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Unerasable Memories: A historic look at the videobrasil collection

Videobrasil, São Paulo, Brazil
October 31, 2014 – November 30, 2014

Lecture-performance The Loudest Muttering is Over by Walid Raad - Photo by André Finotti

Performance Bare Life Study by Coco Fusco - Photo by Isabella Matheus

Still from Barrueco © Ayrson Heráclito, Danillo Barata


With Akram Zaatari, Ayrson Heráclito & Danillo Barata, Aurélio Michiles, Bouchra Khalili, Carlos Motta, Coco Fusco, Dan Halter, Enio Staup, Jonathas de Andrade, Léón Ferrari & Ricardo Pons, Liu Wei, Luiz de Abreu, Mwangu Hutter, Rabih Mroué, Rosangela Rennó, Sebastian Diaz-Morales, Vincent Carelli & Dominique Gallois, and Walid Raad


From the “discovery” of Brazil by the Portuguese to the military coup d’état in Chile, including the September 11 attacks in the US, the Tiananmen Square Massacre in China, and the civil war in Lebanon… There are many ways one could recount — or attempt to erase — stories that are kept alive through the sensitivity and the art of myriad artists from those areas. The show “Unerasable Memories – A Historic Look at the Videobrasil Collection” features pieces that help retrieve events and conflicts often interpreted based on the official versions of those who came out the victors, yet still resist in personal narratives made public through art. The show is curated by Agustín Pérez Rubio, recently appointed as art director for Malba (the Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires, Argentina), who has pored over the institution’s collection to handpick 18 pieces of strong political and social content, at the invitation of Solange Farkas, curator, founder and director of Associação Cultural Videobrasil. The exhibition will present work by internationally known artists such as Lebanon’s Akram Zaatari and Walid Raad, the US’ Coco Fusco, Morocco’s Bouchra Khalili, Argentina’s León Ferrari and Brazil’s Rosangela Rennó and Jonathas de Andrade.

“Unerasable Memories – A Historic Look at the Videobrasil Collection” is open until November 30 at Sesc Pompeia (São Paulo, Brazil). Enabled by a 20-year-plus partnership between Associação Cultural Videobrasil and Sesc São Paulo, the show is a continuation of the major international exhibits held in São Paulo in-between Festival editions, featuring pieces by artists of the likes of Joseph Beuys, Olafur Eliasson, Isaac Julien, Peter Greenaway and Sophie Calle. However, Unerasable Memories is a watershed event, since it is the first major exhibit based on the Videobrasil Collection currently consisted of over 3,000 titles, including publications, documents and approximately 1,300 video works produced from the 1980’s onwards, by artists from the Geopolitical South of the world — Videobrasil’s curatorial focus, comprised by countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South and Southeast Asia, and Oceania. From an immersion into this complex and assorted universe, Agustín Pérez Rubio selected works sharing themes such as state violence, political borders and prejudice.

In Vera Cruz, Brazil’s Rosangela Rennó creates an “impossible flim” about the discovery of Brazil, whose initial name was Ilha de Vera Cruz (Island of Vera Cruz). Inspired by the letter written by Pero Vaz de Caminha to the king of Portugal, the work recreates history from the common man’s vantage point. On film timeworn by the passing of half a millennium, all that is left is subtitles and the sailors’ astonishment with the New World. In This House, by Lebanon’s Akram Zaatari, unburies the past by depicting the personal implications of Israel’s invasion of a Lebanese village. Casa Blanca, produced by Argentina’s León Ferrari (in partnership with fellow countryman Ricardo Pons), is the recorded reenactment of a performance originally staged in the 1980’s, in which earthworms crawl over the White House, symbol of the U.S. Executive Power. Government violence lies at the core of performance Bare Life Study #1 (2005), which United States native Coco Fusco presented in front of the US Embassy in São Paulo, and whose video recording is featured in the show. In Projeto Pacífico, Brazil’s Jonathas de Andrade creates a fictional piece in which Chile roams about the Pacific Ocean after being severed from the continent due to an earthquake. A cataclysm that is at the same time a violent solution, and a metaphor for political issues and national memory creation. From Morocco’s Bouchra Khalili, the exhibition presents Four selected videos from The Mapping Journey Project. In it, over the cold and precise outlines of a world map, immigrants narrate heartbreaking stories of displacement. Routes traced with pen and memories.

On Saturday, November 29, 2014, at 4:00 pm, at Sesc Pompeia’s Galpão, artists Ayrson Heráclito, Rosângela Rennó and curator Agustín Pérez Rubio will discuss the invisibility and marginalization imposed upon populations of African and indigenous descent by History and Art discourses – and their blatant, yet veiled social marginality.



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