CURADORIA CURATORSHIP ALEXANDRE MELO
DEALMEIDA ESILVA IGOR JESUS TIAGO ALEXANDRE JÚLIO POMAR
CÂMARA MUNICIPAL DE LISBOA LISBON CITY HALL PRESIDENTE PRESIDENT Fernando Medina VEREADORA DA CULTURA CITY COUNCIL CULTURAL DIRECTOR Catarina Vaz Pinto DIRECTOR MUNICIPAL DE CULTURA DIRECTOR OF CULTURE Manuel Veiga
CONSELHO DE ADMINISTRAÇÃO DA EGEAC EGEAC BOARD OF DIRECTORS Joana Gomes Cardoso Lucinda Lopes Manuel Veiga
ATELIER-MUSEU JÚLIO POMAR Directora, Curadora Director, Curator Sara Antónia Matos Adjunta de Direcção Deputy to the Director Graça Rodrigues Conservação e Produção Conservation and Production Sara Antónia Matos Graça Rodrigues Pedro Faro Hugo Dinis Joana Batel Comunicação Communication Graça Rodrigues Investigação Research Sara Antónia Matos Pedro Faro Hugo Dinis Coordenação Editorial Editorial Coordination Sara Antónia Matos Serviços Administrativos Administrative Services Isabel Marques Teresa Cardoso Apoio ao Serviço Educativo Education Support Teresa Cardoso
Apoio / Parceria Support
Atelier-Museu Júlio Pomar / EGEAC Rua do Vale, 7 1200-472 Lisboa Portugal Tel + 351 215 880 793
EXPOSIÇÃO EXHIBITION Curadoria Curatorship Alexandre Melo Artistas Artists Dealmeida Esilva Igor Jesus Júlio Pomar Tiago Alexandre Montagem Display André Alexandrino Luís Simões Design Gráfico Graphic Design TemporaDesign Visitas Guiadas Guided Tours Ana Gonçalves Joana Batel Teresa Cardoso
21.10.2017 – 04.02.2018
DOCUMENTA CADERNOS DO ATELIER-MUSEU JÚLIO POMAR
À PARTIDA E À CHEGADA: A PINTURA DE POMAR E A FESTA TÁWAPAYÊRA Sara Antónia Matos [Directora do Atelier-Museu Júlio Pomar]
(A exposição adopta o nome Táwapayêra, palavra proveniente do Nheengatu, língua matriz de dialectos indígenas, que faz referência a uma aldeia mística onde se contam lendas e histórias ancestrais da Amazónia, com origem na sabedoria popular. Foi o tema escolhido pela Associação Cultural Boi-Bumbá Caprichoso para a edição de 2014 do Festival Folclórico de Parintins.)
A exposição «Táwapayêra» (28.10.2017 – 04.02.2018), com curadoria de Alexandre Melo, no Atelier-Museu Júlio Pomar, está integrada no programa Passado e Presente – Lisboa, Capital Ibero-Americana da Cultura 2017 e tem como ponto de partida as obras que Júlio Pomar realizou a partir da sua experiência no território da Amazónia, mais precisamente junto da tribo Yawalapiti, localizada no Xingu, em 1988. Pomar foi à Amazónia no contexto da rodagem do filme Kuarup, de Ruy Guerra, baseado no romance homónimo de António Callado. Pensando que ia apenas permanecer uns dias no território, acaba por ficar cerca de um mês, alojando-se numa tenda, junto da tribo – o que permitiu ao artista partilhar intensas experiências com os seus elementos, apreciar os seus hábitos e modos de vivência.
Resultam daí os mais de dez cadernos com desenhos, feitos in loco, e que se apresentam agora, pela primeira vez, na exposição «Táwapayêra», em grupos que reportam a cenas de luta, caça, rituais festivos ou mesmo à vida diária, nas suas casas – as ocas ou malocas. Sendo Júlio Pomar um desenhador nato, talvez se possa dizer que estes são alguns dos seus desenhos mais impressionantes, pela economia de meios que envolvem (somente um papel de suporte e esferográficas) e pela intensidade que põem em cena. Dos seus emaranhados de linhas, por vezes tão sobrecarregados que preenchem a superfície do papel na totalidade, vemos destacar-se corpos em movimento, os quais ganham espessura, se esbatem entre si e voltam a redefinir-se nos seus contornos possantes, como nas lutas de homens, musculados. A densidade pode observar-se também nas representações de ocas (casas), que adquirem volume à custa da sobreposição de linhas, ou ainda de índios empunhando arcos e flechas que se dissimulam e simultaneamente se destacam entre um enredo de riscos representando a vegetação da selva. Nas várias representações sobressai o vigor dos desenhos, a sua autonomia própria, além das pinturas a que vieram a dar origem, e das quais se apresentam algumas em exposição: Os Txicão (1988), Jakui II (1988) e O banho das crianças no Tuatuari II (1997). Julgo que é deste vigor que fala Alexandre Melo quando se reporta à energia e à alegria de vida que transparece nestas obras e nas obras dos três artistas – Dealmeida Esilva, Igor Jesus e Tiago Alexandre – que aceitaram o desafio para expor com Júlio Pomar. Não é que as obras dos quatro artistas tenham uma relação imediata. Como referi noutra ocasião, as obras destes três artistas entre si e de Júlio Pomar são necessariamente diferentes quer nas suas formas plásticas, meios e suportes adoptados, quer ainda no
DEALMEIDA ESILVA The Rape of Europa 2016 Ã“leo e spray sobre tela Oil and spray on canvas 190 x 280 cm Cortesia do artista Courtesy of the artist
TÁWAPAYÊRA EM LISBOA Alexandre Melo
«O ritmo é de Boi! / É do Norte, é do mato, um sacode um balanço / gostoso / tá cheio de amor pra dar / não pede passaporte nem qualquer documento, vem / deixa o som te levar nessa festa meu bem / Isso aqui tá muito bom / quem quiser vem conhecer / Boi bumbá é o nosso som / qualquer um pode aprender»
Talvez tenha sido quando vi pela primeira vez a pintura de Júlio Pomar O banho das crianças no Tuatuari que soube que um dia viria a conhecer a Amazónia: que, entretanto, se tornaria para mim lugar privilegiado de imaginação e alegria, sempre renovadas. No centro destes sentimentos está o Festival Folclórico de Parintins, uma das mais emocionantes manifestações de cultura popular em que já participei. A primeira vez que fui chegando a Parintins foi em Junho de 2013, ao longo das vinte horas da viagem realizada, a maior parte do tempo, balançando numa rede no convés do navio ou escorado na amurada, olhando os movimentos das águas escuras ou barrentas do rio Amazonas, as margens, as árvores, as janelas e varandas das casas onde as famílias dos ribeirinhos acenam ao longe, ao longo do rio que não cansa nunca.
Lembrei-me do que Pomar me tinha dito a propósito de Tuatuari: «(...) resolvo ousar o que sempre adiara: a evocação, numa grande tela, do espectáculo que todos os dias tinha tido diante de mim, da barraca onde fazia atelier. Em baixo corria o Tuatuari, ribeira de águas transparentes onde a criançada índia, crianças e adolescentes dos dois sexos, vinham ao meio-dia para um ritual muito deles: banhar-se, nadar e brincar, das largas à sua natural alegria de viver. O espectáculo mais extraordinário que eu já vira! Cachos de belos corpos nus, movendo-se com uma graça que nenhum corpo de baile jamais imitará.»1 Na minha primeira noite de festival senti que podia fazer parte das cores, da luz, dos sons, das danças e, pouco a pouco, das personagens e das histórias que, entretanto, pouco a pouco, começaria a aprender, de um dos mais belos espetáculos do mundo. Voltei a lembrar-me de fulgores e esplendores de corpos e cores em pinturas das séries «amazónicas» de Pomar. Só vários anos depois pensei que se me poderia pôr a questão de saber qual seria a minha situação: turista, torcedor, tupinamba... Optei por não me preocupar com tal questão. * «Táwapayêra» foi o tema do espetáculo apresentado pela Associação Cultural Boi-Bumbá Caprichoso em 2014. Desde então, ao ritmo das seis horas de cada três noites de sucessivas edições do Festival, fui pensando que seria bom vir um dia a fazer alguma coisa sob este nome e inspiração. Poderia ser uma exposição.
1 Alexandre Melo, «Júlio Pomar», suplemento da revista Arte Ibérica, nº 14, Lisboa: Maio 1998, pp. 30-31.
Um benfazejo ensejo propiciado pelo Atelier-Museu Júlio Pomar fez surgir a exposição «Táwapayêra». Agradeço o convite a Sara Antónia Matos e agradeço a colaboração de todos os envolvidos, com destaque para Pedro Faro e Hugo Dinis, cujo apoio foi para mim fundamental. Aos artistas quase parece mal agradecer porque todos sabemos que lhes deveremos sempre quase tudo. A uma seleção de obras amazónicas de Júlio Pomar – três pinturas e uma série de desenhos nunca antes mostrados – juntam-se obras inéditas – feitas ou selecionadas de propósito para esta ocasião –, por três artistas da segunda década do novo século: Dealmeida Esilva, Igor Jesus e Tiago Alexandre. Neles reconheço – como em tantos momentos da trajetória de Pomar – a energia vital, a liberdade criativa, a ausência de medo e o sentido (ético, mais que formal) da transgressão, que fazem o essencial do que me move no mundo da arte. Ao contrário das mediocráticas conveniências dos (bons) gostos, dos regulamentos do (bom) design das formas e da correta (ó tão correta!) formatação dos (pre)conceitos. Às figuras e explosões de cores dos «índios» de Júlio Pomar junta-se o dom da libertinagem pictórica concedido a Dealmeida Esilva (quem sabe se pelo próprio Zeus, máscara possível de todos nós), mais as convulsões dos corpos por Igor Jesus raptados (por exemplo em Salò, de Pasolini), em memória de inesquecíveis massacres, mais os incidentes rituais (pós/punk/neo/pop/trash) das tribos juvenis de Tiago Alexandre. *
«Pula galera! Ao som dos tambores da Marujada... A pajelança vai começar!» Aquando do convite para fazer uma proposta de exposição no âmbito da programação que tem juntado obras de Pomar com obras de outros artistas, adotei o tema que antes se tinha desenhado no horizonte de diversas passagens da minha vida: «Táwapayêra». A possibilidade de concretização apresentou-se com reforçada pertinência quando soube dos cadernos de desenhos realizados por Pomar na Amazónia, dos quais pela primeira vez aqui foi exposta uma seleção realizada com base num trabalho de investigação conduzido por Sara Antónia Matos e Pedro Faro. O convite a Dealmeida Esilva, Igor Jesus e Tiago Alexandre surgiu de modo espontâneo, na sequência da circunstância de ter sido com eles que mais falara sobre a minha experiência do Festival de Parintins. Através da disponibilização de materiais literários, visuais e sonoros assegurei que teriam ao seu dispor todo o material referencial de que (não) precisariam para que tudo batesse certo. O ritmo é de Boi... Falemos das obras de Pomar. À minha solicitação específica da presença da tela do Tuatuari juntou-se a escolha concertada de duas pinturas em cujas cores, figuras e movimentos reconheço a liberdade artística e o espírito do Festival de Parintins; e de Pomar. A exuberância das cores, a evidência energética da evocação das figuras humanas, o dinamismo da composição que, em Pomar, não é saber técnico mas sabedoria, risco e desafio no modo de pintar. Vistos e revistos ao vivo impressionaram-me ainda mais vivamente do que antecipara os vermelhos de Os Txicão e Jakui II, ambas de 1988, da cor do sangue ou das pinturas das cerimónias rituais de luta ou de festa. Que deixem correr e escorrer as cores...
IGOR JESUS Franco Merli 2017 Mala, molduras, negativos de grande formato, ferro Suitcase, frames, large-format films, iron 50 x 113 x 102 cm Cortesia do artista Courtesy of the artist e | and Galeria Filomena Soares
IGOR JESUS Franco Merli 2017 Casaco de pele, moldura, negativo de grande formato, ferro Fur coat, frame, largeformat film, iron 40 x 78 x 52 cm Cortesia do artista Courtesy of the artist e | and Galeria Filomena Soares
LIÇÕES DE PARINTINS TURISTA, TORCEDOR, TUPINAMBA Alexandre Melo
Este texto é dedicado a Hudson Carlos
I O Festival Folclórico de Parintins realiza-se, com um formato organizativo que se foi alterando ao longo do tempo, desde 1965. Parintins é uma ilha maravilhosa situada no grande estado do Amazonas, no Brasil, mais ou menos a meio caminho entre Manaus e Belém (capital do estado do Pará). Parintins tem perto de 120 mil habitantes e recebeu em 2017 cerca de 70 mil visitantes durante o Festival. Hoje em dia, o Festival realiza-se todos os anos no último fim de semana de Junho. Numa arena desenhada em forma de cabeça de boi, chamada Bumbódromo, em três noites consecutivas, as agremiações representativas do Boi Caprichoso e do Boi Garantido apresentam, cada uma, três espetáculos inéditos, cada um com 2,5 horas de duração. A exibição reúne música («Boi» também é uma forma musical), dança, canções, declamações e uma sofisticada cenografia composta por dezenas de «alegorias» – engenhosas construções cénicas animadas por uma multiplicidade de «efeitos especiais». O espetáculo não envolve nenhum boi, animal vivo. No final das três noites um júri atribui a vitória a um dos Bois.
