Utopia and dismantle

Galciani Neves, Harper's Bazaar, April 8, 2017

Regina Parra enters situations of extreme precariousness and translates them into works that puncture political questions


“A story from below” can build foundations for access to the social experiences of women and men, whose existence had been ignored by historiography. Without instrumentalizing this perspective, nor turning political and cultural conflicts into objects of research, Regina Parra uses this deviation to scrutinize processes of intolerance, oppression, and political affairs. Based on an exercise in fabulation, the artist focuses on shedding light on recesses of vulnerability. “I wonder if it is still possible to create a counter-narrative from situations of extreme precariousness and to what extent our capacity for invention can point to an alternative reality to what we live. These are guiding questions for a poetic process, but I believe they are also questions about the power of imagination as a social and political force to reconcile the real ”, comments the artist.


Without delivering a solution to the deadlocks in which subjectivities seem to be hijacked, Regina Parra causes the eruption of long-suffering agonizing wounds: devices of segregation and violence, intentional invisibility to social inequalities, states of exception, veiled presence of migrants. This is what the artist combines in works such as the Castle painting series. Parra portrayed some residents of the Marconi Building, an occupation in downtown São Paulo, while they admitted survival through a drive revived by their inner desires. With eyes closed, each one imagines plans to achieve the unrealizable dream. As in a home, these people seem to ask us silently: Where do our dreams go?


That said, it may sound that the artist would act as a minority spokesperson. It stands ambivalently between what may be a sigh of resistance and a latent decline of the subject. In Chance (2015), neon sign, seductive and festive material, the artist coexists this duplicity. In this sense, “The Great Chance”, a seemingly charged expression of vital energy, presents itself as a paradox in the construction of new forms of life and thought: failure and possibility, power of existing and fragility, as a horizon drawing, at the same time, it is unmanageable and easily revocable.


Parra's work is an insistence on the overwhelming tide of power and control devices, so perhaps the artist has no other escape. It is necessary to act implied in vulnerabilities, otherwise it would only perform an ethnographic study, an academicist thematization and, therefore, uncompromised and lost. The artist enters and rereads the facts and translates their effects into content that awaits questions that require action: “If we understand that society is built and imagined, we can also believe that it can be reconstructed and re-imagined” says Parra.


At 7,536 STEPS (for a geography of proximity), the artist walks from the center of São Paulo to the East Zone, where a Bolivian community organizes a fair. The stereo you take with you on this route captures countless pirate radios. The Spanish language present on the signs of the shops, foreign faces and a landscape that is not usually seen: there are many cities within the same São Paulo. And its clear borders intensify the city as a place of meeting differences, as well as confrontation.

Perhaps what the work of Regina Parra tries to potentiate is something of the order of the invention of spaces for listening and exchange, where there may be a new sensitivity to resistance. To Regina Parra, “What seems to be stolen from us is not our thinking, but our desires or the ability to desire and remain desirous. And perhaps the artist has a role in this very place: she desires, thinks and invents places of encounter, of possibilities ”.