C O R V A – Andressa Cantergiani

By Daniela Labra

Vendo que o pássaro entendia

A pergunta que eu lhe fazia,

Fico atônito, embora a resposta que dera

Dificilmente lhe entendera.

Na verdade, jamais homem há visto

Cousa na terra semelhante a isto:

Uma ave negra, friamente posta

Num busto, acima dos portais,

Ouvir uma pergunta e dizer em resposta

Que este é seu nome: "Nunca mais".

Edgard Allan Poe, "The Raven" (Corvo)

Tradução de Machado de Assis

What can the artist do in front of the hand that oppresses and censors them? In a way, the most shrewd answer would be: create. The art, as an uninterested and free offer of a creative and naturally anxious sould, is resistance in places filled with control, normativity, also being, in times of extreme liberalism, a breath of fresh air in face of the competitivity that times life, trampling the sensibility and the poetic. In her second individual exhibition in a Porto Alegre art gallery, Andressa Cantergiani, whose artistic trajectory began in theatre, evoked primarily the image of the Raven to create relief, healing, wisdom and freedom metaphors. While the black feathered, scavenger, cunning bird that is able to reproduce the sound of human voice represents to some folks – specially the Christians – a mythical entity that travels between the land of the dead bringing bad omens and bad luck, in other cultures he is the symbol of protection, fertility and temperance.

Mixing the positive and negative meanings assigned to the animal, the artist creates a theatrical and dramatic exhibition environment, where underlies an acute critic to the political transition occurring in the country, where the remains of a bird enveloped in authoritarian shadows are exhumed. The question, however, is evoked in a blunt but at the same time elegant way, in the set of pieces that point to the possibility of flying free with words, with the mody and with the mind.

This exhibition is built from the performance “Raven”, executed during the opening, in which the back of the artist-performer gain painful but proud black wings in a process that adapts bird feathers to acupuncture needles. The performing action was executed for the first time at the Mamute Gallery stand during the SP Arte fair in April 2019 – an environment that is uncomfortable for this kind of artistic action, whether it’s for the artist or for the public, but in generating friction provokes, at the same time, an interesting reaction of astonishment and curiosity. In Porto Alegre the accessories that compose the ambiance of the live action stay in the gallery after the action, together with other objects, like am open to the public microphone in a stand, eight books that were censored in some point of Brazilian history and 80 used bullet cartridges. This last artifacts making direct allusion to the institutional violence that reap daily the innocent lives of people like Evaldo dos Santos Rocha, a black carioca musician executed in Rio de Janeiro when he was going out with his family on a Sunday morning.

The expositive-performatic environment designed by the artist solemnly narrates de climate of fear and oppression that for many Brazilians, including artists and educators, that hovers in the air suffocating them. In this contexto, however, Andressa proposes that we opt for the cunning and the resilience of the Rave, with their wings of freedom, instead of succumbing to the superstition of bad omens and resignation to ruthless destiny. In a process that doesn’t end in at the opening of the exhibition, other pieces are shown as registration of the action performed during the inauguration and public participation propositions are also shown. In this way the exhibition completes itself with the passing of the days.

Working in collaboration with distinct professionals, the artist created pieces that in some way have a co-autorship, such is the case of the jewel-sculptures designed by Alice Floriano, the healing-stretcher designed by Eduardo Saorin, who also signs the registers of the performance with Dani Amorim and Raquel Brust, as well as the fundamental participation of the acupuncturist Joana dos Santos. This joint realization accompanies the Andressa Cantergiani’s practices, whose creative process is inspired by the theatrical work mode, collective, so different from the solitary process in studios.

CORVA is an exhibition-spectacle, a drama of many acts condensed in one, made for the gallery that is not a theatre. Since the performance gives the tone in place of the dramaturgy, the artist touches on things from the real world with a slight varnish of fiction of the performatic space-between, in which the reality is transmuted without it being turned into pure representation. The existing fantasy is very much as account of life, something that can be as painful as needles in the flesh. These artifacts spiked onto the body, however, bring treatment, activate the energy, wake the physical up. So don’t be scared by the artistic image of this slightly perforated body! Art will never be more harsh than life itself.

CORVA, portanto, é uma exposição-espetáculo, um drama de muitos atos concentrado em um só, feito para a galeria que não é teatro. Como a performance dá o tom no lugar da dramaturgia, a artista toca nas coisas do mundo real com o leve verniz de ficção próprio do espaço-entre performático, no qual a realidade é transmutada sem que seja tornada pura representação. A fantasia existente é bem mais relato da vida mesma, o que pode ser dolorido como agulhas na carne. Estes artefatos cravados no corpo, porém, trazem tratamento, ativam energia, despertam o físico. Portanto não se assustem com a imagem artística desse corpo levemente perfurado! A arte nunca será mais dura que a vida mesma. 

Daniela Labra

Curator of the Exhibition

Prof. Dra. em Artes Visuais

April of  2019