Festival Folclórico de Parintins 2014 Associação Cultural do Boi-Bumbá Caprichoso
Festival Folclórico de Parintins 2014 Associação Cultural do Boi-Bumbá Caprichoso
A origem da celebração é descrita de várias formas: festividade de origem religiosa e/ou pagã, oriunda do Nordeste, talvez com raízes portuguesas e/ou africanas; fábula mágica sobre a morte e ressurreição de um boi e a salvação de uma comunidade; criação, no início do século XX, de dois pequenos bois, brinquedos artesanais, por duas crianças que se tornaram figuras de referência local. As descrições disponíveis são intermináveis e contraditórias. Hoje em dia, o elemento mais forte é a valorização das especificidades históricas e culturais da Amazónia, «aldeia mística». Importa o que permanece: a alegria de «brincar de Boi» e a rivalidade entre os Bois. O espetáculo oferecido pelos Bois-Bumbá reúne, de forma original, as características de três das mais empolgantes experiências culturais que conheço: a ópera, o futebol e o Carnaval. Ao falar de ópera recordo aproximações a encenações barrocas e, sobretudo, a experiência do Ring de Wagner, em particular quando se assiste às quatro óperas em sequência num curto período de tempo. Retenho, em comum, o império do ritmo, o arrebatamento da voz e o poder de atração visual das cenografias. Sem sequer especular sobre convergências nos modos de combinação entre figuras reais e sobrenaturais, psicologias humanas e destinos transcendentais, deuses, heróis, feiticeiros, gigantes, mártires e meros humanos. Não sei quase nada sobre ópera mas ouso dizer que gosto de ver e ouvir Bryn Terfel (o meu Wotan). Já no caso do Boi, não hesito em enaltecer a voz de David Assayag, atual «levantador de toadas» (cantor) do Boi Caprichoso e, por certo, uma das mais belas vozes vivas no mundo. Enfim, paixão. Com a vantagem de a música ser, por definição, uma coisa incompreensível, o que significa que pode (não) ser compreendida por todos. O tópico da rivalidade conduz-nos ao futebol. A rivalidade entre os dois Bois é tal que a pequena ilha de Parintins está, para quase
Festival Folclórico de Parintins 2014 Associação Cultural do Boi-Bumbá Caprichoso
Festival Folclórico de Parintins 2014 Associação Cultural do Boi-Bumbá Caprichoso
todos os efeitos práticos, dividida em duas partes, em que imperam de um lado a cor azul e do outro a cor vermelha. É o único local do mundo onde a Coca-Cola é vendida em latas não apenas vermelhas mas também azuis. Foi necessária uma autorização da administração central da empresa para que a Coca-Cola pudesse usar esta cor, nomeadamente na publicidade, durante o Festival. Do mesmo modo, o Facebook criou recentemente um novo emoji para satisfazer uma torcida à qual repugnava ter de usar nos seus likes a cor do Boi contrário. O Bumbódromo está dividido ao meio ficando de um lado a «galera» do Caprichoso e do outro a «galera» do Garantido. Não se pode (mesmo) estar no meio de uma «galera» vestido com a cor do «Boi contrário». Durante a exibição do seu Boi o respetivo público (também sujeito a pontuação pois faz parte da apresentação) atua, acompanhando o espetáculo (de forma ainda mais intensa que o público do futebol, mesmo se considerarmos o público do Liverpool nas suas melhores tardes), enquanto a outra metade da bancada permanece em silêncio e sem iluminação. Contam-se histórias de prefeitos que mandaram alterar as cores nos semáforos e nas passadeiras para peões de acordo com as cores dos seus Bois. A natureza lúdica do espetáculo não exclui uma radical rivalidade com elaboradas implicações políticas e financeiras. Para ilustrar a dimensão dramática («operática») do futebol em geral bastará recordar a saga do Brasil na Copa 2014: desde o atentado colombiano (talvez encomendado pelos argentinos) contra Neymar até ao desfecho «trágico» (1-7) com a Alemanha. Enfim, paixão. Com a vantagem de o prazer do jogo (combate) e o desejo de vitória serem sentimentos tão pouco nobres quanto partilháveis por toda a espécie humana.
Aqui chegados, a evocação do Carnaval já deve parecer óbvia, mas importa esclarecer que, para mim, a principal referência, apesar das semelhanças formais, não é o Carnaval do Rio, um espetáculo relativamente convencional. Importará, ainda assim, referir que as melhores escolas do Rio, e também de São Paulo, contratam em Parintins muitos dos seus melhores colaboradores cenográficos que, por sua vez, transformam o Festival de Parintins no momento ideal de apresentação das suas mais deslumbrantes e inovadoras criações. Uma vez terminado o Festival, os artistas rumam para o Sul para trabalharem para o Carnaval, regressando em Fevereiro para começarem a produzir as novas «alegorias» do próximo Festival. Invoco o Carnaval de rua, tomando como exemplo o Carnaval de Salvador, que permite uma participação intensa e abrangente e uma interpenetração fluida entre performers, participantes e espectadores. Há diferenças entre ir em cima do «trio elétrico», assistir «de» camarote, ir «dentro» da «corda» (que delimita o espaço de quem pagou para estar junto ao «trio») ou ir na «pipoca» (fora da «corda»), mas não há como excluir quem quer que seja. Não pode ser proibido estar na rua. As ruas ficam fisicamente cheias. Enfim, paixão. Com a vantagem de toda a população estar, por definição, convidada e convocada. Em Parintins a distinção entre as formas de participação é ainda mais sofisticada e com um mais acentuado pendor igualitário. A maioria dos lugares no Bumbódromo está reservada para as «galeras» que não pagam entrada. Em contrapartida, como a admissão é por ordem de chegada, os torcedores fazem fila desde a madrugada, o que transforma a própria fila num espetáculo permanente em que a animação só é igualável pelo consumo de latinhas de cerveja e pela capacidade de resistência física.
PARINTINS 2018 ENTREVISTA A ERICKY NAKANOME Presidente do Conselho de Arte do Boi Caprichoso
Alexandre Melo e Cleyton Andrade*
Qual a razão da escolha do tema do Boi Caprichoso para 2018: «Sabedoria Popular – Uma Revolução Ancestral»? O Boi Caprichoso teve a experiência de 2017 com o tema «A Poética do Imaginário Caboclo», que falava da arte parintinense, da tecedura do homem da Amazónia e dos mitos e das encantarias que compõem esse imaginário. Para 2018, a partir das experiências que tivemos em 2017, fomos buscar um tema que pudesse enfatizar um campo mais aberto. Quando se fala de folklore, a palavra anglo-saxónica tem o significado de sabedoria popular ou o saber que vem do povo. Então, contar a história do folklore amazónico e do folklore parintinense é um dos nossos objetivos para o ano de 2018. É um tema em que cabem, na mesma proposta metodológica, os anseios artísticos de um grupo que pensa em ousar e em revolucionar o Festival de Parintins. Assim, nós buscamos um tema que pudesse abordar em todo o seu bojo a tradição e a inovação que o Boi-Bumbá Caprichoso quer levar para a arena no ano de 2018.
Qual o significado que atribuem às expressões «sabedoria popular» e «revolução ancestral»? Bom, sabedoria popular é o folklore. E revolução ancestral é justamente a nossa história. A partir do ponto de vista de quem está no presente e olhando não para a frente, mas olhando para trás. Às vezes as pessoas confundem a proposta: revolução seria algo novo, e ancestral algo muito antigo. Então, é no novo... é o Boi Caprichoso olhando do presente para trás, como os nossos ancestrais revolucionaram, a partir do saber popular, as suas tradições, até chegarem ao que hoje nós temos como substrato que seria o Festival Folclórico de Parintins.
Como você disse, normalmente as pessoas entendem que revolução é uma coisa nova e ancestral é uma coisa antiga. Como é que o Boi consegue combinar a manutenção da tradição e a necessidade de inovação? Bom, a tradição ela está na própria brincadeira do Boi, no ritmo. Ela está em todos aqueles fazeres em que os folguedos não permitem mudança. No entanto, em Parintins há uma coisa nova que somente Parintins tem. Se você for no Maranhão a manifestação está intata. No Pernambuco, o Maracatu não sofre tantas alterações. O Boi Caprichoso, o Festival de Parintins tem essa dinâmica de uma mudança a partir da inovação, onde essa própria inovação é responsável pela manutenção da tradição. É como acontece hoje nos povos indígenas. Então na idade contemporânea em que vivemos os povos indígenas, para guarnecerem as suas tradições frente ao capitalismo, usam as novas tecnologias para salvaguardarem os seus ritos, os seus mitos e o seu universo cosmogónico. Então é isso que o Boi faz. O Boi se apropria das novas mídias e das novas tecnologias para poder fazer a manutenção da sua tradição. Ao fazer com que mais pessoas sejam
adeptas da festa, fazendo com que os antigos estejam presentes na festa, o Festival faz a manutenção de toda a comunidade que compõe a festa do Boi-Bumbá.
Qual a importância da presença dos turistas e dos visitantes estrangeiros no Festival de Parintins? A importância é económica. Eu não diria que Parintins vive do turismo, porque o próprio povo de Parintins ainda não soube sistematizar para si a entrada dos recursos para a cidade, mas eu penso que o turismo, hoje, em Parintins, é como se fosse uma bandeira política, na qual os Bumbás fazem por sensibilizar politicamente os líderes para que olhem para a comunidade do interior do Amazonas. Você tem no interior do estado do Amazonas uma cidade onde você tem, ainda não com excelência – infelizmente, eu não falo isso com alegria –, mas tem o hospital regional e tem a presença das universidades, porque o Boi virou chamariz do município, fazendo com que a própria comunidade brasileira olhe para o norte do Brasil. Isso para nós é muito importante e é graças ao turismo, e graças a essa validação dada pelas pessoas de fora, que inclusive os próprios amazonenses olham para a festa com mais cuidado.
Como é que o Festival pode ser ao mesmo tempo um evento da cultura local de Parintins e um evento artístico internacional? O Festival Folclórico de Parintins tem ganho uma visibilidade nacional por conta de características muito peculiares da cidade. Não é a pintura, porque a pintura nós sabemos que existem melhores pintores no Brasil. Não é a escultura, porque também sabemos que existem melhores escultores no Brasil. Mas os artistas criaram engenhocas,
eles fizeram criações nas quais deram movimentos às nossas esculturas. Podem não ser as mais belas, mas são as que andam, as que piscam, as que sorriem na arena do Bumbódromo. Isso fez com que a festa ganhasse uma notoriedade e fez com que os artistas, inclusive pintores e escultores, pudessem também expandir os seus trabalhos para outros lugares, como os carnavais do Rio de Janeiro e de São Paulo e outras festas populares do Brasil. Essa relação para nós é muito importante, porque faz todo um sistema de trabalho para os artistas parintinenses que trabalham para além do Festival de Parintins.
* Cleyton Andrade é responsável pela Plataforma das Redes Sociais do Boi Caprichoso, Manaus
Texto escrito ao abrigo do novo Acordo Ortográfico da Língua Portuguesa.
DEPOIMENTO de Netto Simões, pajé do Boi Caprichoso 2017 O pajé, no contexto de Parintins, veio através do bumba meu boi, do auto do boi, onde o boi é morto e pajé o traz à vida. É representado como um curandeiro, geralmente um senhor de idade, que tem contato com o mundo espiritual. O pajé traz do mundo espiritual a sabedoria para o mundo físico, ele traz os conhecimentos das ervas e dos fumos para as tribos. Geralmente, vamos para a aldeia mais próxima para ter esse contato para nos ajudar a incorporar melhor. No Festival de Parintins o pajé é meio alegórico. Nós inserimos algo meio afro, até pelo contexto histórico da vinda dos negros para o Brasil, porque eles também escutavam os deuses indígenas. Procuramos inserir esta dimensão que ajuda bastante à festa. Quando saímos do Bumbódromo e se escuta as pessoas gritando nosso nome e batendo palmas, isso é muito gratificante. Assim você se sente de alma lavada e se sente forte para que no próximo dia possa ir para a arena e fazer melhor.
TIAGO ALEXANDRE The Rising of the Moon – 24:00 2017 Barro vermelho, grafite e réplicas de anéis da Superbowl sobre plinto de madeira Red clay, graphite and replicas of Superbowl rings on wood plinth 30 x 31 x 12 cm + 90 x 65 x 55 cm Cortesia do artista Courtesy of the artist
TIAGO ALEXANDRE The Rising of the Moon – 22:00 2017 Barro vermelho, grafite e réplicas de anéis da Superbowl sobre plinto de madeira Red clay, graphite and replicas of Superbowl rings on wood plinth 33 x 32,5 x 16 cm + 110 x 60 x 65 cm Cortesia do artista Courtesy of the artist
DUAS «CENAS DE BANHISTAS» EM POST SCRIPTUM Júlio Pomar
Ei-las, essas «Cenas de banhistas, dupla homenagem ao velho
Cézanne e a estas lindas crianças, etc.», estão aí, as duas, uma a esconder a outra, arrumadas contra a parede de fundo do atelier de
Paris onde as pintei, apoiando-me nesse mesmo tabique que tantas vezes pensei mandar deitar abaixo.
Devido às suas dimensões só pude trabalhá-las e só posso agora
olhá-las uma de cada vez. Como cada uma delas é um todo, uma peça
completa, esse constrangimento não me parece assim tão grave;
uma seguiu-se à outra, como tantos quadros se seguiram a outros, por pensar que a coisa ainda não estava esgotada e que podia levar
mais longe – ou noutra direcção – o que estava a desenvolver. Se tivessem podido ficar lado a lado, eu teria tido vontade – tenho quase
a certeza – de retomá-las, de estabelecer novas relações, de conduzi-
-las ou de me deixar conduzir, de alteração em alteração, no sentido de um impossível acabamento. Deste ponto de vista, conheço-me
bem, volta e meia há que ser razoável – isto é, refrear as vontades, ou seja, trair.
O facto de ter trabalhado no presente ano de 1997 com enormes
formatos, mais apropriados ao tema das cenas de banhistas que os
que tinha utilizado antes, levou-me a não resistir à tentação de dar seguimento a este velho projecto que concebi nessa época, talvez sem grande convicção, ou pelo menos sem lhe sentir a urgência.
Encetei o primeiro ao regressar de Biarritz aonde tinha ido ver o espaço
onde teria lugar a apresentação de algumas das minhas telas. Comecei sem me apoiar em nenhum documento ou num rascunho feito no momento. Tinha pressa.
