Autofágico

Pedro Varela

15/Jun/2019 – 27/Jul/2019

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Press Release

A representação do imaginário tropical – ou daquilo que se constituiu como discurso dominante em relação aos trópicos – tem sido o principal objeto de investigação de Pedro Varela. Se, em séries anteriores, o artista tratou do tema a partir da monocromia e de uma certa frieza, nas pinturas reunidas em sua nova individual na Zipper, aberta no dia 15 de junho, predomina uma exuberante paleta de cores, muitas vezes dissonante e contrastante. “Autofágico”, com curadoria de Marcelo Campos, é a quarta individual dele na galeria.


A diversidade cromática reforça a relação de diálogo entre figuração e abstração presente na obra de Pedro Varela. “Os trópicos ganham estranheza através destas cores. Em alguns momentos, chegam a ser psicodélicos, com rosas e verdes fluorescentes. Em outros apresenta tons que poderiam estar em pinturas de Guignard, Tarsila do Amaral, Glauco Rodrigues, Segal ou gravuras de Goeldi”, comenta o artista.


Mas não só as cores marcam a diferença em relação às séries anteriores. Em “Autofágico”, o artista faz releituras de gêneros clássicos da pintura – como natureza morta e paisagem – em trabalhos nos quais se imbricam uma infinidade de personagens, paisagens inventadas, uma “botânica alienígena”, textos, formas abstratas, misturadas às referências europeias de representação dos trópicos e os elementos da história da arte.


Outra característica que sobressai dos trabalhos é a busca do artista por um universo híbrido, de narrativa não linear, com alusões do carnaval aos artistas viajantes, do barroco mineiro ao modernismo antropofágico. “Abri espaço para uma discussão sobre a vida contemporânea. São pinturas que de alguma maneira tentam ser autofágicas em relação a nossa cultura, digerindo e regurgitando o que foi absorvido durante nossa modernidade”, ele afirma.


“Autofágico” fica em cartaz até 27 de julho.


Sobre o artista


Pedro Varela (Niterói, Brasil, 1981) vive e trabalha em Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro. O artista mistura referências literárias e do período barroco em pinturas que remetem a um mundo tropical imaginário. Com um forte caráter de narrativas visuais, suas obras exploram a ideia do exótico frequentemente associada aos trópicos. Em séries mais recentes, Varela vem alternado pinturas em tons vibrantes e formas psicodélicas e outras em paletas de cores reduzidas, como monocromáticos em preto, branco e azul. Tem trabalhos nas seguintes coleções: Coleção SESC (São Paulo-SP); Gilberto Chateaubriand/Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (MAM-RJ); Montblanc México (Cidade do México); Sprint Nextel Art Collection, Overland Park; Museu de Arte do Rio, Rio de Janeiro (MAR-RJ). Entre suas principais exposições destacam-se: “Pedro Varela”, Zipper Galeria, São Paulo, 2016; "O grande tufo de ervas (Com Mauro Piva)", Galeria do Lago – Museu da república, Rio de Janeiro, 2015; "Crônicas tropicais", MDM Gallery, Paris, 2015; "Tropical", Galeria Enrique Guerrero, Mexico DF, 2014; "Dusk to dawn… Threads of infinity (com [with] Carolina Ponte)", Anima Gallery, Doha, Catar, 2014; "Pedro Varela", Centre Culturel Jean-Cocteau, Les Lilas, 2014; "Pedro Varela", Xippas, Montevidéu, 2013; "Le Brésil Rive Gauche", Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, Paris, 2013; "Tropical", Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, 2012; "Ficções", Caixa Cultural do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, 2015; "Anima Gallery two years anniversary", Anima Gallery, Doha, Qatar, 2014'; "Latina", Xippas Art Contemporain, Genebra, 2014; "Repentista", Gallery Nosco, Londres, 2014.


Sobre o curador


Marcelo Campos. Possui graduação em Comunicação Social - Faculdades Integradas Hélio Alonso (1994), mestrado em Artes Visuais pela Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (2001) e doutorado em Artes Visuais pela Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (2005). Atualmente é professor adjunto da Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, professor efetivo do Programa de Pós Graduação em Artes/UERJ, Diretor do Departamento Cultural da UERJ. Tem experiência na área de Artes, com ênfase em Crítica da Arte e Curadoria, atuando principalmente nos seguintes temas: arte contemporânea, artes visuais, história e teoria da arte, antropologia da arte e brasilidade.

