Right here, right now

Janaina Mello Landini

09/Mar/2019 – 06/Apr/2019

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Press Release

A rope 20 meters long, 30 centimetres in diameter and weighing 120 kg is suspended in the main hall of the Zipper Gallery. Both ends gradually become dismembered from the main web until their minute thicknesses cling to the walls of the exhibition space, supporting the installation. Remitting to the Cartesian axes, three lines drawn across the wall of the gallery insert the work within the planes of the mapped space and in the terrain of control. Thus, the artist Janaina Mello Landini projects her third solo show at Zipper, open from March 9. Curated by Taisa Palhares, the exhibition "Right here, right now" presents site-specific and canvas works from the Ciclotrama series.

Ciclotrama is a neologism by the artist to designate the research that she has been developing since 2010. From a spatial drawing, she experiments with the physical tension between threads and the distribution of weights in order to deal with subjects like interconnectivity and interdependence. The passage and fixation of time also interest Janaina, who seeks to impregnate the work with the long hours dedicated to the acts of weaving and dismembering, thus establishing a relation with artisanal practice. As the artist states: "Conceptually, a Ciclotrama is the sectioning of a continuous and binary cycle, a schematic structure with a hierarchical characteristic, composed of interdependent parts. As an act, it is the long action of dividing the whole and its parts, until its minimal unit becomes apparent and sustains the whole system as a whole."

Janaina's production flows between different scales – from the public space to objects. The upper storey of the gallery was reserved for the artist's works on canvas. For these, Janaina took as a starting point the imaginary lines (parallel and meridian) of planispheric, cylindrical and conical cartographic projections. Disregarding the territories that originally occupied the representations, the artist creates occupations in this imagined space with ropes that are attached to the canvases and unravel throughout the exhibition space. The artist says, "Ciclotrama is an unpredictable and intuitive act. As a metaphor, it represents flux and ends up determining a zone. The idea in this series of works is to create islands and regions through the relationship between the rope and the cartographic space."

"Right here, right now" runs until April 6.

About the artist

Originally from Minas Gerais but based in São Paulo, Janaina Mello Landini (São Gotardo, MG, 1974) aggregates her knowledge of architecture, physics and mathematics and her perception on time to develop pieces that travel through different scales. The labyrinthine architecture has been the central axis of her research in the "Ciclotramas" series, made with ropes that break down into minimal threading, and "Labirintos Rizomáticos", works in satin that result in the construction of multifocal perspectives, nullifying the traditional construction. Main solo exhibits: "Ciclotrama 27 (medusa)", Galeria Macca, Cagliari, 2015; "Ciclotramas", Galerie Virginie Louvet, Paris, 2015; "Ciclotrama 20 (onda)", Zipper Galeria, São Paulo, 2015; "Paisagens", Galeria Desvio. Belo Horizonte, 2011; "Ciclotrama", Espaço, Belo Horizonte, 2010. Main collective exhibits: "Double Je", Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2016; "Vértice", Centro Cultural dos Correios, Brasília, 2015; "43 visões do Monte Fuji por Artistas Contemporâneos Brasileiros", The Fine Art Laboratory, Musashino Art University, Tokyo, 2015; "Art for Florence Design Week – 5.0 Edition", Florence, 2014; "Duplo Olhar", Paço das Artes, São Paulo, 2014.

About the curator

Taisa Palhares is Professor of Aesthetics at the Department of Philosophy of the State University of Campinas (IFCH/Unicamp). She holds a bachelor's degree (1997), a master's degree (2001) and a PhD in Philosophy (2011) from the University of São Paulo (USP). She carries out studies in the areas of aesthetics and visual arts, with emphasis on research focused on the grounding of the work of art since Modernity. From 2003 to 2015, worked as researcher and curator at the Pinacoteca of the State of São Paulo, responsible for the retrospective show "Mira Schendel" (2013/2014), in partnership with Tate Modern. She is the author of the book Aura: the crisis of art in Walter Benjamin (Fapesp/Barracuda, 2006). Since 2000, she has acted as an art critic, and was one of the creators and co-publishers of the independent journal of art and criticism "Número" (2003-2010).