A tela seguiu o seu curso. Trabalhava nela de manhã à noite quando
fiz a descoberta, na sacola que no Xingu trazia sempre comigo e na
qual guardava todos os meus caderninhos, do último deles onde tinha
feito algumas anotações rápidas sobre as minhas Banhistas, algumas tentativas de delineação. Tinha esquecido completamente a própria existência desses rascunhos! Freud Nosso que estais nos céus!
Esta descoberta obrigou-me a começar a segunda Cena de
banhistas e as duas telas foram-me levando passo a passo, cada uma
a seu modo. Irão elas encerrar agora o ciclo que eu julgava concluído há quase dez anos?
Paris / Harbour Island, Julho de 1997
«Deux “Baignades” en post scriptum» [Duas «Cenas de
banhistas» em post scriptum], in Alain Gheerbrant, Júlio
Pomar – Peinture et Amazonie, Éditions de La Différence, Paris, pp. 113-115. (Tradução do francês: Sousa Dias)
JÚLIO POMAR O banho das crianças no Tuatuari 1997 Acrílico, carvão e pastel sobre tela Acrylic, charcoal and pastel on canvas 195 x 390 cm Colecção Collection David Santos Pinto
JÚLIO POMAR Xingu 1988 Grafite sobre papel Graphite on paper 15 x 21 cm Colecção do artista Collection of the artist
JÚLIO POMAR Xingu 1988 Grafite sobre papel Graphite on paper 15 x 21 cm Colecção do artista Collection of the artist
JÚLIO POMAR Xingu 1988 Grafite sobre papel Graphite on paper 15 x 21 cm Colecção do artista Collection of the artist
Cercado de colossos cuja carne pintalgada deliciaria qualquer fauve! A pintura, aqui, tem por suporte a nudez. Ora inscreve a magia dos
signos, ora se abandona em pinceladas preguiçosas. Crus contrastes de cor, de matéria também, ao compasso dos corpos que acabam
por se fragmentar num puzzle em cuja lógica os nossos olhos não
atinam, meio cegos por um sol que não perdoa. Vermelhos gritantes (por vezes em empastes oleosos que jamais secarão!), brancos de
giz, o baço do negro fuliginoso. A epiderme, coiro curtido, orna-se, ou
melhor, é cortada e recortada pelo cetim das penas: verdes ácidos, amarelo solar, negros macios, azuis, brancos, vermelhos, de fazer perder o fôlego aos mais finos dos pigmentos para artistas.
Eu vinha por escassos dias, parasitei o lugar durante dois meses. … Trabalhos em curso: de regresso à Europa, no atelier, o papel
da natureza-morta tradicional (o encontro duma maçã e duma faca sobre uma toalha aos quadrados) quem o desempenha agora é a recordação das imagens que pejaram uma imprevisível estada do outro lado do oceano, do outro lado da história.
O meu amigo Roberto Fonseca, jovem empresário brasileiro, num
encontro em Lisboa no mês de Junho do ano passado, desafiara-me a
aproveitar o acampamento instalado numa clareira aberta em plena selva do Xingu, na bacia amazónica, base logística das filmagens de
QUARUP, o filme de Ruy Guerra do qual ele havia entusiasticamente assegurado a produção.
Espiar tribos primitivas, não estava na exígua lista dos meus
projectos. Apanhado de surpresa, o convite tentou-me. O tempo
apenas de ler QUARUP, o magnífico romance de António Callado, donde Ruy Guerra tirara o roteiro do seu filme, mais dois ou três livros que não me afrouxaram a convicção de que ia para o mato completamente em branco.
No acampamento, Hotel de mil estrelas como Roberto lhe
chamava – estrelas cujo brilho, hélas! dia a dia minguava, mercê
do massacre criminoso da floresta –, acomodaram-me o mais belo atelier que jamais terei. Numa das poucas sombras, sob uma lona, uma mesa coxa, duas cadeiras de dobrar. Não tardei em perceber
que a cadeira destinada ao visitante, melhor valia tê-la recolhida. O
índio, tão curioso dos hábitos do homem branco como nós dos deles,
a todo o instante vinha dar-se ao prazer de se sentar nela, objecto bizarro alheio à sua civilização. E durante as horas sem fim que a boa
conversa durava, eu ficava impedido de fazer o que quer que seja. Aprendi também a evitar a saborosa desordem do plano de trabalho.
O Índio quer tudo, mexe em tudo e leva consigo quanto lhe dá na vontade. Utensílios, cadernos de desenho, fotos, o pouco material
a que me condicionara tinha de o conservar arrecadado nas sacolas
que me acompanhavam sempre e das quais eu não tirava de cada vez senão o estritamente necessário.
Diante de mim, a dois passos, corria o Tuatuari, ribeiro de cristal,
onde a criançada impúbere vinha tomar o seu banho do meio-dia.
Banho este que era a suprema festa. Exibiam-se nas mais variadas
cabriolas, tirando prazer do mover do corpo como jamais o vi fazer
a bailarinos ou acrobatas. O contrário do pesado rigor com que Cézanne ordenava as suas teorias de banhistas. Jurei fazer um dia,
quando disso me sentir capaz, um quadro dos pequenos banhistas do
Tuatuari – dupla homenagem ao Velho e a estes meninos de sonho, assim eu os via.
O meu quadro faz-se – faz-se muito mais do que eu o faço – na
conjugação do que eu vi neste mundo, com aquilo que eu estou vendo aparecer na tela quando pinto.
O que eu vi: não duvido que a memória, máquina mal regulada,
o trata (ou maltrata) à sua maneira. O que eu estou vendo quando
pinto: tensões, deflagrações, a energia que se liberta e com a qual eu devo contar, tal como no ritual da corrida de touros, o toureiro conta
com a participação do touro na composição de figuras em que o risco é mortal.
Diálogo, combate entre os fragmentos que se auto-seleccionam
de entre o que eu vi, ou supus ver, ou vivi, ou supus viver, e esta
outra realidade, a minha tela recortando-se no espaço e recebendo,
ou impondo, as forças e os pesos que a minha mão nela inscreve. Para a ferir, ou para a tornar resplandecente, descerro os lábios nebulosos
da memória para dela extrair os dados, as provas, os testemunhos, os argumentos, que serão talhados a machado pelos poderes ou não-poderes da percepção, no instante mesmo em que ela é produzida – a
tão desejada acuidade visual, chave das bizarrias circenses que roem
o coração de certos pintores: «encontrar o maior número possível de relações», como dizia Cézanne.
«Kuarup», in Cahiers de la Différence, nº 4, Outubro-
-Dezembro, Éditions de La Différence, Paris, pp. 37-39.
(Tradução portuguesa no catálogo Pomar/Brasil, Ministério
da Cultura do Brasil / CAM – Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 1990)
JÚLIO POMAR Xingu (pormenor | detail) 1988 Esferográfica sobre papel Ballpoint pen on paper 13 x 9 cm Colecção do artista Collection of the artist
JÚLIO POMAR Xingu 1988 Esferográfica sobre papel Ballpoint pen on paper 9 x 13 cm Colecção do artista Collection of the artist
JÚLIO POMAR Xingu 1988 Esferográfica sobre papel Ballpoint pen on paper 9 x 13 cm Colecção do artista Collection of the artist
JÚLIO POMAR Xingu (Kuarup) 1988 Esferográfica e marcador sobre papel Ballpoint pen and marker on paper 20,3 x 14,5 cm Colecção do artista Collection of the artist
JÚLIO POMAR Xingu (Kuarup) 1988 Esferográfica e marcador sobre papel Ballpoint pen and marker on paper 21 x 14,5 cm Colecção do artista Collection of the artist
JÚLIO POMAR Xingu (Kuarup) 1988 Esferográfica e marcador sobre papel Ballpoint pen and marker on paper 21 x 14,5 cm Colecção do artista Collection of the artist
JÚLIO POMAR Jakui II 1988 Acrílico e carvão sobre tela Acrylic and charcoal on canvas 146 x 89 cm Colecção particular Private collection
POMAR ANTES, DURANTE E DEPOIS DA AMAZÓNIA
A esferográfica, o marcador, o lápis e a tinta
«... o que eu queria era que me acontecessem aventuras reais. Mas as aventuras reais, reflecti, não acontecem a pessoas que ficam em casa: têm de ser procuradas.» (James Joyce)
«Toda a infelicidade resulta de uma desintegração ou falta de integração; há desintegração no Eu por falta de coordenação entre o consciente e o inconsciente; há falta de integração entre o Eu e a sociedade quando os dois não estão unidos pela força dos interesses e afeições objectivas. O homem feliz é aquele que não sofre de nenhuma destas faltas de unidade, cuja personalidade não está dividida contra si própria nem em conflito com o mundo. Um tal homem sente-se cidadão do universo, goza livremente o espectáculo que ele lhe oferece e as alegrias que lhe permite, sem se perturbar com o pensamento da morte, porque realmente não se sente separado daqueles que vierem depois dele. É nessa união profunda e instintiva com a corrente da vida que se podem encontrar as alegrias mais intensas.» (Bertrand Russell)
«É uma luta da vida inteira, defendendo, tentando fazer com que as pessoas aprendam a ver com o olhar do povo indígena estes rios, estas florestas, montanhas que vêm sendo devoradas pela mineração e garimpo.» (Ailton Krenak)
Foi há trinta anos, no dia 4 de Setembro de 1987, que o porta-voz
do emergente Movimento Indígena, Ailton Krenak, fez um discurso histórico que conseguiu reverter a conjuntura política anti-indígena na legislatura do Congresso Nacional Brasileiro. O emocionante gesto
de luto de Krenak – vestido com fato e gravata brancos, pintou o rosto com a tinta preta do jenipapo, segundo o tradicional costume
indígena brasileiro, para protestar contra o que considerava um
retrocesso na luta pelos direitos dos índios brasileiros – foi decisivo para a aprovação dos artigos 231 e 232 da Constituição Federal de
1988 pelos parlamentares constituintes1. Em 1988, participou da fundação da União dos Povos Indígenas, organização que representa os interesses indígenas.
Na mesma altura, em 1987 e 1988, Júlio Pomar viajou e trabalhou
no Brasil e na Amazónia. Para Paulo Herkenhoff, as obras que Pomar
realiza na sequência destas estadas, «sans être polémique, cette
série révèle cependant votre sympathie pour la cause des peuples indigènes. Au-delà de cet engagement politique, explicite et immédiat, s’agit-il pour vous d’une prise de position éthique»2.
É a vontade de tecer novas afinidades que nos pode fazer
pensar na importância do Brasil no percurso de Júlio Pomar, talvez porque, como refere Lévi-Strauss, figura de referência para Júlio Pomar de quem aliás este pinta um retrato: «Uma viagem inscreve-
-se simultaneamente no espaço, no tempo e na hierarquia social. Todas as impressões são apenas definíveis referidas a estas três
dimensões, seriam necessárias pelo menos cinco para conseguir uma representação adequada de uma viagem. Sinto isso logo que desembarco no Brasil.»3
1 Ver vídeo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWMHiwdbM_Q.
2 Herkenhoff, Paulo, «Júlio Pomar et Paulo Herkenhoff. Entretien», in Gheerbrant, Alain, Júlio Pomar. Peinture et Amazonie, Éditions de La Différence, Paris, 1997, p. 59. 3 Lévi-Strauss, Claude, Tristes Trópicos, Edições 70, Lisboa, 2011, p. 77.
A necessidade de alargar as noções de viagem (por parte de Lévi-
-Strauss) é a mesma que terá motivado Júlio Pomar a largar o seu horizonte de acção/pintura quando viajou para o Brasil?
Questionar o trópico? Ou a necessidade, perante a consolidação
cultural adquirida ao longo de muitos anos, de registar outras estruturas
discursivas, relações de poder, observar outras paisagens visuais,
deixar-se contaminar por narrativas historiográficas alternativas, perceber e inscrever novos modos de ver, ser e sentir, adquirir novos
vocábulos, expressões e argumentos contemporâneos, actualizar horizontes de expectativas, comprovar, ratificar, justificar, registar e perturbar a estabilidade do património intelectual adquirido... É possível admitir tudo isto como resposta.
«Talvez eu deva concluir que, se penso, então também sou
um outro. Pois só outro pensa, só é interessante o pensamento enquanto potência de alteridade. O que seria uma boa definição da
antropologia. E também uma boa definição da antropofagia [...]. “Só me interessa o que não é meu. Lei do homem. Lei do antropófago.” Lei do antropólogo. (Eduardo Viveiros de Castro)»4
No contexto actual, o trabalho que Pomar desenvolveu a partir
de diferentes experiências no Brasil sugere que «the politics of lives that matter means imagining a politics with “those without whom the earth would never be the earth”»5.
A convite de Roberto Fonseca, produtor do filme Kuarup, realizado
por Ruy Guerra (a partir do livro Quarup de António Callado – um dos
grandes romances brasileiros do século XX, cuja história se passa, em parte, no mato, no meio das tribos índias do Amazonas), Júlio Pomar
parte para a Amazónia, onde fica durante um mês, em 1988, na aldeia 4 In http://root.ps/download/estrategiasconjuntas/VIVEIROS-DE-CASTRO-Eduardo -Encontros-1.pdf (acedido em 13 de Dezembro de 2017).
5 Vergès, Françoise, «Like a Riot: The Politics of Forgetfulness, Relearning the South, and the Island of Dr. Moreau», in South as a State of Mind #1, Documenta 14, p. 41.
Yawalapiti, no território índio do Alto Xingu. A experiência de um lugar extraordinário, no meio de tribos índias, dá origem, primeiro, a uma
série de desenhos/estudos feitos in loco, e depois a uma série de
pinturas realizadas em Lisboa, no ateliê do artista.
