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Naked Land

Among the several dimensions where the poetry of Angella Conte unfolds, it calls attention the amplitude of her comprehension of routine as a practice that brings one to the numbness of the senses and the memory, blindness leeching our moves and steadily growing, inviting even more to the indifference, increasing the silence of the environments, and the things living in it. Because those, we know, when are only demanded by the habit, end up silencing themselves, bending inwards while incorporating smells and noises, and merge themselves to others inside the houses composing a silent landscape.

The diversity of works produced based on this thought, sometimes presented in Terra Nua (Naked Land) – drawings, paintings, sculptures, photographs, objects, installations, videos, video-performances, etc. – it is unusual even for nowadays references. Angella Conte bothers with what escapes, can escape or have escaped in the course of the days, and the problem is that everything flows, goes away with time passing, and converts her project in a predicted and planned fail, one more endeavour on the belt of the condensation of Sísifo. A clear example of this aesthetic project is Ir e vir (To come and go), which is filling up an entire room in this exposition, with 15 videos each one registering fragments of displacements between variable distances and places, varying the transport mode and the angles, and even varying the one responsible for acquiring the images, as it happens in Deslocamento XI (Displacement XI), where one doesn’t know whether it is the artist filming herself or being filmed while walking over a bridge.

A simple path will never be the same when crossed on foot, by charret, by car, plane etc. Corollary of this line of thought, synchronized with a series of videos produced restlessly, comes, countless diaries, like endless collections of objects and stories placed or associated to them – as in the caged box and the grandfather without his belongings on his arrival to Brazil - other movies and the experience of indoor and outdoor environments, occupied by people or empty, with the artist following the steps or remaking those she judged plausible. The raw material of the memory gathers remembrances along with objects and spaces with which we develop our choreographies. 

That many of these pieces are starred by her, is due to her strategy of placing herself on other people’s shoes, as well as of imagining the effects of other’s contact with things that she makes contact with, given that objects surpass our life time, and follow surprising paths. And, even when reflecting on herself, as in the series Autorretrato (Self-portrait) (2009), she reveals the enigma of her own images, our transformations as successive patinas which current face is only the most recent layer.

The old ones used to use rites in order to update the myths. The liturgies were dramatizations that used to renew what was threatened to disappear. Our routines, however, subtract the extraordinary from what we do. One way of fighting this exhaustion, the artist proposes, would be pasting ourselves to the practices of others or reinventing the spaces and objects, by perceiving them from a different angle or overlapping them through interpretations and collages. From there comes the reconstructed landscapes, where similar terraces when observed slowly reveal themselves quite different – variations that she emphasizes by invading them with elements that do not belong there or with her own mysterious presence.

 

Agnaldo Farias