Reading time: 3 minutes
Centro Municipal de Arte Hélio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
August 3, 2019 – September 28, 2019
Contemporary art shifts certainties about art. More than 70 years later, the feeling still seems to be the same for the public. What does the artist do? Beauty? Criticism? Politics? Finally, where is the artist here? What is art, academic research or political action? It is not what it is. It is and it is not. It is and it is too. Above all, Laura Burocco shouts that the artist is an alert. Among other things, you can say what the artist does. The artist is aware of the minimum, which seems almost abstract. The artist applies a microscopic obsession that in the encounter with the completed work it seems that has always been explicit.
The obsession that gives place to the “ready-made” work is a manual work of selection, articulation, refinement, and encounter: with the living, the dead, and what is not there—the delicate operation that extends for six years, which is updated and continues. It is a performance about space, but about time, perception, and losing and getting back in touch with the real. About doubting and inviting to doubt, to the point of going beyond civilized limits and coercing to doubt: are you sure about what you see? Or where is it? What’s going on here? Or the relationships that connect you with what is here?
This large installation seems unmasking at first glance, but it also masks again with the forge that consciously was chosen. That’s what draws Laura’s research from the academic field to become art. It acts on the now while it awakens. This action can and must be repeated, because the past can only be thought by the now. Every now must rewrite the past and must project the next ones—something that can only happen by doubting this now.
It is from the city that Laura invents, and it is perhaps the greatest object of materialization of human relations: from the Western tradition that comes from the Greek agora of classical antiquity to the nuisance of the aimless multitudes of the last few centuries. Monumental works that manage the city and lives through urban planning builds, destroys and builds again.
Because of the sudden phenomenon of social media in the last decade, as well as the elaboration of spaces aimed to segment housing and circulation, human relations increasingly occur locked in walls. From study to work. This technique is being adapted to serve the hegemonic world project. The presence of the Greek agora in the imagination as almost a founding myth of impossible democracy, which elects few as citizens, can be reversed to the founding myth of politics. Politics is made in the city because without encounters, without melee, there is no politics.
The successful struggle to create space in society for engendering previously undisputed agendas—when all was reduced to left and right—seems to have relaxed us. Especially with the news announced in recent years. The sudden interruption to the arrival of this long-awaited future has caught us off guard, and the reaction seems almost impossible. The technique must be re-appropriated by the worker who produces it, but perhaps it cannot be the only alternative. Definitely, the artist can no longer work alone, and perhaps it is no coincidence that they are ahead of their time.
—Text by Daniela Machado