On the rise, Regina Parra uses her own life to portray the torn female

Clara Balbi, Folha de Sao Paulo Newspaper, April 21, 2019

Recovered from a paralyzing illness, the artist explores video, installation, painting, and performance in her works. 

An announcement made of neon appears among the remnants of the Atlantic rainforest of Rio de Janeiro's Park Lage: “The Great Chance,” says the message in bold red letters.


Exhibited by Regina Parra, 35, in a collective show at the park's traditional visual arts school held in 2015, the installation was, to say the least, auspicious. Since “Chance” - which can currently be seen at the Pinacoteca, along with other new acquisitions for the museum's collection - the artist has participated in exhibitions in New York, Milan and Zurich.


Next month, she leaves for a residence at AnnexB in New York. In August, she returns to Brazil to participate in two institutional exhibitions: the 36 Panorama of Brazilian Art, a biennial MAM-SP exhibition, and the collective “History of Women, Feminist Stories”, at MASP.


In this last one, Parra will present a performance developed in collaboration with Ana Mazzei. Entitled “Ophelia”, the work consists of a kind of silent parade, in which women hold plates with the lines of Hamlet's bride.


The performance is one of the artist's many recent works that links with the feminine issue. She guides, for example, “Bacante,” solo show on view at the Galeria Millan until the end of April. In several canvases of the exhibition, the artist's own body appears stretched, invaded, mistreated.


The theme was also present in paintings such as “The Libidinosa” (2018) in which one woman grabs another's elbow. And finally, it permeated “Why are you trembling, woman?”- her individual show of 2016, which addressed the veiled violence of power relations.


The production departs from the artist's previous works, which discussed subjects such as surveillance systems, the case of the “Control” paintings, or the contemporary migration crisis, theme of the video “7,536 steps” about the Bolivian community in São Paulo.


Although those works already show "a concern with the regulation and the reaction of the bodies to the environment", according to curator Moacir dos Anjos, in the last works Para makes this focus even more imperative.


The reason, explains the artist, is a disease that has accompanied her for the past four years. Known as mitochondrial myopathy, it promotes a slow but progressive paralysis of the muscles. Because of that, the artist started painting sitting, using a brace to support the neck. Parra says she has no more symptoms since a treatment at the end of last year.


“Even unintentionally, my full attention was on the body. At the same time, I began to understand that the limitations my parts suffered were not foreign to me, because I am a woman and already have a body controlled by social conventions. ”


From the time of the illness also date her first forays into dance, in partnership with a choreographer and two ballerinas. “I couldn't get off the couch but I was watching dance videos.”


Parra likes to borrow from theater director Antunes Filho a definition of what she does: “Visual arts are my scooter, a vehicle for exploring the world,” she jokes.


Despite Chance's prediction and exposure, Parra says she has a real panic of definite, grandiose occasions - worthy of neon ads. “I like routine. I lunch every day the same dish in the same place” she laughs.