Antes da Amazónia No contexto do território brasileiro6, e antes da série de pinturas
sobre a Amazónia, no percurso de Pomar encontramos, em 1987, a execução de uma decoração mural em azulejo para o Gran Circo Lar,
em Brasília, que dá origem à publicação Pomar – Os Desenhos do
Circo de Brasília, edição da Galeria 111, com um texto do comissário
brasileiro Paulo Herkenhoff, e a série de pinturas com o título Mascarados de Pirenópolis – um total de quinze quadros, que foram
apresentados em 1988 em Madrid, na ARCO, e a seguir na Galeria 111, em Lisboa. Deve-se a Mário Quartim Graça, então conselheiro
cultural da Embaixada de Portugal em Brasília, a sugestão que levou
Júlio Pomar a assistir às festas do Divino Espírito Santo em Pirenópolis, cidade do estado de Goiás, no Brasil. Como descreve Alberto da Costa e Silva, «em Pirenópolis, desde o primeiro quartel do século
XIX, todos os anos, durante os festejos do Divino Espírito Santo, as cavalhadas ganham a praça. Os três dias de espectáculo começam
com um desfile de mascarados, vestidos de roupas coloridas e estampados, como coloridos e estampados são os panos que cobrem
as suas montarias enfeitadas também de flores, fitas e guizos. As
máscaras, de pano ou moldadas em papelão, apresentam em geral a forma de cabeça, de um boi, de aspas enormes, e são pintadas
com força e brilho». Esta série de pinturas é assim um enigmático ensaio sobre o movimento e a tentativa de fixar permanentemente a
6 Para uma abordagem mais completa sobre Pomar e o Brasil consultar o catálogo Pomar / Brasil. O Gran’ Circo Kar, 1986; Os Mascarados de Pirenópolis, 1987; Xingú, 1988, com coordenação editorial do Centro de Arte Moderna – Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, e editado pelo Ministério da Cultura do Brasil / CAM – FCG, Brasil / Lisboa, 1990.
DEPARTURE AND ARRIVAL: POMAR’S PAINTING AND THE TÁWAPAYÊRA FESTIVAL Sara Antónia Matos [Director of the Atelier-Museu Júlio Pomar]
(The exhibition takes the name Táwapayêra, a word that comes from Nheengatu, the general language on which many indigenous dialects are based, and which refers to a mystical village where the legends and ancient stories of Amazonia, with their folk wisdom origins, are told. It was the theme chosen by the Boi-Bumbá Caprichoso Cultural Association for the 2014 edition of the Parintins Folklore Festival.)
The exhibition “Táwapayêra” (28.10.2017 – 04.02.2018), curated by Alexandre Melo, at the Atelier-Museu Júlio Pomar, is part of the Past and Present – Lisbon, Ibero-American Capital of Culture 2017 programme and sets off from the works that Júlio Pomar created based on his experiences in the region of Amazonia, more precisely with the Yawalapiti tribe, located in Xingu, in 1988. Pomar travelled to Amazonia in the context of the filming of Kuarup by Ruy Guerra, based on the novel of the same name by António Callado. Thinking that he would only be in the area for a few days, he ended up staying there for around a month, sleeping in a tent, alongside the tribe, which allowed the artist to share intense experiences with its members, and to observe their habits and ways of life. This resulted in more than ten notebooks of drawings, carried out in situ, which are on display now, for the first time, in this exhibition, in groups that depict scenes of fighting, hunting, festive rituals, even daily life in the tribe’s houses – Ocas or Malocas. In the framework of Júlio Pomar’s natural propensity for drawing, it could be argued that these are some of his most impressive sketches, for the economy of resources involved (just a sheet of paper as support, and biros) and for the intensity they bring to the fore.
Among tangles of lines, sometimes so dense that they fill the surface of the paper entirely, moving bodies appear, gaining depth, fade into each other and return to be redefined in mighty outlines, like men fighting, muscular. This density is also present in the depictions of the okas (houses), which are given volume by the superimposition of lines, and of natives clutching bows and arrows, concealed and simultaneously prominent among a tangle of strokes representing the jungle vegetation. In the various representations, the vigour of the drawings is evident, as is their autonomy beyond the paintings to which they gave rise, some also shown in the exhibition: Os Txicão (1988), Jakui II (1988) and O banho das crianças no Tuatuari II (1997). I believe it is this vigour to which Alexandre Melo refers when he speaks of the energy and life joy that shines through in these works and those of the three artists – Dealmeida Esilva, Igor Jesus and Tiago Alexandre – who accepted the challenge of exhibiting with Júlio Pomar. This is not to say that the works of the four artists have an immediate relationship. As I have mentioned before, the works of the three young artists among themselves and those of Júlio Pomar are necessarily different, whether in respect of the adopted plastic forms, mediums and supports, or in reference to the conceptual and ideological positioning of the artists in relation to art – and something would be wrong if that were not the case, because after all, they are separated by 60 years. However, there is something that remains intact in the work of these three and the veteran: commitment, passion and audacity. The enthusiasm with which they commit to what they do and the vitality with which they infuse and enrich each work is the same that we have always recognised in Júlio Pomar. This becomes obvious in the exhibition, sometimes explicitly, on other occasions in a more cryptic manner. This is the case with Dealmeida Esilva, who presents a group of paintings that appear to establish an affinity with Pomar’s processes. In the painting of both artists, the surface of the canvas appears to take the place of a screen from which signs emerge (from inside outwards), appearing and disappearing from it as the canvas is worked and as time wreaks its “havoc”. Both Pomar’s and Dealmeida Esilva’s paintings require time for observation. They demand that time be spent and demand that each viewer becomes immersed among the fibres or layers of the canvas, withdrawing to a place without dimensions, entering in it and coming out from it, and with each submersion see new perspectives of the image and phenomena or signs being revealed. In this way, while a time of immersion is necessary with Pomar’s works, time to move away from the surface and approach it, so that among the drips of
paint one can see the silhouette of three natives grasping bow and arrow [Os Txicão, 1988], in the works of Dealmeida Esilva [Laocoön and His Sons with Grey Poupon, 2017 and The Rape of Europa, 2016] it is perhaps more effective to remain in the same place and move only the gaze, sifting the canvas in search of what gradually starts to stand out and catch the eye. In any case, given that both works require different modes of viewing, we can say that they are both painters in their essence, in other words, in their way of thinking and of working. Igor Jesus’s affinity with Pomar could be said to be based in violence, albeit a violence of a different nature. I know of few artists whose work is as violent, formally and conceptually, as that of Igor Jesus. His work is opaque and hermetic; it offers a “hard” relationship not because it shows everything but because its underlying violence is retained through its construction. It means that the violence to which the spectator is subjected is administered in contained doses, coming in fragments and flashes, interrupted in time. It is not by chance that the artist, in this series of works that he has been working for two years (2016-2017) and is now coming to an end, felt it necessary to make use of the extras who played slaves in the film Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975) by Pier Paolo Pasolini, namely Umberto Chessari and Franco Merli. The very participation of these two is the core on which the work is based, because the bodies of those “slaves” are real bodies that personify the physical violence and psychological resistance to which they were subjected. The violence in Pomar’s work is not of the same nature as that approached by Igor Jesus. Pomar’s violence is in the joy of bodies, in the carnal pleasures of those who experience it, in the odysseys they enjoy (within the narrative of the canvas). Igor Jesus’s violence is more of the Sadean kind, of pain thresholds and extreme loss, of the transformation of the body into an object of coercion of power. It is also violence in the way of contortion, extortion, the physical and spiritual bleeding of bodies. And finally, redemption. The redemption of someone who, despite the pain they have gone through, resists and resists and now finds difficulty in happiness and love. Because of this they will love life more than any other, grasp on to it beyond all limits. Isn’t this what the artist does when he subjects the bodies to flashes of light, using technical devices? Isn’t this what is meant by the pained, shattered, broken, constricted bodies with which he confronts us, using signs left in rucksacks or bags, lost, discarded or abandoned in the exhibition space [Franco Merli, 2017]? There are negatives of footprints, traces of bodies that were lost and which had to leave. Lives and memories, scars, packed in rucksacks and travel bags that
had to be abandoned in order to return to the same place. For this reason, because of the hardness in its source, the work of Igor Jesus couldn’t be more explicit. His work couldn’t reveal more than it reveals because its basis is that place to which we withdraw when we are alone: a place of deep loss and solitude. Speaking of this encryption of works or their themes, the relationships and references not in evidence, it is worth mentioning that Igor Jesus may have considered certain aspects related by Júlio Pomar in respect of his experience with the Yawalapiti tribe, not least the fact that, for this tribe, life and death hold the same value. Pomar recalls that, within the community, the native women would give birth hanging from the trees, like monkeys in the branches, and the babies, falling into the arms of their fathers, were examined in a kind of mortal selection process. If the child was not perfect, it was exterminated at birth, buried in a hole or drowned in the river. This aspect must undoubtedly have touched Igor Jesus, who replicated the vertical movement of falling bodies in the construction of his film of the “slave” of Salò – Franco Merli. As Merli chants an initiation mantra [Franco Merli, Exercise for Sodom, 2017], the artist aims the camera at his head, moving closer and withdrawing from the back of his neck, as if the body were falling or losing coordinates – just as the newborn falls from the belly of its mother “stuck” in the tree, as related by Pomar. Between Tiago Alexandre and Júlio Pomar there is certainly the distance of age, but they come close in their insatiable need to experiment. Pomar excelled in this since the start of his career, making use of diverse supports, combining visual resources and reinventing them. In Tiago Alexandre’s work, this “free experimentation” is shaped in visual terms and in the references evoked, in an unusual mixture of supports and materials, to the point where strange combinations appear. We see them, for example, in the portraits/ sphinxes in raw clay, which the artist calls masks, with golden rings of cheap metal driven into their eyes and face, on “modernist” plinths painted with coloured stripes [The Rising of the Moon, 2017]. This kitsch ideology exposes a kind of mockery – almost bordering on a tone of parody (a parody of erudite art itself?) – but doesn’t quite manage to be that because the artist approaches his activity with the utmost seriousness and because his output is a reflection of the contradictory age in which he lives. Hence, at the heart of such intensity, he has brought to the exhibition an enjoyment and a youthful sense that Pomar, likewise, never abandoned. Just like Pomar, this artist quickly brings to light, under various “masks of irony”, situations of a serious nature [The Iron Horse, 2017].
* Alexandre Melo mentions that the exhibition project was “born” the moment he arrived in Amazonia to take part in the Parintins Folklore Festival and had his first direct experience of living with the river. Instantly, he recalled Júlio Pomar’s painting O banho das crianças no Tuatuari [Children Bathing in the Tuatuari]; and his experience in that territory will forever be linked to those paintings – of which one is presented in this exhibition. I think I can say that the group of works by the four artists, as a group and never in isolation, evokes various dimensions that permeate the festival in which the curator takes part every year and in recollection of which he chose the word “Táwapayêra”. I understand that next year he will once again be involved with the Parintins Festival, and this time not just with Pomar’s “bathing children” in mind, but also taking with him the group of images and representations by these four creators. It is frequently said that art imitates life. Well, I believe that it is often the other way round, and the case is this: it is life that imitates art. For this reason too, art contains an aspect of magic, meaning that, at the point of departure and of arrival, it becomes a source of energy, of joy and a breath of air for “artists and living people in general.” * The Atelier-Museu and Júlio Pomar would like to thank the curator and the artists for the joy, seriousness and professionalism with which they have undertaken this exhibition, which launched a new cycle of the programme that combines the work of Júlio Pomar with artists from emerging generations.
TÁWAPAYÊRA IN LISBON
“The rhythm is Boi! / It’s from the North, it’s from the jungle,
swaying, shaking / hot / it’s got nothing but love for you /
it doesn’t ask for your passport or any other document, just come /
and let the sound of the party carry you away / The setting is incredible / come and feel the heat / Boi bumbá is our sound / anyone can learn the beat”
It was perhaps when I saw Júlio Pomar’s painting O banho das crianças no Tuatuari [Children Bathing in the Tuatuari] for the first time that I knew I would one day come to know the Amazon, that it would become, for me, a privileged place where imagination and joy could be endlessly renewed. These sentiments revolve around the Parintins Folkloric Festival, one of the most moving manifestations of popular culture I have ever participated in. The first time I arrived in Parintins was in June 2013 following a 20-hour long journey, most of it spent swaying in a hammock on the deck of a boat or leaning on the side of the vessel watching the movements of the dark, muddy waters of the Amazon River, the river banks, the trees and the windows and verandas of houses from where families along the shore would wave, along a river that stretched endlessly. I remembered what Pomar once told me about the idea behind Tuatuari: “... I decided to finally dare to do that which I had always put off: an evocation on a large canvas of the spectacle that appeared before me every day from the tent that was acting as my studio. Below was the Tuatuari, a clear-water stream where the Indian children, young kids and adolescents of both sexes, would come at noon for their own particular ritual of bathing, swimming, playing and fully expressing their natural joy of living. The most extraordinary thing I had ever seen! Dozens of beautiful naked bodies moving with a grace beyond the capability of any group of professional dancers.”
