'Ablutions'. MAC-GO.



“A arte não é um espelho para refletir o mundo, mas um martelo a forjá-lo.” (Wladimir Maiakovski)


Alguns artistas tem uma relação tão visceral com o tempo em que viveram que, de certa forma, ajudam a reinventá-lo. A obra realizada por Célio Braga espelha os processos e tentativas de retê-lo, evidenciando que o ato não deixa de ser melancólico, ao inventariar perdas, ruínas em uma espécie de busca a indícios da tão aspirada fonte da vida.

A mostra Abluções que foi exibida anteriormente no Museu Victor Meirelles, em Florianópolis – SC, chega agora ao Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Goiás ocupando o amplo espaço da Galeria D.J. Oliveira com novos trabalhos antigos e inéditos, bem como obras específicas para o espaço do museu. Postulam uma perspectiva de 16 anos de sua produção artística ao longo de 60 obras emblemáticas e significativas.

Somos levados a percorrer silêncios e murmúrios lancinantes, caminhar e enxergar tantos brancos a perder de vista, espectros das supostas presenças e/ou ausências que inoculadas pelas lembranças, nos revelam possíveis pistas nesses profundos relatos visuais.

Na instalação “Oh! Dores!” (2002/2016) nosso olhar é desviado para uma enorme e alva parede incrustada de delicadíssimos desenhos feitos de cera, amalgamados a materiais de uso íntimo e cotidiano como sabonetes, perfumes, talcos e óleos aromáticos. Materiais que fluem sentimentos confusos e uma enorme sensação de volatização da nossa existência.

O corpo físico, sagrado e sexual passeia ambiguamente pelos territórios mais íntimos e recôndidos, revelando gestos íntimos e os anseios da alma. Nos deparamos desde a série de obras “Ex-votos” (2006/2007) aos meticulosos bordados de “Brancos” (2001), bem como às alterações corpóreas de “Camisas Brancas” de 2001. Constituem-se memórias afetivas e visuais onde a beleza, a força e a vitalidade sucumbem e revelam a fragilidade deste “corpo” em nossos dias. Filtrados e filmados pelo artista no vídeo “Florir” (2003) e na beleza plástica da vídeo-performance “Walking on the flowers”, retrato do artista enquanto catarse, liberdade e purificação.

A inquietude se faz presente na série “Via-crucis”, desenhos de uma brancura hospitalar, realizados com micro perfurações, aludindo à datas, prazos ou talvez à um novo calendário que o artista prescreve em versos doloridos sobre a glória da vida e/ou a sua finitude.

Descortinando as bulas prescritas pelo artista em “Desvelar”, avistaremos nos objetos não-intitulados, o alívio e a dor nos registros da pele fotográfica, cirurgicamente desenhadas pelas lâminas e dobras do papel. Se aqui essas feridas estão expostas, há o espelho da série “Mantos”, ocultado por bordados e intervenções que escondem o desejo, o flagelo e a recusa à auto contemplação.

Ao final, a ambiência da mostra Abluções nos conduz à instalação “Nem tudo que reluz é ouro. Vislumbraremos aqui a aurora dos dias vividos e aos nossos pés, caixas de medicamentos envoltas em glitter e plantadas junto às belas flores de outrora, repousam sobre um manto térmico dourado. Febre, histeria, contaminação e uma alegria insana nos arrola...

Gilmar Camilo
Curador do MAC | Goiás



Installation view, 2016 . Museum of Contemporary Art of Goiânia, Brasil .  MAC-Go.




Installation view (detail) . MAC-Go 



Expiration Dates, 2003 . Perforations and embossing on paper . 30 cm x 37 cm (each)




Ex-Votos, 2006/2007, glazed porcelain, threads and textiles . sizes and dimensions variable




Installation view (detail) . MAC-Go.




Unveil (detail), 2008/2009 . medicine information leaflets and clear tape . 3 meters x 3 meters




Installation view (detail) . MAC-Go.




Multicoloridos, 2013/2016 . Fragments of old drawings, wishing ribbons, colored fabrics , medicine informations leaflets and fragments of photography . sizes and dimensions variable




Installation view (detail) . MAC-Go



Oh!Dores, 2016 . wax, white soap, oils, perfumes and talc . 4 meters x 9 meters (dimensions variable)




Oh!Dores (detail), 2016




No es oro todo lo que reluce, 2016 . gold safety blanket, medicine bottles, glitter and preserved/dried flowers . 3 meters x 3 meters




No es oro todo lo que reluce, 2016 (detail)





No es oro todo lo que reluce, 2015/2016 . glitter, fragments of photography, dried petals of flowers and fragments of textiles on medicine information leaflets . sizes and dimensions variable



Mantos, 2015/20016 . watercolor and color pencil on sewn linnen, cotton and silk. sizes and dimensions variable





Installation view (detail), 2016  .  MAC-Go.




