In the back annex of the modernist house home to Luciana Brito’s gallery, Hector Zamora, a Mexican who lives in Brazil, exhibits Capa-Canal (2018), an installation and video of his performance work presented at the 11th Bienal do Mercosul. The work comprised 13 people of mixed ethnicities sat on stools rolling clay tiles on their thighs, for two hours. The 500 tiles that were made as a result are exhibited at the gallery alongside the projection of images made during the performance. Capa-Canal’s point of departure is the expression in Portuguese ‘made on the thighs’ (feito nas coxas), which means ‘badly done’. There are different theories as to the origin of this expression, but all hail from the same period – when Brazil was a Portuguese colony. Some say the phrase refers to when slaves were made to mould clay tiles on their thighs and others say it comes from a Portuguese expression that connotes sexual relations. To the artist, who says the first theory has been debunked by historians, both contribute to the artwork, which hinges on the incongruities of social relations in Brazil. ‘Acima de Tudo’ (Above All), a new performance by Zamora designed for the gallery’s façade and taking place during the opening of the exhibition, looks at the contradictions of the utopian ideals of Brazilian architectural Modernism.
- Camila Belchior
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