More than painting, the feminine in question

Camila Molina, O Estado de Sao Paulo Newspaper, July 22, 2016

Artists Regina Parra and Tatiana Blass present their latest creations in solo exhibitions


“Why are you trembling, woman?” Is a verse from Castro Alves's poem Tragédia no Lar (1847-1871), but now, transcribed in a small painting by Regina Parra, the question, in yellowish letters over the image of a forest created with opaque brushstrokes, opens up a world of connotations. It could be, says curator Moacir dos Anjos, a “silent speech” - or as he writes in the presentation text of the exhibition that the artist opens this Thursday, at the Galeria Millan, “the subtitle of the scene of a non-existent film. "


The forest is a threatening place, however, the possibility of shelter for a fugitive, says Regina Parra. The forest also serves as the theme for a large painting in the gallery's main room - and the grand scale of the work, as well as the mezzanine video projection, proposes a direct and mysterious relationship with the viewer. Facing the huge screen, even more so, the phrase “stay terrified or become terrible”, illuminated in white neon on the wall, is the transposition for the feminine of Martinist essayist Frantz Fanon (1925-1961). The elements create mood, the words, narrative, “but there must be more,” as the artist's first neon piece in 2010 said, based on Arseni Tarkovski's poem recited in Andrei Tarkovski's feature film Stalker (1979).



“My painting was never only visual and I don't know if this is because I also have a degree in theater (at the Antunes Filho Theater Research Center), but I like different things happening at the same time,” says Regina Parra, who has her first solo show at Millan. For the artist, the use of the text works as something that promises to "make your life easier, or point the way", but actually "makes you even more lost". Allied to this idea, the characteristic opacity of her pictorial works, practiced since 2004, reveals “a deliberate bet on the inaccuracy of what is communicated”, highlights Moacir dos Anjos. Thus, it is slowly that issues such as the condition of women, servitude and submission are becoming noticeable between the lines.


Regina Parra includes the politic in her works in order to talk about what is hidden and, at the same time, does not focus only on painting. In the sound piece Yes, Sir, at the entrance of the gallery, the collage of the phrase uttered repeatedly and in different ways in films, soap operas and police audios deals directly with subservience, but this theme has to be discovered on the canvases that put as main figures the 18th century blackamoor statues.

The decorative bronze sculptures with pictorial interventions found in farmhouses represent men and women in servile actions, but, curiously, “resigned or pleased to be servant,” describes the curator. None of this is explicit in the works and, as Moacir dos Anjos sums up, the artist presents an “archeology sketch of Brazilian violence” in this exhibition.

Construction and humor. Consecrated creator of a new Brazilian generation, Tatiana Blass inaugurates this Thursday, the Desprofession show, in Annex Millan. This is the artist's fourth solo show at the gallery, during which she presents a series of works exhibited for the first time in Brazil - such as the fun video installation Bocejo - after exhibitions abroad and residency in Norway.


At first, the gouache paintings on paper and cotton inspired by scenes from plays by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906). “In theater, everything is built to the point,” says Tatiana Blass, who creates compositions in which figure and scenery seem to merge or make one or the other disappear.


“Everything is continuity, it is something physical,” says the artist, who considers creating “a literature” with painting, despite not being tied to the genre - she shows videos, among them, a play with text interpreted by the actors Miguel João and Malu Galli. Moreover, Tatiana Blass launches on August 6, at 11:30 am, a new book about her career, published by Editora Automática. Curators Moacir dos Anjos and José Augusto Ribeiro will participate in a conversation with the artist at the launch.