Actions characterized by repetition and impotence and bodies in a state of exhaustion are elements that Regina Parra’s work, whose trajectory is marked by references to theater, shares with the work of Irish playwright and writer Samuel Beckett (1906-1989).
Parra’s production includes performance, video, installation, lighting and, mainly, paintings. Its pictorial process appropriates the noise and interference typical of recent media, such as security cameras or mobile phones, giving a certain lack of clarity to the figures. Faced with circumstances that imposed on the artist a new relationship with her motor activities, Parra opened new investigations in a search for movements and gestures approaching dance as opposed to the immobility of her own body.
Winnie, the protagonist of the play Happy Days (1961), buried to the waist in the first act and up to the neck in the second, draws from her absurd routine hopes to continue living. This sense of the absence of an event or a near event that extends the present time indefinitely is a common ground in the works of this exhibition. In the performance Winnie (2019), two performers repeat excerpts of the character’s speech, this time separated from the almost impossible dialogue with the character Willie: now there are two Winnies who speak totally alone. Parra’s treatment of the bright Happy Days series makes us read fragments of the play in negative, that is, in contrast to the illuminated background, accentuating the unconscious irony contained in the optimism of one of Beckett’s rare female protagonists. In the series of paintings not me (2019), based on the playwright’s 1972 play of the same name, hands impose themselves on and take hold of a female body borrowed from the artist herself. The clash between resistance and oppression disfigures this anatomy: whose hands are these? How long did this go on in this quasi-narrative where something always escapes?
Text by Diego Mauro, curator of Instituto Tomie Ohtake (ITO). On the occasion of the exhibition Winnie, Instituto Tomie Ohtake, Sao Paulo, 2019.