On my first night at the Festival, I felt as if I was a part of the colours, the light, the sounds, the dances and, little by little, the characters and stories of a show that I gradually realised was one of the most beautiful spectacles in the world. I was reminded again of the momentum and splendour of bodies and colours in Pomar’s series of “Amazonian” paintings. It was only years later that I pondered the question of who I was in that situation: tourist, supporter, tupinamba...? I decided I wouldn’t let such a question concern me. * “Táwapayêra” was the theme of the 2014 Festival presented by the BoiBumbá Caprichoso Cultural Association. Since then and over the course of each successive edition of the three-day festival, I kept thinking of how good it would be to one day create something under this name and inspiration. Perhaps it could be an exhibition. Lo and behold, a generous invitation from Atelier-Museu Júlio Pomar (AMJP) emerged, paving the way for the exhibition “Táwapayêra”. I am deeply grateful to Sara Antónia Matos for the invitation and to everyone involved for their collaboration, especially Pedro Faro and Hugo Dinis, whose support was crucial for me. And to the artists, to whom I owe most everything, no amount of thanks would seem adequate. A selection of Júlio Pomar’s Amazonian works – three paintings and a series of never-before-seen drawings – are presented alongside new works created or selected for this occasion by three contemporary young artists: Dealmeida Esilva, Igor Jesus and Tiago Alexandre. In these artists – as in so many points along Pomar’s trajectory – I recognise the vital energy, the creative freedom, the fearlessness and sense of transgression (ethical rather than formal), which make up the essence of what moves me in the world of art. As opposed to the mediocre conveniences of (good) taste, of the rules governing the (good) design of form and the correct (all too correct!) formatting of (pre)concept(ion)s. Featured alongside the figures and bursting colours of Júlio Pomar’s “Indians” are Dealmeida Esilva’s flair for pictorial licentiousness (perhaps gifted by Zeus himself, a mask for all of humankind?), the convulsions of Igor Jesus’s sequestered bodies (as seen in Pasolini’s Salò) in remembrance
of unforgettable massacres, and the post/punk/neo/pop/trash rituals of Tiago Alexandre’s adolescent tribes. * “Everyone jump! Get ready for the drumbeat of the crowd... Let the ritual dancing begin!” When I received the invitation to propose an exhibition as part of AMJP’s programme, bringing together Pomar’s works with those of other artists, the theme that had been etched on the horizon of various passages in my life immediately sprang to mind: “Táwapayêra”. The possibility of it being realised emerged with renewed significance when I found out about the notebooks of drawings Pomar had done in the Amazon, a selection of which are shown for the first time in an exhibition at AMJP, based on research conducted by Sara Antónia Matos and Pedro Faro. Dealmeida Esilva, Igor Jesus and Tiago Alexandre’s involvement emerged spontaneously, given the fact that it was with them that I most often discussed my experiences at the Parintins Festival. In providing them with literary, visual and audible materials, I ensured that they would have at their disposal all of the reference material they might (or might not) need to succeed. The rhythm is Boi... Speaking of Pomar’s works, to complement the Tuatuari painting I had specifically requested for the show, two other paintings were chosen whose colours, figures and movements reflect, in my view, the artistic and spiritual freedom of both the Parintins Festival and Júlio Pomar. The exuberant colours, the energetic evocation of human figures and the dynamism in the composition, which in Pomar’s mode of painting, speaks not of technical know-how but rather, wisdom, risk and defiance. Examining and re-examining them up close, what impressed me even more than what I had anticipated were the reds of the Os Txicão and Jakui II (1988), the colour of the blood and of the paintings of ceremonial rituals of war and celebration. How the colours run free... In considering how to set up the exhibition, I began by thinking that the large Tuatuari painting ought to preside over the group in a way that was inspirational rather than imposing, on the upper portion of the largest wall. From there it could dialogue directly with Dealmeida Esilva’s largest paintings, especially when viewed from the mezzanine.
Pomar’s painting Jakui II (1988), located on the lower section of the right wall, relates directly with the first groups of drawings, making explicit my criteria for selecting and organising the drawings, which are grouped by theme, sometimes associated with the themes of the paintings and at other times, on their own. For instance, the group of drawings of malocas and men dressed as birds are presented on their own on a wall in the mezzanine. I felt it was important to use the space by harnessing the full potential of the gallery’s architectural features rather than to try to work against them. Everything is valid. Immediately on the right as you enter the hall, a small group of drawings offers a foretaste of one of the exhibition’s themes: struggle. We re-encounter them in the mezzanine, framing the red tones of Os Txicão (1988) and suggesting a not too covert dialogue with the videos of Igor Jesus. Two small drawings to the left of the entrance offer a preview of what lies beyond. What is it? Only life.
BANZEIRO According to Dealmeida Esilva, the paintings presented in this exhibition (with the exception of one) are part of a series that takes as its primary reference Titian’s painting The Rape of Europa. In this series, in which he also evokes the “representation of Zeus in history” within a sequence of readings of Homer, the presence of a form, what appears to resemble a cup, emerges to the fore. One is reminded of Greek vases although, in the context of the artist’s work, where automobiles are a recurring presence, one might also recall Formula 1 trophies. The melding of historical allusions, recognised aesthetics and the practices of contemporary mass popular culture is one of the most productive features of this artist’s work. In the context of this particular exhibition, the “vases”, according to our whimsical gazes, could be transformed into “bull’s heads”, reproducing the shape of the Bumbódromo arena. Esilva also references Matisse’s aquarium paintings. Eclecticism and freedom. The painting in the mezzanine bears an accumulation of various markers of modernism, including the colours and composition of Picasso’s Guernica and a “hint” of Mondrian.
The larger and more recently executed painting, while not appearing to bear any obvious similarity to the former, allows for the suggestion of a contrapuntal dialogue with Pomar’s painting. A compositional strategy comprised of an accumulation of open gestures in which earlier markers are erased or reinforced, superimposed by new markers that, in turn, surrender to the effects of a new wave of painting, subjecting the whole to a series of tests for consistency and balance, risking successive plays of bold chromatic contrasts until the artist arrives at a decision on the final shape of its (im)balance: a painting, a strategy of drawing the marker away (as in football). The artist races to receive the ball ahead of him. It speaks to what I said earlier about the pictorial licentiousness in Dealmeida Esilva’s work and the pure pleasure of talking about libertinism in these dark times. The dynamic composition of the painting Laocoön and His Sons with Grey Poupon is an exuberant example of the diversity of sources characteristic of Dealmeida Esilva’s work; in it, we see the sculpture that inspired the title of the work, seasoned with the popular mustard sauce: “if I find that something, my work for instance, isn’t quite up to snuff, there’s nothing like a dab of mustard to cover it up...,” the artist says. In this case, the “condiments” (known as cheiros in the Amazon) include a “vanitas” by Picasso, Hellenic helmets, basketball idol Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. The artist also explicitly foregrounds “references to rap artists Old Dirty Bastard, MF Doom and MAdvillain: all of these are associations I make with ancient Greek and Roman culture. I don’t want to explain why.” He doesn’t wish to explain and I’m not sure what it’s about, but the question remains open for anyone who views the painting. Commenting generally, the artist says that all of his work since 2015 traces its origins back to Titian’s Bacchus and Ariadne, which he saw in 2014. The key to understanding Dealmeida Esilva’s work is to recognise how his paintings presuppose a way of looking at the world that, in being personal, includes the manner in which he regards the paintings of his forerunners and how they, in turn, viewed what they painted. Perhaps this is what is meant by the history of painting.
I remember something Pomar said about Tuatuari: from “That willful invention of painters: human nudity merging with water and the forest; it was Poussin, Cézanne and Matisse verified d’après nature... that was my daily bread.” MYRAKÃWÉ “Devour us devour us devour us / devour us / crucified / our heads tilted down / karoara eaten alive / in Myrakãwéra / in the Calvary of Parintins / sound the drums! / may the devouring begin” What is happening in Igor Jesus’s installation? If it’s not easy to describe, it’s because everything has already happened. The point of view is from the other side. As we have seen in his previous works, such as O Lado Escuro da Lua [Dark Side of the Moon] (2014) and De costas voltadas [Back turned] (2015). Which side is this? The side in which something in the past has taken place, or should or should not have taken place: the side in which something from the past has remained, and more importantly, what is missing from it. An irreparable and unforgivable absence. The impossibility of forgiveness is the most insidious form of guilt and a heavy price must be paid. Perhaps art may be the best or most noble way of paying for this irrevocable penalty. A little more violence. A little less bitterness? I should make it clear that the other side is not from the point of view of death (which is inconceivable). It is from the point of view of life in its most radical and libertarian form, as a cry for revitalisation and reincarnation. It is about physical acts aimed at bringing back the past and the ancestors to the present-day realm of the living. Resurrections. The resurrection of the bull, the resurrection of sacrificed children and the freeing of imprisoned spirits – acts that are endlessly re-enacted in a wide array of scenarios within the spectacles of the Parintins Festival – comprise some of the main duties of a pajé shaman. The video Franco Merli, Exercício para Sodoma [Franco Merli, Exercise for Sodom] (2017) is part of a series of works Igor Jesus has dedicated to actors who performed the roles of young victims in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom. The artist managed to track down some of those still living today, who agreed to collaborate on the project. This particular one is of Franco Merli.
In the video Franco Merli, Exercício para Sodoma [Franco Merli, Exercise for Sodom] (2017) it is as if Igor Jesus desperately wants to return to Franco’s body the statuesque beauty and vitality that Pasolini had recognised in the boy when he was cast to play the lead role of Nur Ed Din in the film Arabian Nights (Il fiore delle mille e una notte) and later, one of the victims in Salò, with the intention – probably absurd and indicative of other questions concerning Pasolini’s private life – of showing that this vitality had always been condemned and was ultimately impossible. In the text Abiura della Trilogia della vita, in which he renounced the “Trilogy of Life”: Il Decameron (1971), I Raconti de Canterbury (1972) and Il fiore delle mille e una notte (1974) and announced Salò, Pasolini declared that he could no longer recognise in contemporary bodies the values that had previously guided his choices and that this impossibility extended retrospectively to the bodies he had sought after and celebrated when the trilogy was first created. For a contemporary artist who lacks the wisdom of a pajé but might possess the same powers – namely, the power to control the imagination of a small community (or those who believe in him) – the task might seem inglorious and doomed to failure. But this is not so. While Igor Jesus may not succeed in consuming the illusion of resurrection with the same mastery displayed by the Parintins’ artists, he mercilessly and scrupulously achieves his fundamental ethical aim: he ensures that what it was and still is returns and continues to be. The present has already come and gone. Only the past exists, or so it seems. Even this pretentious sentence is already in the past. And yet despite this state of almost nothingness, one must ensure that everything continues in the present. In truth, there is only life. The level of violence required to pursue this endeavour is not easy to overlook. The works from Jesus’ series of suitcases, backpacks and jackets, presented here, can also be seen as ways of evoking and protecting the markings, by now almost battered, of experiences to which violated bodies have been subjected. They seem to resemble images we might recall or fear in one of our darker moments or something we might seemingly catch a glimpse of, coiled up in the corner of a room, on the corner of a street or in a hidden area of a train station. Perhaps the baggage speaks of a desire to eternally protect, clothe, embrace, sleep and rest.
SATERÉ – MAWÉ On the ground floor, the exhibition’s main space is taken up by the works of Tiago Alexandre. Whilst seemingly autonomous, they nonetheless create the effect of an installation, particularly through the use of a series of plinths – white parallelepipeds of various sizes and positions – that ensure a fluid reading of the group. Beyond reinforcing an internal articulation of the artist’s presence, the form of the presentation – its colours and lines – also outlines subtle ideas of articulation with the other artists’ works. Our attention is initially drawn to a group of five masks resting on top of the plinths. These masks were created after the series I’ll be watching you (2005) and other earlier works. Like many of Tiago Alexandre’s other works, they relate to events from his direct personal experience. To an outside observer, however, the echoes of a long history of busts, homages, death masks, theatrical masks, instruments of laughter and fear, harrowing experiences and superficial stagings are easily recognisable. More concretely, the shape of the hair evokes references to Egypt, while the grooves marking the surface of the faces have the whiff of sorcery. The use of masks is a crucial element in the ritual enactments of a pajé. The grooves on the faces of the masks are due to the presence of several rings that have been buried, encrusted, embedded and incorporated. Few actions are more decisive than that of inscribing gestures on the skin and on the face and body. Loved? Possession or dedication. Aggression or adornment. Adoration or blasphemy. Promise or victory. Luxury or kitsch. The generic symbolism associated with rings is endless. A celebration of sentimental vows (engagement, marriage, silver, golden and platinum anniversaries...), a luxury adornment, a mark of tribal belonging, a souvenir, a celebration, ostentation. These rings, in particular, are gold and diamond studded rings from NFL teams, commemorative Superbowl rings given to all team members, technical staff, cheerleaders and managers who win a championship. As winning teams were initially awarded only a single trophy, personalised rings began to be distributed to each member of a winning team in 1922, allowing individuals to own a keepsake of their victory.
In this sense, they have an association to American football – one of the largest forms of mass popular culture on the face of the earth – and all of the paraphernalia specific to American popular culture. By association, the masks also remind us of the helmets worn in the game or, more generally, things worn on the head: a direct relation to elements in Tiago Alexandre’s earlier works, such as baseball caps, the shiny cap in Rich Kids from Sacavém or motorcycles with their inevitable helmets. (See the exhibition at Galeria Balcony, January 2018). The distance between football and sorcery isn’t so great – just think of the constant accusations of witchcraft thrown between clubs – and Giza isn’t so far away from New Jersey, Home of the NY Giants. If I had to think of a name right now to conclude this essay, one that would encapsulate the best of modern popular culture for all time, I’d probably fail. However, Tiago Alexandre went looking and came up with one. John Ford. The titles of Alexandre’s works are taken from John Ford’s films The Rising of the Moon (1957) and The Iron Horse (1924). While there is almost nothing of insignificance one can say about John Ford’s films, I would merely cite the supreme value of camaraderie: challenges and conquests, struggles and celebrations, alcohol and pure sentiments. A small sculpture on a wall at the top of the stairs displays an overturned cup with a ring inside it. A celebration, a consummation or a farewell, of singles or married couples. A party, a hangover. “Drink, fall down, get back up.” I am reminded of the initiation ritual for adolescent boys from the SateréMawé tribe, still regularly practised today on the island of Parintins – the “tucandeira glove”1. Tiago Alexandre’s video The Iron Horse (2017) evokes the adolescent rituals of risk-taking, explorations of pain, excessive emotions and physical provocations – eternal components of initiation processes, adding new bodies to juvenile cultures. Note the macaw on the coloured label on the bottle of cachaça2. The train is an iron horse that passes by, that passes by again, that never ceases to pass by. Like the endless movement of the mighty Amazon river, which is life, in which everything is life. Only life. 1 The initiate must place a hand inside a glove filled with stinging ants. 2 Distilled sugar cane.
