The notion of visibility often has a reaction that incites the magnetic forces of attraction or repulsion. The impulse to highlight or hide visual indications of ideologies is at the core of the separate solo shows of artists Cinthia Marcelle and Nicolás Robbio. Although billed as two separate exhibitions in the admittedly large Galeria Vermelho, it’s quite impossible to resist conceptual association of the two shows. Marcelle’s project makes visible societal structures that are complicated, messy, and hard to visualize while Robbio pulls apart the precise visual symbology of power codes.
The notion of financial crisis is at the crux of Marcelle’s work; her photographs, video, and sculptures reveal an invented residue of economic structures. Marcelle has become known for her video works which make visible the circuits of economics and social structures through performative actions or vehicles that create, or are based on, a geometrical form. These futile and subtly absurd enactments produce a contradictory sense of becoming through their repetition of form. It is from this video work that Marcelle recently won the significant 2010 Pinchuk Art Centre’s Future Generation Art Prize.
The installation, Zero de Conduta expands this project with sculpture and photography. Economia, is a sculptural form suspended between the first and second levels of the gallery, a visual manifestation of the invisible air currents that flow through the space. The most poignant works in the show are the photographic diptychs on the second level of the gallery; these formally staged images of poetic acts have a gravity that Economia is unable to capture in its frozen metal ribbons.
Nestled upstairs in an exhibition space, Robbio’s installation Bandeira em Branco Não É Bandeira Branca recalls display techniques of a poorly funded museum. His source materials are insignia found within the architecture of Recife, Brazil.
The antiquated practice of heraldry as a means to identify status and authority has evolved into an ornamentation whose visibility is absorbed by the city. Robbio takes the visual cues of a system deeply rooted in the symbology of power, deconstructs them, and develops a new idiosyncratic visual system of drawings and objects. Ribbio has created an artistic practice that takes existing structures and subverts their framework to build new systems, enabling possibility within rigidness. Isolating and disrupting these emblematic signs uncloaks a repertoire of signifiers of masculinity turned on their head, depraved of power, and transformed into curious, wry gestures.
The neighboring shows generate an architecture of structures in a constant state of scaffolding and crumbling, an edifice that sways between construction and deconstruction.
Zero de Conduta and Bandeira em Branco Não É Bandeira Branca will run through May 21st at Galeria Vermelho in São Paulo, Brazil.