court theater, in the mise-en-scène of the social dynamics of an ancient and outdated aristocracy, even if never identified temporally or spatially.


What we see is the construction of environments and scenarios inhabited by characters that seem to subvert the logic of hegemonic historical narratives, inviting us to watch, as in the audience of a theater, scenes that are apparently prosaic, but imbued with high doses of humor and pastiche, insight and acidity. Situations and characters capable of reflecting on themselves and questioning their origins and dysfunctionalities at the same time. An absurd and abundant theater: in color, volume, and form.


Where before we would naturally see male figures reproducing the dynamics of the social life of an outdated (and today impossible) court, we are presented here with female figures toasting with their phalluses, celebrating the hard-won utopian sovereignty in a society still deeply marked by patriarchy, in its triumph and downfall.


Built from thick layers of acrylic paint, they appear thick, affirmative; figures that claim places once denied to themselves, aware of the endless obstacles that were reserved for them until they reach the desired protagonism on stage (and in life, so why not?). Such robust use of material resources by the artist - where the paint reveals itself in various reliefs and twists - further deepens the sense of staging at play in her works.


We are faced with an ingenious process of farce and bluff, where we are constantly reminded that what we see is the fruit of pictorial matter, sculpted on canvases of different scales and sometimes presented in old frames, garnered by the artist in antique shops and the like. If at first we seem to be launched into a look about yesterday, into scenes from a time past and today buried in its many contradictions, we soon understand that we are in fact being led to trans-temporal universes, where distinct layers of temporalities blend and merge. Do they merge? We ask ourselves.


In his famous 2006 essay, "What is the Contemporary?", Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben argues:


Contemporary is the one who keeps his gaze fixed on his time, to perceive in it not the lights, but the dark. (...). One can only say contemporary is the one who doesn't let himself be blinded by the lights of the century and manages to glimpse in them the part of the shadow, its intimate obscurity. (...) It is as if that invisible light, which is the darkness of the present, cast its shadow on the past, and the latter, touched by that torch of shadow, acquired the ability to respond to the darkness of the now."


Perhaps that is where the maximum power of the artist's production resides: launching herself into a delicate sewing between a gaze focused on other times, without abandoning her incessant search for reflecting on current times. After all, what is to be contemporary if not a sharp ability to look at your own time and, with a certain distance, also glimpse it, analyze it, without ceasing to belong to it in its entirety?


In this temporal game, Teixeira's paintings, however, constantly remind us of the materiality of the paint, of the surface of the canvases, of the multiple and mutant capacities of the materials to seduce and hook us, either by their excess or by their tactile, extra-sensorial dimension. Her " feast", sometimes, flirts with the unsuspected tinglings caused by virtual images, abundant nowadays, thirsty for causing us real, physical effects. A foolish, insensitive attempt by programmed machines. Here, we are always before the physical, concrete matter - in texture, contour, and voluptuousness. Painting and presence, irreplaceable fruition in the chaos of a diffuse era of extreme, frayed visibilities.


Teixeira drinks - inebriates herself! - from yesterday always looking at the present. The contemporaneity of her painting is typical of artists who seek to dig into their own time, without ever reminding us, of course, of the complex game of representation without which painting would not be possible. Like in the farcical bolero of the 1970s by the Puerto Rican composer Tite Curet Alonso, Viviane Teixeira's paintings seem to whisper to us: “perdona que no te crea… me parece que es... teatro”.

Victor Gorgulho

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