Sapar Contemporary is currently showcasing Bruno Miguel’s collection ‘Seduction and Reason’. While taking a look at Miguel’s work, which is influenced by Tropicália and postwar Pop, we see that his themes are a lot more narrow in the sense that they attempt to portray the Brazilian culture in its nativity, as seen by Miguel. There is a vague, chaotic diffusion of colors which seems as if they were thrown together at random. It is quite probable that Miguel is trying to portray the diversity of Brazil and the vividness which merges the history with the contemporary, one of his attempt being to revive those elements of culture which are so ordinary that they often never find a representation in arts.
Miguel’s collection is also naturalistic to the extent that he records the impressions and objects as he sees them without trying to classify or differentiate them into different categories. However, it is not completely naturalistic because what Miguel portrays is not exactly like the natural objects from which that piece of art has been imitated. It is in a different, mostly distorted version from its counterpart in reality. There are natural objects as well as man-made cultural customs which Miguel draws on. For instance, we can see a resemblance to islands and trees in his collections but they appear so only on a primitive level. The colors and forms he gives to these natural entities are barely like what one may find in reality and oddly, one may also find some man-made object like a cup juxtaposed with these natural entities. By doing so, Miguel is trying to bring all the distinctive elements which have impressed upon him as a part of his national identity together in the same frame without actually having to first be able to make sense of each of them separately.
When one looks at this collection, it doesn’t strike one to be particularly Brazilian as the elements portrayed can as well be found in the past and present of any other native cultures. But after knowing about Miguel’s personal background and his passions, it becomes clear that he is trying to arouse nostalgia and bring the local and traditional past and present to attention. When one sees his multicolored cups, one may wonder what they are supposed to mean other than the explicit diffusion of varied colors. But by these, Miguel attempts to portray the family customs that have been a part of his native traditions which need to be looked at from the local perspective. Various everyday objects are used to bring out a theme which attempts at portraying abstract political and cultural narratives but which ultimately bring forth the most particular elements which could as well have been recorded from one’s range of the moment impressions. The title of the collection ‘Seduction and Reason’ may as well be seen as an irony because these works attempt to seduce not as much by reason as they do by evoking fragile memories, senses, and feelings which members of a community share with the most primal, native and as everyday culture of that land.
Bruno Miguel: Seduction and Reason at Sapar Contemporary
September 29 – November 5, 2017
Photographs provided by the gallery