Press Release of the Exhibition
Within the context of Adriana Barreto’s work, our relation with the body meets a multifaceted genealogy that integrates her ideas on affections, the word, the movement, the rhythm, and the body as a process of transformation of our relation with the tension of the body’s movement in space. Because they don’t originate exclusively from the thought unit configured by the artist’s main studies in the field of dance, all these ways of feeling and producing her work are not exhausted in what appears to be translated by the previous statement, but stem from the necessity of overcoming and reflecting upon the diverse stages of her working process.
The piece “O que pode um corpo” (What can a body do1), a performance first presented in Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisbon, develops its modus operandi, one that returns to itself by exploring other formats presented in the exhibition. Photography, video and a book reveal different degrees of registering and documental archive while rehabilitating the present relevance of the ideas presented by Baruch Spinoza’s in his Ethics, a philosophical inquiry on the limits the body as an element that recognizes itself through the affections it is subjected to.
Quoting Spinoza “The human mind has no knowledge of the body, and does not know it to exist, save through the ideas of the modifications (affections) whereby the body is affected.”2. Adriana Barreto doesn’t intend to confront us with the metaphysical questions advanced by Spinoza’s thought, but she recognizes in the present relevance of his ideas questions that she herself addresses. The book presented in the exhibition is simultaneously a catalogue, the documentation of the version of the performance that was presented to an audience, and a selection of three texts by Alberto Saraiva, Delfim Sardo, and João Silvério.
Adriana Barreto Adriana Barreto was born in Rio de Janeiro, where she currently lives and works.
Presently, the artist paints, draws, creates installations, performances, videos and photography. Her biography includes exhibitions in institutions like Museu de Belas Artes do Rio de Janeiro; MAM – Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro; Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte; Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia, Salvador; Brazilian American Cultural Institute, Washington; BIDE – Banco Interamericano de Desenvolvimento Económico, Washington; and Oi Futuro Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro. In 1992 Adriana Barreto was present in Festival Internacional de la Peinture, Château Musée Grimaldi, in Cagnes-sur-Mer; and, in 2001, in IV Bienal Barro da América in Centro de Arte Lia Bérmudez, Macaíbo, Venezuela.
In 2012, the artist presented the exhibition “Agora Sim” in Museu das Comunicações, Lisboa, within the context of the cultural program “Portugal Brasil Agora”, and the performance “O que pode um corpo”, in Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art. She was represented in the collective show “Place of Residence”, curated by Alfons Hug in Shanghai.
1 (TN) The choice to translate “O que pode um corpo” as “What can a body do” was made taking in consideration that this is the most common and accepted translation of the original sentence in French (qu’est-ce que peut un corps?) whenever in the context of the writings of Baruch Spinoza and Gilles Deleuze.
2 Ethica, II; Prop. XIX
Press Release of the Exhibition
After her first exhibition in Lisbon, at Fundação das Comunicações, in 2012; Adriana Barreto returns to this city invited by Galeria Cristina Guerra to present an ephemeral and unique action, the performance O QUE PODE UM CORPO (What Can a Body Do)1.
This performance, in the continuity of the artist’s work, comes after another performative work (a video) O menor espaço para o corpo (The smallest space for the body). Attentive to the problems implied by the limits of corporeality, by the body’s time and space, by movement and movement as drawing, the work inscribes all of them in a unique visual piece, revisiting the context of dance and choreography as a practice and a strategy to think the temporality of the body.
For this performance, Adriana Barrreto transformed the gallery space in a box/container (like a black box) and created a sound piece. On the black floor we will see two moments of the performance interpreted by the artist and six dancer/performers whose bodies resemble black silhouettes drawn in white.
In the first moment, the dancers remove adhesive tape white markings from their black bodies and place them on the ground, drawing cross-shaped marks; a grid that constitutes the choreographic route and an itinerary that marks the temporal breadth of each body’s movements across the floor. Simultaneously, the sound of a rhythmic voice (the artist herself) declaims a word sequence, guiding the audience through the plurality of meanings that the body’s action in space and time can produce as a metaphor: “repeat, beyond, limit, unfold (…) repeat, movements, intensity, affections, action (…).
During the second moment, the dancer’s bodies suffer a subtle change and become fluid and fluttering while they connect the marks on the black floor with lines drawn with white chalk. Here, drawing is the poetical expression of the impulses of our physicality (and choreographic memory), creating a multiplicity of random drawings that relate with the plurality of shapes and forms that the bodies extract from themselves.
What Can a Body Do, a sentence taken from the universe of Baruch Spinoza – an author that guides many of the artist’s reflections –, proposes an inquiry on the limits and ailments that a body (our body?) is subjected to. These limits can belong to the field of emotions or to the physical world, in which case they can be spatialized and measured. How far is this body, and when?
1 (TN) The choice to translate “o que pode um corpo” as “what can a body do” was made taking in consideration that this is the most common and accepted translation of the original sentence in French (qu'est-ce que peut un corps?) whenever in the context of the writings of Baruch Spinoza and Gilles Deleuze.