LESSONS FROM PARINTINS TOURIST, SUPPORTER, TUPINAMBA
This text is dedicated to Hudson Carlos I The format of the Folklore Festival of Parintins has changed significantly over the years since 1965. The wonderful Parintins is an island located in the great state of Amazonas, Brazil, about halfway between Manaus and Belém (capital of the state of Pará). Parintins has close to 120,000 inhabitants and in 2017 received about 70,000 visitors during the Festival. Currently, the Festival is held every year on the last weekend of June. In an arena designed in the shape of a bull’s head called the Bumbódromo, over 3 consecutive nights, the rival representative associations of the Boi Caprichoso [Whimsical Bull] and the Boi Garantido [Certified Bull] each present 3 brand new shows of 2.5 hours duration each. The spectacle brings together music (in addition to being the Portuguese word for bull, “Boi” is also a musical form), dance, songs, recitations and sophisticated staging featuring dozens of “allegories” – inventive stage constructions brought to life by a multitude of “special effects”. The show does not feature any living bulls or other animals. At the end of the three nights a panel of judges awards victory to one of the Bulls. The origin of the celebration is described variously as a festival of religious and/or pagan origins coming from the Northeast, with possible Portuguese and/or African roots; a magical fable about the death and resurrection of a bull and the salvation of a community; the creation of two small handmade toy bulls at the beginning of the 20th century by two children who became noted local figures. The descriptions put forward are endless and contradictory. These days, the strongest element is paying tribute to the historical and cultural specificities of the Amazon, the “mystical village”.
That which remains is what is important: the joy of “playing the Bull” and the rivalry between different Bulls and their supporters. The Bois-Bumbá show brings together a unique mixture of three of the most exciting cultural experiences I know: opera, football and Carnival. When I think about opera I recall some experiences with baroque plays and especially with Wagner’s Ring cycle, particularly when all four operas are seen in order within a short time frame. From each of these I recall the power of rhythm, the raptures of the human voice and the strong visual attraction of the scenography – and all this without even speculating on the convergences in the way they combine real and supernatural figures, human psychologies and transcendental destinies, gods, heroes, sorcerers, giants, martyrs and mere humans. I know almost nothing about opera, but I can say I enjoyed watching and listening to Bryn Terfel (my Wotan). In the case of the Bulls, I have no hesitation in recommending the voice of David Assayag, the current singer of Boi Caprichoso, who leads the toadas and without a doubt has one of the most beautiful voices in the world today. In a word, passion. Music also has the advantage of being, by definition, incomprehensible, meaning it can be (mis)understood by everyone. The topic of rivalry leads us to football. The rivalry between the two Bulls is such that the small island of Parintins is, for almost all practical purposes, divided into two parts: on one side the colour blue and on the other the colour red. It is the only place in the world where Coca-Cola is also sold in blue cans. Authorisation was required from the Coca-Cola’s central management to use this colour for advertising during the Festival. Facebook has also recently created a new emoji to satisfy a crowd that was loathe to use the colour of their rivals to express their likes. The Bumbódromo is divided in half, with the Caprichoso “gang” on one side and the Garantido “gang” on the other. People aren’t even allowed to be in the rival’s section dressed in the wrong colour. During the presentation of their respective Bull, each crowd of supporters (who are also given a score as part of the overall presentation) performs an accompaniment to the show (in a way that is even more intense than a football crowd, even that of Liverpool at its best), while the other half of the stadium sits in silence and darkness. There are stories of mayors who had the colours changed at traffic lights and pedestrian crossings to match the colours of their Bull. The playful nature of the show in no way diminishes the depth of the rivalry, which has elaborate political and financial implications.
To illustrate the dramatic (“operatic”) dimension of football in general, it is sufficient to recall the saga of Brazil in the 2014 World Cup, from the Colombian “hit” on Neymar (possibly commissioned by the Argentinians) to the “tragic” (1-7) defeat at the hands of the Germans. In a word, passion. The pleasure of the game (combat) and the desire for victory are sentiments notable for being as ignoble as they are widely distributed across the entire human race. Here, the evocation of Carnival seems obvious, but it is important to clarify that, for me, the closest reference is actually not the relatively conventional spectacle of the Rio Carnival, despite the formal similarities. It is important to mention that the best schools in both Rio and São Paulo hire many of their best scenographic collaborators in Parintins, who in turn make the Parintins Festival the ideal moment to present their most dazzling and innovative creations. Once the Festival is over, the artists head south to work at Carnival, returning in February to begin producing the new “allegories” for the next Festival. Instead I invoke the street Carnivals, for instance the Carnival of Salvador, which feature intense and widespread participation and fluidity between performers, participants and spectators. While there are differences between riding on a Carnival float, watching from a box, standing inside the space for those who paid to be close to the floats and “going popcorn” as we say here, meaning standing outside that space, there is no way to exclude anyone. You can’t stop people from being on the street. So the streets become literally packed. In a word, passion. With the advantage that the whole population is, by definition, invited and called on to participate. In Parintins, the distinction between the forms of participation is even more sophisticated and egalitarian in some ways. Most places in the Bumbódromo are reserved for free entry for supporters. On the other hand, since admission is on a first-come first-served basis, fans end up waiting in line from dawn. This turns the queue itself into a permanent spectacle where the entertainment is only matched by the consumption of beer and demonstrations of sheer physical endurance.
“There is no queue, there is no sun / wind, rain or storm / whatever comes / is what the people chose.” The remaining seats are reserved for paid tickets and boxes for guests and institutions. People say the VIP guests never really get a feel for the Festival. They stay in the only large hotel on the island and get driven back and forth between the arena and the hotel without ever getting to experience the island. The most important expression of community participation is the involvement of the whole island in the Festival. A large part of the population participates, directly or indirectly, in the preparation of the Festival throughout the year. This also extends to thousands of people in the city of Manaus who prepare throughout the year to participate in the Festival. There is a permanent party atmosphere during the Festival and after leaving the Bumbódromo at around 2 in the morning, people remain in the streets until dawn and then return to the street as soon as they get up later in the day. “Tomorrow, do not call me, do not wait up / in the morning, waking up with the crowd / walking down the street with my love / on the other side the Caprichoso and a marujeiro with a drum / I drink one, I drink two. / I am whatever I wish, I dance cunhã, I dance pajé / I’m an artist, I’m a song leader / I’m even a president – everything and that bull.”
II On both sides of art When I began my research in the field of sociology of culture, in the context of researching my PhD thesis at ISCTE-IUL, the text that motivated me most was “Questionamento à volta de três noções: a grande cultura, a cultura popular e a cultura de massas” [Questioning three notions of culture: high, popular and mass], by my supervisor Maria de Lourdes Lima dos Santos. I have sometimes felt that since then I have not stopped revisiting and updating this text. My next books will develop this theme. Here, in a simplified way (and simplistic, which has the advantage of making it more vulnerable, as it should be), I will try to formulate some hypotheses.
In the social fabric considered as a whole or in public opinion more generally, modernity (a debatable term which I employ in its most widely used sense and in reference to its artistic, cultural, social and political manifestations) has opened or widened the distance between long established values (i.e., those values which are most socially recognised and at times considered more traditional, though they may not actually be so) and the works and values that do not share nor validate their characteristics and modes of social insertion and can therefore be thought of as modern. This distance was generally considered something positive (and as such, the more distance the better) as it was thought to be something progressive; by definition, that which is new (the avant-garde etc.) was assumed to inevitably lead to that which was good, better or, indeed, best for all concerned. Moreover, this conviction was independent and ultimately indifferent to any attempt to properly establish the opinion of the “all concerned”. Such a belief is easily defensible within the framework of artistic practices, in the strict sense, where for a long time (although not always) we have become accustomed to celebrating novelty, invention, creativity and the general act of going beyond boundaries. It would seem that this is what art is for. An empire of the imagination without limitations. The modern or avant-garde distance becomes more problematic if we consider the broader terrain of cultural practices and their social contexts (not to mention the political avant-garde). This distance becomes the difference between the most widespread and conspicuous practices, values and tastes (those of sociological majorities, measured by public opinion or unspecialised generalist audiences) and the increasingly extraordinary creations of modern artists. It is difficult not to define a large part of these artistic practices as forms of elitist culture. Whatever designation one chooses, it is clear that these practices in no way reflect the sociological majority. Assuming fundamental social relevance and cultural value of contemporary artistic practices and their ever new examples of unlimited imaginative freedom – which is their most important characteristic above all – from a sociological point of view and using simplistic and straightforward language, I think it is important to ask why (almost) no one has (almost) any interest in any of this.
I am here referring to a substantial part of the works presented at the most prestigious international contemporary art exhibitions and film festivals, which quite literally interest almost no one. In many cases, not even myself. Perhaps, and here I put forward a rather speculative hypothesis, this is because none of them offer any possibility of real experience of a widely shared emotion, any anchoring in sentimental values directly relevant to biographical experience or the integrated memory of those who preceded us, an exulted sense of play and fun, liberation from the formal and ideological dictates of good taste and received ideas or any claim to joy as a supreme value. Considered in the grey tones of its most middling manifestations, contemporary art can rarely aspire to such possibilities, which are offered with the greatest breadth and generosity by cultural practices such as religious devotion, football, Carnival or, to be even more concrete, the Parintins Festival. That is why I chose the Parintins Festival as a privileged subject for reflection on the various problematic nodes woven around the notions of culture today. At the same time, the Festival represents culture that is both traditional and mass; popular and elite; identitary and global; conservative and innovative; ecological and commercial; intellectual and emotional. Traditional because all its basic structures – in formal and narrative terms – refer to centuries’ old traditional multicultural historical elements. It possesses clear links to the ancestral indigenous imagination and cultural and religious influences from different regions of Brazil (especially the Northeast) and from the world (especially Europe and Africa). It is a popular mass phenomenon because this diversity and richness of difference is mobilised in the form of a spectacle (long live the society of spectacle!), channelling all available technical and artistic resources to seduce, enchant and infatuate the joyful multitudes who participate in it. This stands in stark contrast to the tedious ethnographic yawns and the ever so well-intentioned yet paternalistic interventions of ideological propaganda that have become a constant in so many of the worst examples of “sociologising” investigation in the realm of contemporary art. The tension between traditional and global expressions of mass culture is a perennial one. Such as in the complex negotiations around television broadcasting rights which arise year in and year out. For years, the Globo
media group has proposed to make the Festival a “global” television event (in the Brazilian sense of the word, meaning “controlled by TV Globo”). The negotiations have never arrived at an agreement because the station seeks to modify the event’s scheduling and duration in order to reconcile live broadcasting with its overall scheduling programme. The Festival is an example of popular culture because it is made “by the people and for the people” (the sociological majorities), from their stories, their memories, their manner of acting and relating events (such as singing and dancing) and with a view to satisfying their dreams and desires for pleasure and joy. Nonetheless, it does run the risk of becoming elite culture, as its admirable technical and aesthetic qualities begin to achieve widespread recognition and even the most deplorable Brazilian social elites begin to consider the possibility of perhaps one day travelling to that far-flung corner of the world (so far from Paris) to observe the phenomenon. The Festival is identitary in that it constantly affirms its ethnic, religious, historical and geographical roots. It is also global in that, with similar consistency (and in a completely “tourist friendly” manner), it affirms its humanistic and universal values. Parintins defines itself to the world as a place which is unique and open to the whole world. An enchanted island. “The rhythm is Boi! / It’s from the North, it’s from the jungle, swaying, shaking / hot / it’s got nothing but love for you / it doesn’t ask for your passport or any other document, just come / and let the sound of the party carry you away.” It is a conservative spectacle as it preserves narratives, stories, scenographies, choreographies, rhythms and sonorities that, as the acquired heritage of the Festival’s history, are a repository of cultural models deeply rooted in the broader historical heritage. It is innovative in that it has never assumed the ethnological or museological model and understands heritage as a constant task of semantic transformation and spectacular innovation. Every year, the Bulls compete for the most sophisticated twist and the most spectacular technological innovations to recreate and reinvent the Festival’s “essential” figures. It is an environmentally conscious event as, at least recently, an ecological approach and a push for the preservation of the Amazon have been constant references in the content and communication strategies of the Festival. It is commercial as it is of decisive importance in the general economy of the
island, mainly through its potential as a multiplier of tourism. In 2017, the contribution of the Festival to the economy of the state of Amazonas was worth around 120 million reais. It also represents a gigantic economic enterprise relative to the size of the island, with complex financial arrangements that manage private, public and political interests (as we know, there is a huge discrepancy between political interests and the public interest). Finally, and by way of brief conclusion, the Festival is intellectual, in that it makes me want to think, as well as emotional, in that it makes me feel great.
III Arena of passions There is insufficient space here for an analysis or even a sufficiently detailed description of the Festival to support the hypothesis formulated above as regards to the specificity and richness of the cultural and experiential possibilities the Festival offers within the context of a broader reflection on the effectiveness and potential of contemporary forms of popular and traditional mass culture. As such, we will cover only two topics here: the arena and the Festival narratives. As soon as I started to hear about the Parintins Festival, I was told I would have to choose my Bull. The question did not surprise me because of my long experience with the passion of club football. Curiously, the affective circumstances involved in my decision implied a change of â€œcoloursâ€? that I had never imagined possible and which now, at a distance, does not seem so painful to me because I inscribed a singularity on the very nature of my involvement (that of an inaugural moment and decision) that has driven me away from the temptation to prefer the pursuit of acquired affinities to the search for difference in relation to my football experience. One relevant aspect concerns absolute binary difference. There are only two teams. The confrontation is binary by definition. Pluralism is not part of the game, although parallel expressions of specific Bulls with their own vocations (e.g. Queer Bull, Gay Bull) are acceptable, but not as part of the Islandâ€™s main game.
