• Paulo Nazareth at Mendes Wood DM (Brazil)

    Installation view, Paulo Nazareth , Mendes Wood DM , April 8-May 13, 2017 

    In the series Produtos do Genocídio (Products of the Genocide) Nazareth examines products and organizations that use names and elements from indigenous cultures. This is a painful reminder of their annihilation and also a posthumous memory. The series invites us to reflect on a genocide that must not be forgotten. Nazareth reminds us that these products do not compensate the violated, decimated and acculturated peoples. Found objects, such as a drink’s bottle called Koikoi, are showcased inside resin boxes and placed on street market stalls. As such, the artist queries the historical oblivion of the issues he raises: where are the Aimoré, the Aimboré or the Botocudo? What about the Tupi-Guarani, the Apache and the Tupinambá? Who were the Quilmes?

    Installation view, Paulo Nazareth , Mendes Wood DM , April 8-May 13, 2017 

    In the next room, the film Ol Ori Buruku is exhibited. The work centers on a Nigerian immigrant who is situated on top of Edifício Itália overlooking São Paulo throwing insults in his Yoruba language. Nazareth raises the issue of an African immigrant who, as a result of tragedy experienced in his homeland, is forced to look for safety outside of his country. But more importantly, this man — like so many others — believed in an idealistic version of a city that promised a future free from the problems of the past. By experiencing the concrete reality of the city that he had idealized, the Nigerian man’s dreams are shattered and he acknowledges his own frustration, breaking away from the death, inequality, and evil that resonates in the struggle against this reality. By off-loading his frustrations, he introduces questions about the separation of African men from their geographic and cultural origins, and diasporas all over the world. His insults are delivered in Yoruba, the language of the first slaves brought from Africa to Brazil. In order to approach a problem of historical proportions, linguistic references unite past and present in a conflict that is full of symbolism. Ol Ori Buruku is an oath in Yoruba that means bad mentality, whilst the word Ori means the essence of being. The question of identity is challenged in terms of its impact on the formation of societies, the urban landscape, and immigrants’ lives. Due to capitalist transformations, these immigrants need to let go of their cultural background in order to adapt to a society that does not allow an individual to preserve his or her full identity.

    Installation view, Paulo Nazareth , Mendes Wood DM , April 8-May 13, 2017 

    At the end of the exhibition, the artist presents the artist presents Bestiary Capital – a series of drawings of animals that are used as logos of products for the market in general – In addition to the drawings, posters of dance balls and events takes place in the poor urban fringe, to which he added white painted circles, such as in Pó de Pemba (Efun). These works are an ironic take on the historical importance of the Brazilian concrete movement and its white, rich, closed social circuit, which as a result of its power, has hidden and marginalized all production existing outside. The circle painted with efun — a white substance made of lime, which for many years was used to paint poor people’s shacks — makes reference to the white spots on a guinea fowl, which are believed to have been made by god Oxala to keep death away. Nazareth confronts both the favela and modernist architecture which still evicts people from their homes, not only geographically but also in all other contexts.

    Installation view, Paulo Nazareth , Mendes Wood DM , April 8-May 13, 2017 

    Installation view, Paulo Nazareth , Mendes Wood DM , April 8-May 13, 2017 

    Installation view, Paulo Nazareth , Mendes Wood DM , April 8-May 13, 2017 

    Installation view, Paulo Nazareth , Mendes Wood DM , April 8-May 13, 2017 

     

    Rua da Consolação 3358, Jardins 01416-000
    Open: 10am-7pm Mon-Sat
    Writing and photography via press release provided by the gallery. 

     

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