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Boatos Fine Arts, São Paulo, Brazil
February 18, 2017 – April 13, 2017
Curated by Attilia Fattori Franchini
Boatos Fine Arts presents Céu Torto an exhibition by Brazilian artist Marcelo Cipis and New York artist Hayley Silverman.
Inviting two artists from different generations and geographies, Céu Torto explores their shared interest into popular storytelling as tool to understand how identity and power are exercised in culture through referencing Hollywood cinema, 1960’s musicals, utopian literature, whilst introducing viewers to deeper themes and meanings. Love, death, sorrow are reenacted through non-human characters and familiar symbols, used as devices for collective subjectivity.
Marcelo Cipis exhibits a series of paintings from 1990’s featuring everyday figures as animals, fruit and pop elements, represented in defining moments of happiness or sorrow. Anger faces emerge from strawberries, grinding smiles appear on cringy hearts. Objects from the project Cipis Transworld originally conceived for the 21ª Bienal Internacional de São Paulo , in 1991, are also dispersed in th e gallery. Cipis Transworld was the transformation of the individual into a corporation imagined by the artist in all its aspects. The installation included artists products, soaps, cigars, butter, all self branded with the name of the artists, packaging, letterheads, and display props, appropriating corporate aesthetics whilst also representing a subverted vision of capitalism.
Hayley Silverman presents the latest in her roving series of ‘dog plays’, in which untrained canine actors take the role of characters pantomiming human fables of authority and control. Crooked Sky a dog play featuring two songs from the stage musical Camelot, is a retelling of the Arthurian myth that experienced both Broadway and Hollywood iterations during the political tumult of the 1960s. While the dogs in King Arthur’s court wonder “what the simple folk do”, a band of peasants —chickens pecking at the ground— present a darker, perhaps wiser, speculation about the King. Silverman performances investigate what happens once we start to project stories, dialogues and emotions onto animals. The plays fall into a tradition of mythologies and fables which sees animals as main protagonists and beholders of affectivity, whilst also de-contextualising our attachment to cultural artefacts and to the human body. Silverman’s plays unsettles our own understanding of identity and power by bringing to life diverse socio-historical perspectives, cultural tones and species, in constant balance between chaos and control, affection and absurdity.