Art Agenda

“A latent feeling of distress surfaces in the best works in the show. A piece that has already become an icon of this Bienal is Éder Oliveira’s red men painted on the walls of the first floor (Untitled, 2014), a huge mural of young shirtless boys peering out onto the exhibition space, their look something between scared and defiant. They are from Belém, the biggest city in Brazil’s Amazon region, and their photographs were published in local newspapers at the moment they were arrested. Oliveira has taken these snapshots and blown them up to the size of billboards, in a painting style reminiscent of old advertisements. His search for what he deems to be the archetypal man of the Amazon is thus underscored by criminality and social exclusion. There is also a homoerotic charge to these men, a sensuality in tune with how racial differences and the mystification of what it means to be white or black or red or yellow in Brazil has become somewhat of a marketable fetish in the latest academic discussions, with affirmative action policies being implemented in schools and a revival of Gilberto Freyre’s anthropological writings, identifying the roots of modern Brazilians’ appearance and behavior as the racial mixing of black, European, and Indian populations.”

Resenha “How to talk about things that don’t exist” de Silas Marti, publicada no Art Agenda.

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