Neutrality or indifference is almost impossible. You must choose a Bull. There are only a few ways to escape this necessity. One is to be totally alienated from the Festival, which does not seem to be very common. Another more interesting one is that of some small religious groups that during the Festival pursue fiercely militant campaign to denounce the Bulls as the work of the devil. I believe they push this propaganda at extremely high volume deliberately to punish the hungover sinners. Of course, there may be those who just want to enjoy the spectacle as a spectacle (as some people say in relation to football), without supporting any team, but I do not know how they avoid the feeling of missing out on what is the most important experience of the Festival. And it has always seemed to me that there are many other artistic manifestations more suited to this kind of “dispassionate” approach. The challenge in finding people with this level of detachment is clearly demonstrated by the growing difficulty in finding ways to select the judges every year (who must be approved by both Bulls) that minimise the chances of them having ever expressed sympathy for either one of the Bulls or having been affected by the arguments of the powerful lobbies that find the most imaginative ways to harass them in order to secure a favourable vote. Curiously, this sometimes means judges are chosen without any knowledge of the Bulls and without any ability to really distinguish between them with only three nights’ exposure, meaning they end up voting on who knows what grounds. It reminds one of those political decisions in which, in order to maintain the balance between factions, the most incompetent candidate is chosen as a compromise. Last year, the solution was to seek people with academic or specialised training in the artistic aspects of the Festival and who, having previously been members of the judging panel, have not been accused of corruption. It is difficult to calculate how many people in Brazil can meet these conditions. Another fundamental aspect of the rivalry between Bulls (namely in relation to football) is the absence of direct confrontation. They do not exhibit against each other at the same time, but rather one after the other, with each set of supporters getting the exclusive use of light and sound during their presentation. It’s like a football game where you play one team at a time. This is actually closer to my personal experience of football in which the
realities of the stadium experience mean I convince myself I can only see the players on my own team. With the final result, all supporters share a healthy attitude that minimises any possibility of sadness or unpleasant confrontations. The winner celebrates their victory. The defeated know that they have been robbed by the judges, did not deserve to lose and therefore have no reason not to be happy. We will all be back next year to see what happens then. The richness, diversity and complexity of the narrative lines running through each Bull spectacle make it impossible to give much more than a few examples here. An original narrative emerges, becoming a regular, almost obligatory presence, and taking the form of a representation of the Story of the Bull. Then come the historical narratives associated with the original creation of the two Bulls in the form of toys made by children in certain circumstances then inscribed in the history of their particular Bull. The descendants of the creators retain a special presence in the arena. Catholic religious devotion is also given a special place, with prominence given to Our Lady of Carmo, dedicated to the cathedral of Parintins. The cathedral is the place where the geography and dynamics of local life are ordered and given structure, including (and even blessing) the town’s more nocturnal customs and activities. As if all this were not enough, the greatest narrative weight is undoubtedly reserved for stories relating to the Amazon, the life and work of its peoples and their myths and beliefs. Without entering into ethnological speculations, suffice it to note that the wealth of stories and figures associated with the waters of the river, the forest, the region’s flora and fauna and the multiple supernatural legends, myths, characters and extraordinary heroes become infinite with their renewal and (re)invention every year. In the imaginative process associated with the “Táwapayêra” exhibition, I took into account only three elements (singers, pajé and supporters) out of a total of twenty-one items and variables included and evaluated in the whole of the show. To do justice to the complexity of the Festival, I leave here a list of the rest of those elements (from 2004): batucada/marujada drumming; the
master of the bull; toada lyrics and music; standard bearers; farm girls; the queen of folklore; cunhĂŁ-poranga dancing; choreography; cattlemen dancing; indigenous rituals; indigenous tribes; tuxaua chieftains; typical regional figures; allegories; Amazonian legends; presenters; the boi-bumbĂĄ tradition and its evolution; the organisation of the folkloric ensemble. I close by evoking the voice of David Assayag: the true Uiarupuru, the Emperor, the Voice of the Amazon. The voice of the People.
PARINTINS 2018 INTERVIEW WITH ERICKY NAKANOME, President of the Art Council of Boi Caprichoso
Alexandre Melo and Cleyton Andrade*
What was the reason for choosing the theme “Folk Wisdom – An Ancestral Revolution” for the Boi Caprichoso in 2018? The theme in 2017 for Boi Caprichoso was “The Poetics of the Caboclo Imaginary”, which spoke of Parintinese art, the weft of Amazonian man and the myths and enchantments that make up this imaginary. Following the experiences we had in 2017, in 2018 we decided to come up with a theme that could touch on a broader field. When we talk about the Anglo-Saxon word “folklore”, it has the meaning of folk wisdom, or the knowledge that comes from the people. So telling the story of Amazonian and Parintinese folklore is one of our objectives for 2018. It is a theme in which the artistic desires of a group looking to shake things up and revolutionise the Parintins Festival can fit together under one methodological proposal. We were looking for a theme that could address the entirety of the tradition and innovation that Boi-Bumbá Caprichoso wants to bring to the arena in 2018. What do the expressions “folk wisdom” and “ancestral revolution” mean to you? Well, folk wisdom is folklore and ancestral revolution is exactly what our history is about. From the point of view of someone living today, but looking backward instead of forward. Sometimes people misunderstand our proposal: revolution is something new, and ancestral is something very old. So it’s starting from something new... it’s Boi Caprichoso looking from the present to the past, at how our ancestors, with their folk knowledge, revolutionised their traditions until they became what today forms the substrate of the Parintins Folklore Festival.
As you said, people often understand revolution as something new and ancestral as something old. How can the Boi combine the keeping of tradition and the need for innovation? Well, tradition is at the core of the Boi itself, of what we play, it’s in the rhythm. It’s in all those things in the celebrations that are impossible to change. However, Parintins has something completely new, something that is unique to Parintins. If you go to Maranhão the event hasn’t changed. In Pernambuco, Maracatu hasn’t changed much either. The Boi Caprichoso, the Parintins Festival has this dynamic of change based on innovation, whereby innovation itself is responsible for maintaining tradition. Just like it is today with indigenous people: to maintain their traditions in the face of capitalism indigenous people in the contemporary age use new technologies to safeguard their rites, their myths and their cosmology. That’s what the Boi does. The Boi appropriates new media and technologies to be able to maintain its traditions. By getting more people involved in the Festival, by making sure the elders are present, the Festival keeps the entire community that makes up the BoiBumbá Festival together. How important is the presence of tourists and foreign visitors at the Parintins Festival? The importance is economic. I wouldn’t say that Parintins makes a living from tourism, because the people of Parintins haven’t yet been able to systematise the inflow of resources to the city, but I think tourism in Parintins today acts like a political banner, with the Bumbás forcing political leaders to take notice of this inland Amazonian community. Though the standards are not yet excellent – something it gives me no joy to say – we have a city in the interior of the state of Amazonas with a regional hospital and universities, and all because the Boi has managed to attract the attention of the Brazilian community towards the north. This is really important to us and it’s thanks to tourism and thanks to the validation from people from outside that even the people from the state of Amazonas themselves are becoming more interested in the Festival. How can the Festival be both an event showcasing local Parintinese culture and an international artistic event? The Parintins Folklore Festival has gained national visibility because of the city’s particularly unique characteristics. It is not the painting, because we know there are better painters in Brazil. It is not sculpture, because we also know there are better sculptors in Brazil. But the artists created gadgets and
things which made our sculptures move. They may not be the most beautiful, but they all walk, blink and smile in the Bumbódromo arena. This made the Festival gain a reputation which allowed artists, including painters and sculptors, to take their work to other places, such as the carnivals in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo and other folk festivals in Brazil. This relationship is really important for us because it creates a whole system of work for Parintinese artists outside the Parintins Festival.
* Cleyton Andrade is responsible for the Social Networks Platform of Boi Caprichoso, Manaus
STATEMENT by Netto Simões, pajé of Boi Caprichoso 2017 In the context of Parintins, the pajé arose through the bumba meu boi theatrical tradition, from the auto do boi, where the dead bull is brought back to life by the pajé. The pajé is depicted as a healer, usually an older man who has contact with the spiritual world. The pajé brings wisdom from the spiritual world to the physical world, he brings the tribes knowledge of herbs and smoking ceremonies. Usually we go to a nearby village to come into contact with these practices, to better get into the festival’s spirit. In the Parintins Festival the pajé is somewhat allegorical and we include some Afro-Brazilian elements, like the historical context of the arrival of Africans to Brazil, because they also listened to indigenous gods. We try to include this dimension because it really enhances the Festival. When we leave the Bumbódromo and hear people screaming our name and clapping, it is very rewarding. You feel like your soul has been cleansed and strong so that the next day you can go to the arena and do even better.
TWO “SCENES OF BATHERS” In POST SCRIPTUM Júlio Pomar
There they are, those “Scenes of Bathers, a dual homage to the master Cézanne and to these beautiful children, etc.”, they are there, both of them, one hiding the other, leaning against the back wall of the studio in Paris where I painted them, supported by this same partition that I so often thought of having torn down. Due to their size, I could only work on them, and can only look at them now, one at a time. Since each of them is a whole, a complete piece, this constraint doesn’t seem so serious to me; one followed the other, just as so many paintings followed others, in the belief that the thing wasn’t exhausted yet and that what was developing could go further – or in another direction. If I’d been able to have them side by side, I would have wanted – I’m almost sure – to work on them again, to establish new relationships, to lead them or allow myself to be led, from alteration to alteration, towards an impossible completion. From this point of view, I know myself well, every now and then one has to be reasonable – to put a brake on your desires; to betray them, in other words. The fact that this year – 1997 – I was working with enormous formats, more suited to the subject of scenes of bathers than those I had previously used, led me to give in to the temptation of continuing this old project I had come up with during that period, perhaps without great conviction, or at least without feeling it was urgent. I started out by returning from Biarritz where I had gone to see the space where some of my paintings would be exhibited. I began without relying on any document or sketch made on the spot. I was in a hurry. The painting followed its course. I was working on it from morning to night when I discovered, in the bag that I took everywhere with me in Xingu and in which I kept all my sketchbooks, the last book, in which I had made some quick
notes on my Bathers, some attempts at setting them out. I had completely forgotten these sketches even existed! Our Freud who art in heaven! This discovery forced me to start a second Bathers scene and the two paintings began to carry me step by step, each one in its fashion. Will they now close the cycle that I thought had ended nearly ten years earlier?
Paris / Harbour Island, July 1997
“Deux ‘Baignades’ en post scriptum” in Alain Gheerbrant, Júlio Pomar – Peinture et Amazonie, Éditions de La Différence, Paris, pp. 113-115. (Translated into English from the Portuguese translation by Sousa Dias)
Surrounded by colossi whose daubed bodies would delight any fauvist! The support of painting here is nakedness. Sometimes it inscribes the magic of signs, at others it abandons itself to lazy brushstrokes. Raw contrasts of colour, and of matter, to the rhythm of bodies that eventually break up into a puzzle whose logic cannot be discerned by our eyes, half-blinded by an unforgiving sun. Garish reds (sometimes in oily impastos that will never dry), chalk whites, the dull glare of sooty blacks. The epidermis, tanned leather, is ornamented, or rather cut and recut by the satin of feathers: acid greens, the yellow of the sun, soft blacks, blues, whites, reds, enough to leave the finest of artists’ pigments speechless. I came for a few days; I clung on to the place for two months. … Work in progress: returning to Europe, in the studio, the role of the traditional still life (the encounter between an apple and a knife on a checked cloth) is now taken by the memory of images that invaded an unforeseen stay on the other side of the ocean, on the other side of history. During an encounter in Lisbon in June last year, my friend Roberto Fonseca, a young Brazilian businessman, challenged me to take advantage of a camp set up in an open clearing in the heart of the Xingu jungle in the Amazon basin, the logistics base for shooting Ruy Guerra’s film QUARUP, which he had enthusiastically agreed to produce. Spying on primitive tribes wasn’t on my short list of projects. Caught by surprise, the invitation tempted me. I had only time to read QUARUP, the wonderful novel by António Callado, on which Ruy Guerra had based his film script, plus two or three books that didn’t lessen my conviction that I was going to the jungle completely unprepared. At the camp, or, as Roberto referred to it, the 1000 Star Hotel – stars whose glow, tragically, waned day by day, due to the criminal massacre of the jungle – they put me up in the most beautiful studio I will ever have. In one of the few spots of shade, under a canvas, a wobbly table, two folding chairs. It didn’t take me long to realise that it was best to hide away the visitor’s chair. The
Indians, as curious about the habits of the white man as we were about theirs, constantly came to sit on it, this bizarre object alien to their civilization. And during the endless hours that talk flowed, I had no chance to do anything at all. I also learnt to avoid the delightful disorder of the work plan. The Indians want everything, touch everything and take with them whatever they want. Tools, sketchpads, photos, the little material that I had brought with me I had to keep stashed away in the bags that went with me everywhere and from which I only took what was strictly necessary each time. Two paces in front of me flowed the Tuatuari, a crystal clear stream where the young children came to bathe at midday. This bathing session was one big party for them. They cavorted in endless different ways, enjoying moving their bodies in a manner I’ve never even seen in dancers or acrobats. The opposite of the heavy rigour with which Cézanne arranged his groups of bathers. I promised that one day, when I felt capable, I would do a painting of the little bathers of Tuatuari – a dual homage to the Master and to these dreamlike children, as I saw them. My painting makes itself – it makes itself much more than I make it – at the coming together of what I saw in that world, with what I see appear on the canvas when I paint. What I saw: I don’t doubt that memory, that badly regulated machine, treats (or mistreats) it as it pleases. What I see when I paint: tensions, outbreaks, the energy that frees itself and which I need to take into account, just as in the ritual of the bullfight, the bullfighter has to take the bull into account in the composition of figures in which the risk is mortal. Dialogue, combat between the fragments that select themselves from what I saw, or thought I saw, or experienced, or thought I experienced, and that other reality, my canvas outlined in space and receiving, or imposing, the forces and weights that my hand inscribes upon it. To wound it, or to make it resplendent, I open the cloudy lips of memory to extract from it data, proof, testimonies, arguments, which will be transformed by the powers or non-powers of perception, at the very moment in which it is produced – the longed for visual acuity, key to the circus-like splendour that gnaws away at the heart of certain painters: “to find the greatest possible number of relationships”, as Cézanne said.