To The Indelible Evanescence

In his solo exhibition ,“Ablutions”, at Contemporary Art Museum of Goiás, Célio Braga presents a constellation of earlier and recent works. By assembling distinct mixed media pieces related to different stages of his production, the immediate space is turned into an interface which generates countless overlaps and mirror effects.
His work has been continually presented in international museums and reviewed in various specialized publications. It is also included in private and institutional collections, such as the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
This exhibition is not a retrospective, but a presentation of a frame of reference highlighting six phases and noteworthy directions in the last two decades of his practice.
His trajectory has been marked by the ability to redefine and expand fluidly conventional categories such as photography, drawing, performance, video and sculpture. These media are pushed to the limit and beyond, through successive experimentation and by the employment of unusual materials and craft techniques.
Conceptually, he deals with the following topics: the fragility of the body, healing rituals, the irrevocable passage of time, memory, the definitive nature of death, grief and sexuality.
The series of organic abstract objects, “White Shirts (2000-2001), was conceived from donations made by an international network of friends. These pieces, that  resemble surreal chrysalises, were produced when the Aids and its effects were still catastrophically affecting the life and the sexual identity of thousands of people. With the laborious act of sewing and stitching, a common and formal item of men wardrobe, the artist symbolically wanted to perform an ablution, to touch and protect those who were closest to him.
A similar work in terms of making is the “Ex-Votos” (2006-2007). However, this group is made up of hybrid fragments executed in china bone sutured with cotton fabric and thread. They are representations of hands, heads, suction cups, medicine bottles and glass domes. From these combination results whimsical artifacts. They seem to belong to a fabulous taxonomy, which fuses in a peculiar syncretism the familiar and the strange, the religious belief and the secular faith in the science of medicine.
The set of “Whites and Blacks” (2003-2006), in their turn, were produced with felt, glass beads, human hair, thread and silk. With an obsessive and painstaking labour characteristic of a jeweller, the artist extracts from these materials lush forms. These singular objects brings to mind fictitious organs and ancient cultic jewels. From its baroque, wrinkly, bodies with holes and cavities scintillates an uncanny eroticism. On closer inspection one is made to hover between the feelings of attraction and uneasiness.
Although his production is mainly carried out manually, it shows at times formal affinities with Minimalism. Nevertheless, like the Cuban artist Félix González-Torres, Braga’s work is laden with personal emotions and biographical aspects. An example is “Unveil” (2008-2009), a diaphanous curtain made of medicine information leaflets provided by friends and his family. They range from aspirin to drugs for terminal illnesses. Here we have a quadrilateral form of 3m x 3m composed of serial rings worked by hand. It constitutes a colossal collection of anonymous vestiges, “abstract” indexes or mementos mori. The absence of any subjective trait makes the curtain a silent witness of all of us, of our particular health concerns and collective struggle for survival.
In the series of 14 drawings, “Expiration Dates” (2003-2005), the drug expiration dates hold the conceptual and metaphoric key. Here different typefaces are used, which also evoke the hermetic alphanumeric data common to the bar codes. By means of profuse perforations and embossing technique, Célio Braga produces on the drawing paper bulged protrusions, similar to hypertrophic scars, but slightly rough and porous. Through these actions extraordinary and enigmatic white cyphers in convex relief are created. They are highly accurate, minimalist in effect and its execution seems to go beyond the capacity of manual labor. As the sequence of paintings, “Today”, of the conceptual Japanese artist On Kwara, the drawings are also made with calculated precision and deal with the temporal dimension of existence. It is important to note that the “Expiration Dates” allude to the 14 stations of the Via Crucis.
In his most recent work, Untitled” (2015), the boundaries of photography are once again extended. Through a rather violent process of material damage, skin images are folded, wrinkled, flaked and perforated indefinitely. These operations give rise to textures analogous to those of skin aging and cutaneous infections. The act of folding leaves on the image a grid relief which is covered with a copious pointillism that resembles a bristle, a shiver, a harmful allergy. The outcome of this handling is a delicate balance between the formless and the geometric.
The sexual ambiguity often present in his works, in their form and components, erodes the immediate markers of gender. They call into question standardized representations and conceptions of sexuality, offering a more fluid and polysemic perspective.
The exhibition further reflects the performative character of highly allusive works due to their power to act upon the cognitive, sensorial and affective domains. It is necessary to come close to the pieces because of their delicacy and great details. The spatial orchestration of such symbolic works and the act of walking complement each other. It is via the visitor’s movement that discrete images and objects will render a narrative space and provide an intimate experience. Thereby, revealing alternative interrelationships and endless associations.

Hércules Goulart Martins