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Curated by: Maurício Barros de Castro
03|25|23 - 04|29|23


In recent times, discussions around the Anthropocene have strongly interested Edu Monteiro. Perhaps because the artist has realized that the concept, mainly approached by anthropologist Bruno Latour, intertwines the paths he has been traveling over the years, which could initially suggest opposite directions. This is the case of the routes he traced through the Aparados da Serra in southern Brazil and Martinique in the Caribbean.

The first route resulted in the award-winning series Vertical Landscape, which won the XVI Marc Ferrez Award in 2021. The second route involved his doctoral thesis in the Arts Postgraduate Program at the State University of Rio de Janeiro and the creation of the series Island-Terreiro. Two itineraries, two series that intersect and make sense together, permeated by the powerful perspective of the Anthropocene.

Bruno Latour warns that there is no other frontier to reach, no other territory to be conquered, and no possible escape, contrary to what global magnates have been trying to prove insistently. Leaving the “space”, assuming the condition of being earthbound, and facing the earth as the only place to be recovered from the “state of war - the defining trait of the Anthropocene,” in Latour’s words, is the only way out.

Sharp stone, in Tupi-Guarani, is called Itaimbezinho, the name of one of the canyons Edu Monteiro dove into to create the Vertical Landscape series. Sharp stone also corresponds to the African diaspora, a resistance circle to the Anthropocene, a cult to the entities of nature and the preservation of their ancestral knowledge, in contrast to the calls for modernization that mark these times of destruction.

Sharp Stone, the exhibition of 24 works by Edu Monteiro, including sculptural objects, draws a precise cut in this discussion. It is not about bringing two series together, but showing how they are intertwined in the Anthropocene in which we live, proposing various interventions in both the vertical landscapes formed by the canyons in southern Brazil and the waters of the Black Atlantic constituted by the African diaspora.

In the artist’s works, photography is the guiding thread, a language that constitutes the images of Vertical Landscape and Island-Terreiro. Iron frames, firmly worked as constituent parts of the works, appear as interweavings of the two series, present in both the Vertical Landscape photographs printed on stone, this time supported by iron structures, and in the experimentation of printing images on leather that are part of Island-Terreiro. Makeshift solutions, on the other hand, broaden the repertoire of this series, such as the emblematic boxes that, interconnected by wires on a wall and backlit, connect images of the African diaspora, of black bodies that recreate masks that perform the Afro-diasporic experience.

Sharp Stone provides the connection between diverse perspectives of the Anthropocene, giving coherence to a restless trajectory in which art offers the ways. In his artistic journey, Edu Monteiro observes the collapse of many of them and the sculptures that geology creates, such as the composition of stones that the artist recorded as sculptures and that, far from any museum, is no longer accessible, its access path collapsed by the speed of geological transformation that haunts those who live in the Anthropocene. It is this haunting that Edu Monteiro shares with the earthbound, through his images, precariously balanced in a powerful combination of lights, shadows, body, leather, foliage, masks, rock, and iron.


Maurício Barros de Castro

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