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“⦿” Curated by Catarina Duncan

10.06.18 _ 11.03.18

Abdias Nascimento

Curator: Catarina Duncan

Artists: Abdias Nascimento, Aline Motta, Antonio Pichillá, Cabelo, Camila Mota, Cristiano Lenhardt, Dan Coopey, Frederico Filippi, Ismael David, MAHKU – Movimento dos Artistas Huni Kuin, Mariana de Matos, Moisés Patrício, Mônica Ventura, Raphael Escobar, Rodrigo Bueno, Vania Medeiros and Vivian Caccuri (In collaboration with Arto Lindsay).

Galeria Leme is pleased to present the group show “⦿“, curated by Catarina Duncan. Led by a research about the use of symbols as language tools, the exhibition features works by seventeen artists in order to construct an imaginary field where the symbols overlap the written word in order to communicate on political matters, as well as on the relations between the human being, the occult and the unknown.

According to Carl G. Jung, in his book The Man and His Symbols, “what we call a symbol is a term, a name or image that may be familiar to us in daily life, though it has special connotations beyond its obvious and conventional meaning. It implies something vague, unknown or hidden to us. ”In this sense, evoking the symbolic places us before a process of unlearning, of what we cannot define or comprehend integrally.

The title of the exhibition “⦿” refers to the symbol used to identify the Sun, which in many different cultures is understood as the indefinable or the manifestation of the divine. Its symbolism is as diversified as the contradictions of the interpretations about the Sun, a source of light, which, in addition to vivifying, makes things perceptible, always comprising something that cannot be explained by the means of reason. “⦿” is also a circle and a point, symbols of perfection, homogeneity and indivisibility, since it has no beginning and no end, approaching the concept of circular time. The objective is to have the circulation of the symbolic as a proposal for structural and time reorganization.

Therefore, the exhibition was planed since the idea of the relation between the physical and spiritual worlds, having two artworks as the main references: ‘Ovo Bomba’ (2018), by Cabelo, and ‘Corpo Celeste’ (2018), by Aline Motta. The first is a hollow egg painted red with black symbols such as a serpent, besides bringing the words Yoruba ‘Ayê’ (physical world) and ‘Orum’ (spiritual world) written in its hemispheres. The word ‘bomba’ [bomb] of the title alludes to the imminence of explosion, as the work can in fact be opened and experienced by the visitors. The second is proposed from the ‘Bakongo’ cosmogram, an ancestral reference of the West African Kongo culture. The work, printed on fabric, also exposes the relationship between ‘Nseke’ (physical world) and ‘Mpemba’ (spiritual world).

One of the main sources of the investigation for the exhibition was the oeuvre of the artist and activist Abdias Nascimento, present with the work ‘Quilombismo (Exu and Ogum)’ (1980), a painting whose background is divided between green and red, the same colours of the pan-Africanist flag, icon of the intellectual movement that reinforces the union of all African Diaspora. On the top of these colours are the instruments of the orishas Exu and Ogum, uniting the principles of communication, contradiction and dialectic (Exu) with those of technological innovation and fight commitments (Ogum). Its title alludes to a political project on antiracist, capitalist and neocolonial government reorganization. This work summarizes the encounter of religious and political symbols, drawing a manifesto through symbolic means.

The selected works have allegorical, mythical, intuitive and political connotations and use the symbols to emanate new ideas and proposals of existence and relationships. The prevalence of the symbol over the written word is a proposition of power alternation, so that new tools of contest and communication can be developed in a world where listening became increasingly rare.         

About the Curator:

Catarina Duncan (Rio de Janeiro, 1993) lives in São Paulo. Works as independent curator and cultural programmer. Graduated in Visual Cultures and History of Art at Goldsmiths College, University of London (2010 – 2014). Integrated the curatorial team for the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo, ‘INCERTEZA VIVA’ (2015 – 2016) and ‘Pivô Arte e Pesquisa’ (2014-2015). Was curatorial assistant for the exhibitions ‘Terra Comunal Marina Abramovic’ at Sesc Pompéia (2014), ‘Alter-Heróis’ at MAC – USP Ibirapuera (2014) and “Still Being” by Antony Gormley at Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (2012). Has collaborated with LASTRO platform – Free exchanges in Art since 2015 where she participated at artistic residencies in Guatemala and Bolivia which culminated in the exhibitions ‘Lastro em Campo – percursos ancestrais e contemporâneos’ at Sesc Consolação (2016) and ‘Lastro Travessias Ocultas’ at Sesc Bom Retiro (2018). Has curated the exhibitions ‘Fio Corpo Terra’ at Saracura (2017), ‘oráculo piedoso’ by Martin Lanezan at Galeria Sancovsky (2018), ‘é.é.é’ by Manoela Medeiros at projeto Zip’Up (2015) and ‘Pai dos Burros’ by Teresa Berlinck and Julio de Paula at Oficina Cultural Oswald de Andrade (2016) and Sesc Rio Preto (2018).

Acknowledgments: Galeria Leme and Catarina Duncan would like to thank the collaboration of IPEAFRO, MAHKU, galleries A Gentil Carioca, Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel and Marilia Razuk, as well as all artists that kindly embraced the project.




Click here for the exhibition catalog.