Regina Parra: Chance: Pinacoteca de Sao Paulo

16 February 2019 - 19 June 2020

The neon is commonly used to hold attention. Used for short and direct phrase advertising, its writing light is a visual summons. Regina Parra uses this mechanism, and her poetic form uses the same structure. The quick phrase “The Great Chance” written in red light is an enigmatic invitation. Thus, it is also the encounter with the luminous that produces a stealth effect. In this touch of vision, there is a brief alienation of the visual field. The light, the invitation with an air of opportunity, creates a pause, a dispersive moment, in which the whole environment moves and the eye is dominated by red light in a brief impact.


Since the beginning of her career, the artist has explored several languages ​​such as painting, installation and performance. In her works, human issues such as immigration, the movement of bodies, the female, etc. stand out, but also dialogues with the city, as in paintings made from images of security cameras that monitor the movement of people on the street or public spaces like subway.


Her first neons wove an intimate relationship with the city itself, inserting a textual narrativity in the work and creating a dialogue alluding to the urban landscape itself. The work Behind the Windows, from 2011, was installed on top of a building in the central region of São Paulo, with the phrase “The desires fell asleep behind the windows”, alluding to the intimacy, the anesthesia of urban life in a luminous work that has its just public, visual and massive force.


But little by little the artist started to conceive her works in a more intimate way, and the work Chance is remarkable from that moment. In a recent interview for Trip magazine, Parra reveals that the work appears in a dramatic moment of his personal life, affected by a serious illness.

The Great Chance ends up asking us a question: if the possibility is great, there are also the uncertainties, and soon a hesitation of anguish is strengthened. The work brings up that personal moment, but communicates in a profuse way, as each one sees its owns chance. However, the feeling generated is of immediate distrust, after all it is a movement, a change. Proposing a dialogue with the urban situation, amidst the mass of people, in the land of promises, opportunities and simple seductions, the work questions what would exactly be the great chance. 


Text by Jochen Volz Jochen Volz is the General Director of Pinacoteca de São Paulo and the curator of the Brazilian Pavilion at the 57th Biennale di Venezia (2017). He was the chief curator of the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo (2016). Between 2012 and 2015 he was Head of Programmes at the Serpentine Galleries in London.