Critical essay

Webs in suspended equilibrium: Janaina de Mello Landini’s “Ciclotramas”

In her recent exhibition at the Zipper Galeria, the artist Janaina Mello Landini presents new works from the “Ciclotrama” series, showing for the first time in São Paulo a large site specific sculpture specially conceived for the gallery’s main room. As in her previous works, her research focuses on the intersection of several types of knowledge and sciences, such as architecture, geometry, anatomy, physics, cartography, sculpture and drawing, thus creating, on the basis of apparently simple reasoning structures, rhizomatic structures that overlap and expand by connecting and crossing lines and points according to a dynamic distribution of forces.

Her work questions the possibilities of representation beyond a single point of view, superimposing onto the orthogonal character of the canvas and architecture, new spatial coordinates that result in designs of organic forms, of fluid and malleable appearance. With this, the artist produces a “conceptual twist” in the use of geometry when the web, the main figure of her work, is created in a very calculated way from an established scientific knowledge of projection and three-dimensional representation, but aiming for an unorthodox result.

For Ciclotrama 141 (épura), Janaína Landini fabricated, for the first time, her own rope, interweaving 1,440 yarns of common string. With this, she was able to reach an unprecedented weight of 120 kilos, which had to be distributed from a repeated procedure of binary division and bifurcation, in which finally the rope becomes almost undone through subdivisions, generating a total of 2,880 points that are fixed on the wall, and are responsible for supporting the mass. These points, simply attached with masking tape, divide the volume proportionally, creating a structure whose stability depends on the exact calculation of force compensation.

The result is an extremely delicate spatial design in which the simplicity (and why not say, precariousness) of the material produces a sculpture of enormous visual power. In some ways, it is as if the artist projected right here, right now the infinite possibilities of crossovers that exist in virtual space, embodying them and inviting us to participate in them. However, if the laws of physics and geometry are capable of securing and stabilizing the artwork, Ciclotrama 141 (épura) seems to point, in its movement of equivalences, to the unstable, impermanent, or constantly transforming and reorganizing aspect of things in the world. That is why the web that extends throughout the gallery resembles a living organism, as if the viewer, with each new visit, was able to contemplate another design, a new structure.

On the four canvasses that are part of the show (entitled Ciclotrama 137,

Ciclotrama 138, Ciclotrama 139, Ciclotrama 140) and are displayed in a smaller area, the artist makes use again of industrial ropes, which are unwoven and fixed according to the same system of division, bifurcation and crossing of threads. However, here Janaina Landini chose to use as a surface plane a special fabric used in the manufacture of nautical boat sails. On it are embroidered geographic coordinates inspired by old and current maps, before the artist attaches the webs of coloured thread. Again, real and virtual space are interwoven, creating a new design, because at the same time that the embroidery refers to the existing, the web tells us of an imaginary space that can also be real.

The room with the Ciclotramas is arranged so that the ropes in shades of blue and black are clustered in the centre, connecting all the works. This hodgepodge suggests the existence of a common, still chaotic energy core that tends to propagate, and which will become arranged in the overlapping webs of threads on the surface of the canvases. Poetically, it shows the inseparable relationship between the part and the whole, and the coexistence of interdependence and autonomy through a subtle correspondence of forces. It is interesting to note that these canvasses also suggest openness to reorganization. From the theoretical point of view, geography works with relatively stable boundaries, or that take a long time to be redesigned. But in the contemporary world relations and flows respond to a special dynamic, accelerated by technology. We can imagine new geographical maps created daily by the reinstating of diverse connections, beyond the limitations of the physical space. It is evident that this freedom of movement is not always welcomed by everyone.

However, the desire for expansion, as the artist seems to remind, is part of the history of humanity, especially since the modern era. The desire for mobility redesigned the geographical map and gave us a new apprehension of the Earth through the Age of Exploration, a decisive factor for the formation of our worldview. Today we see another kind of expansion, perhaps less real, and more virtual. But that has the same power to redesign our imaginary. In any case, the plastic form of living organisms, which seems to inspire the artist, is present both in nature and in society. To understand the on-going rearrangements of our social and natural environment is a more than current challenge. And also to think about the fragility of its system of reciprocal compensations, which can be put in check by a more abrupt movement, generating an irremediable imbalance.

Taisa Palhares