Critical essay

"(...) [it] ate from the dictionary the words that could be joined in verses," it ate plants and fruits, flowers and the remnants of bodies that became only a head. It ate the edges of the images that would have been landscape before. It took risks without worrying about the continuity of the drawn lines. It ate architectures that easily adapted to living without some pieces. It ate phrases from the Internet. It ate the cities, the jungle, the portraits, and nature that is born compact, but that is eaten every day. In the recent works of Pedro Varela, devouring became an autophagic gesture and consciousness. To devour is an imposing verb for someone who decides to dive into creative activities.


The act of reviewing his own drawings and paintings, trimming them and taking advantage of the pieces, is perhaps, already a fact, from the beginning of Varela's production. Therefore, here, it is not a question of the "hypocrisy of longing", in reference to Oswald de Andrade's terms from the Anthropophagic Manifesto. To select, to section, to give meaning to the paper fragments, and to imagine apparitions are procedures that we see in the artist’s works along his career. As in the reflections on anthropophagy, we have always rebelled against the statement that "we have never had grammar, or collections of old vegetables." On the contrary, the importation of norms and behavioural rules from other cultures was a dastardly, ill-fated adaptation, and the most coherent response to such a global reference would be frustration "against all importers of canned conscience." In Varela's recent production, a renewed interest and a lively dialogue with the present transform the place of "canned" fantasy – futuristic condition – and collage, into mechanisms of suspension and speech agility.


Still maintaining a certain childish desire, Pedro throws himself into the acidity of colours, taking the landscape to impossible places. In the drawings, the separate heads, as in the condition of portraits, turn the stories autonomous; we do not recognize heroes, we globalize signs. Symbols for recycling, and serrated fists in fighting mode mix with nonsensical questions: "When did all this begin?", "It will get worse". The phrases taken out of context, also used in collages, quickly make sense; they reconnect and generate circularity. Perhaps, here, the creation of "scripts" – nowadays compasses for the virtual – reaffirms the condition of what Oswald called the "right to sleepwalk"; another way to become effective, through fragmented visions. Such are the days when we stand before the plethora of images and phrases from the virtual world, but are there still other worlds? Facts become only correlates, where diffusion through the media generates apocryphal comments. We see a rotten globalization, sometimes through gestures of absurd destruction, sometimes through plots that only become legible when subtitled. Presentiment, post-judgment. These are the conditions of what constitutes what we can still call: narrative.


In Pedro Varela's production colour becomes activated in several ways. On more independent occasions, filters are applied, almost as in the post-production modes, typical of the infographic environment. In the varied vegetation, Varela creates a certain sequentiality of colour, separating areas, adding gradients. Images come in and out of context, just like a renewed logic, today, but already present in cubist collages. And the phrases update these overlaps, slogans like, "here on the periphery of capitalism," "stupid place," and "general strike." Thus, in addition to fable and futurism, there are moments of "here and now", where we stand, even in the abstract conditions of the hardships of the world. We perceive, in a different way, a certain "unification of all revolts", also a verse present in the Anthropophagic Manifesto.


Anthropophagy, autophagy, to review old paintings, to deal with what has been forgotten and badly done, makes use of the pretext of looking and repositioning one’s own history. In autophagy, we see Pedro Varela approaching a gesture that is also in pieces, the Oswaldian gesture as a mote to review the modernist anthropophagic condition, where the strength of the outside became renewed in the synthesis. What do we swallow? What do we regurgitate? How to deal with the otherness that is beyond standards, in environments that aim to be more infinite? Collage, once a way of piecing together, now invents contexts, fosters collusions, and comes close to the most sordid will to power that emerges from the false, the fake, generating unimaginable developments. These are promises of inner worlds that can never become images. All of this causes the artist to question the possibility of dealing with otherness; the first will of Brazilian modernism.


If what unites us is a devouring, as in the terms of Oswald de Andrade, what to do with what remains in pieces? "Autophagy" presents us the production of Pedro Varela, who revolts before the unfinished, wondering what has always been his.


Marcelo Campos

Catalog