Rio de Janeiro State Culture Secretariat presents artevida: A city-wide exhibition of contemporary art

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Rio de Janeiro State Culture Secretariat presents artevida: A city-wide exhibition of contemporary art
Dóra Maurer. Seven Twists, 1979. Photograph (silver print) from series of 6 images, 20 x 20 cm (each). Collection of Zsolt Somlói and Katalin Spengler, Budapest.​

RIO DE JANEIRO.- The Rio de Janeiro State Culture Secretariat presents the contemporary art exhibition artevida (“artlife”) this summer at venues throughout the city of Rio. The multi-site exhibition examines the interplay between art and life in the period from the 1950s to the early 1980s, taking art from Brazil, and particularly Rio de Janeiro, as a point of departure. Curated by Adriano Pedrosa and Rodrigo Moura, the exhibition is grouped in four thematic sections and connects art practices through different concepts, references and contexts, challenging the idea of a singular, Eurocentric and encyclopedic art history. artevida (corpo), artevida (arquivo) and artevida (parque) opened June 27. On July 19, artevida (politica) and a second section of artevida (arquivo) opened, and a new work by the Benin-based artist Georges Adéagbo commissioned for the artevida (parque) exhibition was unveiled. All of the installations will remain on view through September 21.

“We are very proud to present artevida, an international art show specifically thought out for Rio de Janeiro, that in this edition seeks to explore connections between our artists and movements and the international scene – albeit the least obvious and known – in countries from Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and our neighbors in the Americas.” said Adriana Rattes, Rio de Janeiro State Secretary of Culture. “artevida is a project devised to be a yearly event that will help stimulate reflections on art and strengthen Rio’s already fertile art world.”

Curator Adriano Pedrosa stated, “For artevida, Rodrigo Moura and I decided not to approach the exhibition as a comprehensive overview or to trace the geneaology of Brazilian artists. artevida is more fragmented than monolithic, provisional than definite. In the search for other more plural, open and diverse narratives that develop dialogues between works and documents, the exhibition has a focus on artists from the Global South, as well as on women artists.”

According to curator Rodrigo Moura, “The visual arts are woven into every aspect of life in Rio de Janeiro. When we were presented with the opportunity to create an exhibition during the World Cup, Adriano Pedrosa and I agreed that the entire city should be our canvas to express the interrelated relationship of art and society rather than trying to contain Rio’s cultural dynamism within a single, traditional art venue.”

An Exhibition In Four Parts
artevida (corpo) and artevida (política) comprise the two main sections of the exhibition and include a total of more than 250 works by 87 international artists, grouped according to the formal practices and topics at the heart of Brazil’s avant-garde movements. The exhibition’s other two sections, artevida (arquivo) and artevida (parque), showcase archival material from two South American artists and outdoor works of sculpture and installation.

Presented at the Casa França-Brasil, artevida (corpo) considers the self-portrait, the cut, and the body in transformation, exploring the organic line as an alternative to the orthodoxy of geometric abstraction. Influences include works by the Brazilian Neo-Concretists such as Lygia Clark’s Bichos and by artists of Gutai, the Japanese avant-garde movement of the 1950s and 60s.

artevida (política) gathers works made under or in resistance to oppressive political regimes. On view at the Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM), this section acknowledges the deep connection between politics and art during Brazil’s military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985. Brazilian art is presented alongside works from Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Turkey, Lebanon, Croatia and South Africa that call attention to topics such as the Vietnam War and the effects of colonialism. Works include Cecilia Vicuña’s early 1970s portraits of revolutionaries, Sue Williamson’s 1980s depictions of South African women who were involved in the fight for freedom, and Gülsün Karamustafa’s Sketches for the “History of Working Class in Ottoman and Turkish History.”

Paulo Bruscky, a Brazilian artist and a Fluxus member, is the subject of artevida (arquivo) at Biblioteca do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, which features his mail-art works, among the 60,000 archival documents collected by the artist. The second part of artevida (arquivo), on view at Biblioteca Parque Estadual, includes works from the archive of Argentinean artist Graciela Carnevale and historical material tied to the Grupo de Arte de Vanguardia de Rosario (Rosario Avant-Garde Art Group) of the late 1960s.

artevida (parque) is on view at Parque Lage inside the Escola de de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage, Cavalariças, and on the grounds surrounding the school, and features the re-fabrication of Japanese artist Tsuruko Yamazaki’s 1956 Red (Shape of Mosquito Net) and three wearable sculptures from Brazilian artist Martha Araújo’s early 1980s series Hábito/Habitante. These works have been joined by a new site-specific commission by Benin-based artist Georges Adéagbo, known for his found-object installations. Created specifically for the mews in Parque Lage, the work reflects on the relationship between Africa and Brazil and the French photographer Pierre Verger’s documentation of the African diaspora.

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