From March 6 through May 31, 2020
Mecarõ. Amazonia in the Petitgas Collection is the first institutional presentation of Catherine Petitgas’ collection. A significant figure in the recognition of contemporary Latin American art in Europe, she has been collecting works for over twenty years. Her collection today consists of more than 900 works. The exhibition presented at the Hôtel des collections unites a selection of more than 100 from over 50 artists from the Amazonian basin. The exhibition, whose title means “the spirit of the forest” in Krahô language, emphasizes the relationship between these artists from this territory and their socio-economical and mental environment.
Partly destroyed by the fires in Summer 2019, the Amazon covers 6.7 million km. It is a natural region and an ecosystem spanning across nine countries (Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Surinam, Guiana and French Guiana), recognized for its hydrographic basin, its tropical forest and the richness of its biodiversity. How can the members of this ecosystem, humans and non-humans, help us imagine a future society and divert the course of globalization? How do we define an artistic environment from existing conditions and behaviour of the living beings that inhabit it?
The layout of the exhibition begins with an installation by Oswaldo Maciá that immerses the visitor into a synesthetic environment (olfacto-auditory and colored in yellow) that focuses on the disappearance of wild orchids and the bees that pollinate them.
Following this immersion into nature, the exhibition continues with a historical contextualisation of the territory with works from 1960/1970 by Hélio Oiticica, Ivan Serpa, Lygia Clark, and others, that pay hommage to innovative modern movements in South America. These works are also in dialogue with those by contemporary artists Erika Verzutti, Maria Nepomuceno and Beatriz Milhazes.
The first section then alludes to urban habitats, through the notion of gambiarra (DIY in Portuguese): Luiz Zerbini’s painting juxtaposes styles and techniques, geometric and organic motifs, while the works by Alexandre da Cunha and Patricia Camet attempt to portray the chaos created from human activities.
The second section presents the current existing problems in the Amazonian basin, including deforestation and the effects of colonialism, that subverts the idea of identity: Manuela Ribadeneira’s bronze fingers seem to be accuse the visitors; Claudia Andujar, Anna Bella Geiger, Ernesto Neto and Rivane Neuenschwander contribute to the ecopolitical panorama of the forest.
In the last section—a floor dedication to “tropical feminism”—an installation in the form of a beauty salon by Sol Calero coexists with works by Teresa Margolles and Sandra Gamarra.
With works by: Armando Andrade Tudela, Claudia Andujar, Brígida Baltar, Alberto Baraya, Milena Bonilla, Vivian Caccuri, Sol Calero, Patricia Camet, Tania Candiani, Carolina Caycedo, Chelpa Ferro, Lygia Clark, Donna Conlon, Alexandre da Cunha, José Damasceno, Elena Damiani, Tatiana Echeverri Fernandez, Sandra Gamarra, Ximena Garrido-Lecca, Gego, Anna Bella Geiger, Sonia Gomes, Beatriz Gonzáles, Claudia Jaguaribe, Lucia Laguna, Tonico Lemos Auad, Oswaldo Maciá, Teresa Margolles, Beatriz Milhazes, Paulo Nazareth, Maria Nepomuceno, Ernesto Neto, Rivane Neuenschwander, Lucia Nogueira, Hélio Oiticica, OPAVIVARÁ!, Nohemí Pérez, Solange Pessoa, Lucia Pizzani, Manuela Ribadaneira, Abel Rodríguez, Ivan Serpa, Valeska Soares, Clarissa Tossin, Erika Verzutti, Danh Vo and Luiz Zerbini.