Reading time: 2 minutes
Galeria Jaqueline Martins, São Paulo, Brazil
February 3, 2018 – March 24, 2018
The mirror—the object and its result—fascinates Western societies, set between its scientific explanation and the mystery of its distortions. In Western art histories, The Arnolfini Portrait (1434), by Jan Van Eyck, and Las Meninas (1656), by D. Velázquez, rely on this expedient and affirm historical awareness of the representational character of painting as they incorporate, into the interpretational game, both the observer and the maker of the images.
This element and its logic grow more relevant and recurrent during the period in which European surrealismchoosess the double as a manifestation of the merchandise/human objectification fetish pairing to put forth its critique of capitalism, even as it surrenders to this ambiguity of contemporary living. Such recurrence comes across, literarily and visually, through the presence and representation of mirrors, as well as mannequins—near-human in the latter case—that come to life in surrealist dreams and hallucinations.
The notion of double brought about by the mirror was also reconfigured in the Cold War context. Re-elaborated in science fiction pieces, with extraterrestrial enemies and robots representing the enemy of the Western capitalist bloc: the communist as equal, but different. Thus, the double and the mirror helped inform the ways in which uneven cultural differences were conceived of, thereby helping the perpetuation of colonialism. However, the mirror and the double enable the interpretation of those dissimilar relationships by establishing a place in which for gazes to intersect.
Mirroring and difference is the theme of Letícia Parente’s Especular (1978) video, which lent its name to the conceptual section of the exhibit around which featured artworks and artists have been arranged. As a playful, experimental exercise, especular has been rethought as mirror and reflection, as well as in terms of duos, of action and reaction—not only between repeated figures in images, but also in the connections between artists, objects, images, and observers. In those connections, we strove to emphasize similarities and distinctions, clashes, dynamics, and power plays. The mirror as political space. Finally, by conversing with artists and their works, especular points the way to elaborations about the future, to imaginings of other times and spaces.
especular (specular) is the result of dialogical processes—both face-to-face and virtual—between curators Hena Lee, Jaqueline Martins and Mirtes Marins de Oliveira. Theseprocesses seek to approach conceptual and formal relations between different and less-known performance artists—or artists whose works activate performative notions—both historical and contemporary. Inside this context, the exhibition presents itself as a set of questions provoked by the production of artists Ana Mazzei, Hudinilson Jr, Maya Balcioglu, Letícia Parente, Rafael França, Charbel-Joseph H. Boutros, Geumhyung Jeong, Gustavo Torrezan, Linda Montano, Ricardo Basbaum. Artists who develop researches that seek to transgress the established by getting inside ideassuch as the fetish of objects, reification, mirroring of images and actions, and the relationwith the Other.