“Kuarup”, in Cahiers de la Différence, No. 4, October-December, Éditions de La Différence, Paris, pp. 37-39. (Translated into English from the translation published in the catalogue of the exhibition Pomar/Brasil, Ministério da Cultura do Brasil / CAM – Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 1990)
POMAR BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER THE AMAZON Ballpoint, marker, pencil and ink
“... I wanted real adventures to happen to myself. But real adventures, I reflected, do not happen to people who remain at home: they must be sought abroad.” (James Joyce)
“All unhappiness depends upon some kind of disintegration or lack of integration; there is disintegration within the self through lack of
coordination between the conscious and the unconscious mind; there is lack of integration between the self and society where the two are not knit together by the force of objective interests and affections. The happy man is the man who does not suffer from either of these failures of unity, whose personality is neither divided against itself nor pitted against the
world. Such a man feels himself a citizen of the universe, enjoying freely the spectacle that it offers and the joys that it affords, untroubled by the thought of death because he feels himself not really separate from those who will come
after him. It is in such profound instinctive union with the stream of life that the greatest joy is to be found.” (Bertrand Russell)
“It is a lifelong struggle, defending, trying to get people
to learn to see these rivers, these jungles, these mountains that are being swallowed up by mineral exploitation and wildcat mines, through the eyes of the indigenous people.” (Ailton Krenak)
It was 30 years ago, on 4 September 1987, that the spokesman of the emerging indigenous movement, Ailton Krenak, made a historic speech that reversed the anti-indigenous political climate within the legislature of the Brazilian National Congress. Krenak’s powerful gesture of mourning – dressed in a white suit and tie, he painted his face with black ink from the genipap, using a indigenous Brazilian tradition to protest against what he saw as a setback in the fight for the rights of Brazilian Indians – was decisive to the passing of Articles 231 and 232 of the 1988 Federal Constitution by MPs1. In 1988, he was involved in the establishment of the União dos Povos Indígenas, an organization representing the indigenous peoples interests. During this same period, between 1987 and 1988, Júlio Pomar travelled to and worked in Brazil and the Amazon. Commenting on the works produced as a result of these visits, Paulo Herkenhoff remarked to Pomar that “this series shows your sympathy for the cause of indigenous peoples without, however, being polemical. Beyond this explicit and immediate political engagement, is it about your taking an ethical stance”.2 It is the desire to forge new affinities that may lead us to consider the importance of Brazil in Júlio Pomar’s career, perhaps because, in the words of Lévi-Strauss, a great influence on Júlio Pomar, who also painted a portrait of him: “A journey occurs simultaneously in space, in time and in the social hierarchy. Each impression can be defined only by being jointly related to these three axes, and since space is itself three-dimensional, five axes are necessary if we are to have an adequate representation of any journey. I felt this immediately on landing in Brazil.”3 Was it this need to broaden notions of the journey (felt by Lévi-Strauss) that motivated Júlio Pomar to expand his horizon of action and painting when he travelled to Brazil? An enquiry into the tropical? Or the need, due to many years of cultural consolidation, to record other discursive structures and power relations; to observe other visual landscapes; to open up to contamination by alternative historiographical narratives; to perceive and register new ways of seeing, being and feeling; to acquire new words, contemporary expressions and arguments; 1 See video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWMHiwdbM_Q.
2 Herkenhoff, Paulo, “Júlio Pomar et Paulo Herkenhoff. Entretien”, in Gheerbrant, Alain, Júlio Pomar. Peinture et Amazonie, Éditions de La Différence, Paris, 1997, p. 59.
3 Lévi-Strauss, Claude, Tristes Tropiques, trans. John Weightman and Doreen Weightman (New York: Penguin Books, 1955, 1992) p. 85.
to update horizons of expectations; to verify, ratify, justify, register and disrupt the stability of acquired intellectual heritage... these are all possible answers. “Maybe I should come to the conclusion that if I think, therefore I am also another. Because only another thinks, thought is only interesting in its potential for alterity. That would be a good definition for anthropology. And also a good definition for anthropophagy (...) ‘I’m only interested in what is not mine. Law of man. Law of anthropophagist.’ Law of the anthropologist”. (Eduardo Viveiros de Castro quoting Oswaldo de Andrade’s Manifesto Antropófago).4 In the present context, the work that Pomar developed on the basis of different experiences in Brazil suggests that “the politics of lives that matter means imagining a politics with ‘those without whom the earth would never be the earth’.”5 At the invitation of Roberto Fonseca, the producer of Ruy Guerra’s film (based on António Callado’s book – one of the great Brazilian novels of the twentieth century, set in part in the jungle in the midst of the Indian tribes of the Amazon), Júlio Pomar travelled to the Amazon in 1988, where he stayed for a month in the Yawalapiti village, in the Indian territory of Alto Xingu. The experience of being in an extraordinary place, in the midst of Indian tribes, led, initially, to a series of drawings or studies made in situ, and then to a series of paintings made in Lisbon, in the artist’s studio.
Before the Amazon Prior to the series of paintings on the Amazon, Brazil had already featured in Pomar’s career through a tiled wall decoration he made in 1987 for the Gran Circo Lar, in Brasília, which resulted in the Galeria 111 publication Pomar – Os Desenhos do Circo de Brasília, with a text from the Brazilian curator Paul Herkenhoff, and the series of 15 paintings titled Mascarados de Pirenópolis, which were exhibited in Madrid in 1988 at ARCO, and then
4 In http://root.ps/download/estrategiasconjuntas/VIVEIROS-DE-CASTRO-Eduardo-Encontros-1.pdf (accessed 13 December 2017) or: http://www.transartists.org/ article/report-arcus-japan-november-2011. 5 Vergès, Françoise, “Like a Riot: The Politics of Forgetfulness, Relearning the South, and the Island of Dr. Moreau”, in South as a State of Mind #1, Documenta 14, p. 41.
at Galeria 111, in Lisbon.6 It was at the suggestion of Mário Quartin Graça, then cultural adviser to the Portuguese Embassy in Brazil, that Júlio Pomar went to the Holy Spirit festivities in Pirenópolis, a city in the Brazilian state of Goiás, described by Alberto da Costa e Silva as follows: “Every year in Pirenópolis, since the first quarter of the nineteenth century, the cavalhadas [a horseback tournament] take over the square during the Holy Spirit celebrations. The three days of festivities begin with a masked parade, the riders wearing brightly coloured and patterned clothes, with brightly coloured and patterned material covering their mounts, which are also decorated with flowers, ribbons and bells. The masks, made of fabric, or fashioned from card, usually take the form of an ox’s head with enormous horns, and are painted with vigour and extravagance”. This series of paintings is thus an enigmatic essay on movement and the attempt to permanently fix the ephemeral appearance of an image. For Manuel Castro Caldas, who studied the series for an essay, “Pomar’s painting surprises, it is made to surprise” and it is the apparition-like quality of these paintings that distinguishes them. Emerging from the painter’s memory, these strange images that move towards the viewer challenge our power of recognition. Using colour brazenly, mixing brushstrokes of colour, Júlio Pomar shapes the space of the canvas, creating a intriguing pictorial territory filled with vaguely defined forms, through which we catch glimpses of horses, ambiguous figures, animal heads, and other shapes that appear to be faces at one moment and skulls the next. As Caldas says, analysing these works, “the painter does not totally destroy or obliterate the appearance of the form from which he starts out, he does not choose to destroy it. Yet he also does not choose to preserve it – he merely chooses something from which to begin, something that he can inhabit, which contains the vibration of life that leads to symbiosis”. Despite the festive motif, what comes across to the viewer is also a kind of catharsis, with indistinct forms that are sometimes dark or from the realm of the uncanny, in which a familiar phenomenon is rendered unrecognisable through psychic repression, and thus appears strange to the viewer.
In the Amazon The paintings that resulted from Pomar’s Amazon experience were, in turn – as the artist himself describes in interview with Alexandre Melo – based on 6 For a fuller examination of Pomar and Brazil see the catalogue Pomar / Brasil. O Gran’ Circo Lar, 1986; Os Mascarados de Pirenópolis, 1987; Xingú, 1988, coord. Centro de Arte Moderna – Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, ed. Ministério da Cultura do Brasil / CAM – FCG, Brasil / Lisbon, 1990.
a number of loose and spontaneous drawings made as studies. The drawings that are shown in this exhibition are a selection from the sketchbooks brought back from Xingu, executed in ballpoint pen, marker and pencil. These sketches and notes served, above all, to capture and understand gestures, group movements and rituals that the painter would later rework in colour. “I was somewhat sceptical to start out with, I didn’t give way for two months, I filled pad after pad with rapid sketches, banning myself from painting so as not to be distracted by it. I wanted to be as open as possible to receiving the images that naturally I wouldn’t see again. When I returned, I only painted Indians for two months.” (Júlio Pomar) We know, from Alexandre Pomar, and from the artist himself, that the drawings were generally made towards the end of the afternoon, in the tent, and not in front of the models – the Amerindians – but reinterpreting memories and figures. During the day, the children were constantly peeping at him and asking for things, preventing him from drawing in peace. The motifs are systematically returned to and, through the sequence of drawings, we see that observations and “themes” are revisited. Perhaps only the drawings in the smallest sketchbooks, which have more schematic drawings, were made “from life”. There are, however, drawings that are returned to, and in other cases it seems that it is more a question of restarting the motif on a new page, on successive days or occasions. According to the artist himself, in an interview with Paul Herkenhoff, “each one of the small Xingu drawings are revisited drawings. In other words they were made over several days. At the start of each one, the fine lines multiply like a torrent of arrows trying to reach a moving target. On subsequent days, when each drawing is returned to, a slower and heavier line is used, in an attempt to isolate and articulate the half-seen target, in order to condense the essential nature of the image on the paper. What has always interested me in my work is the coming together of two things, as if this coming together were produced, or attempted to produce itself, within things themselves”.7 In the forthcoming book from the Fundação Júlio Pomar on these drawings, there is a brief introduction from the artist, which reveals to us: “On my arrival at the Yawalapiti village I was struck by its rigorous design in an enormous circle, above which seemed to sit the crushing dome of the 7 In “Pomar/Brasil: entrevista de Júlio Pomar a Paulo Herkenhoff”, in Revista do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional, Special edition/1990, pp. 67-71.
sky, in contrast to what you feel as you move towards the jungle, where life and death are present cheek by jowl, and light vanishes with the wild advance of nature, with its capacity to resist human order. The whole weight of the universe seems to rest on the void of the circle drawn by the village, in the same way that it seems to bear down with the weight of the Indian who dances bent over the ground. The drawings made in Xingu started as quick records of the exoticism of appearances, gradually becoming ‘layouts‘ that attempted to capture their movement. The idea of copying or imitation gives way to a desire to become a part of the movement, rather than to record it. Yet this is the word’s eternal pursuit of a definition for what is felt. I repeat: of what is felt, an expression I prefer to feeling, a word that seems to immediately restrict itself to the search for a conclusion. The advantage of the image over the word? Everyone sees what they want.” Pomar’s drawings explore the language of the body, underlining the expressive potential of the rapid line. They are communicative, they catalogue and bear witness to the primordiality of life in the Amazon jungle. They explore the world of relations, feelings, ways of life. These drawings are a “certificate of presence”, to use Barthe’s expression about photography’s protocols of truth, a quality that sometimes becomes more important than the idea itself or the representational endeavour that arises from it. The idea of performance precedes each drawing. Each series of drawings implies a time of interaction, of relation and a compositional endeavour that is not restricted to the moment, to that which remains and leaves the framing. And writing about these drawings, like writing about photography, implies – to cite Barthes once more – “the uneasiness of being a subject torn between two languages, one expressive, the other critical; and at the heart of this critical language, between several discourses, those of sociology, of semiology, and of psychoanalysis”8. What is meant by this is that the visual experience that Júlio Pomar offers, through these drawings, emphasises the idea of a work as a complex artistic fact, intersected by different variants, which enable numerous questions to be raised about the image, about culture, about memory, about truth and its protocols in the realm of representation – “I owe you the truth in painting”, wrote Cézanne in a letter, dated 3 October 1905, to Émile Bernard. What truth? One might respond perhaps: the same truth that is delivered by each of these drawings. They emphasise what photography always seems to carry with it, their referent, in other words, affected by a certain “amorous or 8 Barthes, Roland, Camera Lucida: Reflections of Photography, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Hill and Wang, 1981) p. 7.
funereal immobility, at the very heart of the moving world” (Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida). In order to discover other forms of sociability, of corporeal expression, other behavioural codes, Júlio Pomar seems to create a cognitive and relational structure on which to base image production. These constitute a knowledge that make it possible to equate the human condition, freedom, the body, desire, death and love, community versus individuality, centre and periphery, border, mythology, territory, seeing, feeling... Júlio Pomar shows us the centrality assumed by processes, recognising the value of drawing as a fundamental form of thought. He analyses the potential behaviour of things, their possible reactions. His work and his path link us with the world, with the way we think, with what we see, how we think about what we see, how we see ourselves in that same world. We discover the subtlety of life through muscular drawings that give form to a certain project of beauty. Ultimately “the shape of the world is the shape of the things that comprise it”, as Maurizio Vitta states in Il progetto della bellezza.9 To sum up, in the various drawings we see depictions of the Kuarup or Quarup – the ritual celebration that pays tribute to illustrious dead people, or the tree trunks that represent them; the Jakui, or sacred flute that must never be seen by women; the Parrot Festival or Dance, the traditional ritual of the Kamayurá villages; the Huka-huka, the traditional wrestling ritual practised by men during the Quarup ceremony; and we see images of architecture, natural elements, children in the river, and of numerous bodies in many different situations.
After the Amazon10 Os Txicão, the name that provided the title for this 1988 work, are also known as the Ikpeng, an indigenous Brazilian population who live in the Xingu reserve in the state of Mato Grosso. Xingu is a territory where the Yawalapitis, the Kamayurás and the Txicão (Ikpeng) live, as well as other indigenous tribes. The title Jakui II, 1988, indicates to us that this is a representation of a sacred flute – a Jakui. One of the first things that strikes us as we look at this series of paintings, is that the green of the jungle is not represented. On the contrary, the composition is made up of reds, crimsons, burnt ochres and warm colours 9 Vitta, Maurizio, Il progetto della bellezza: il design fra arte e tecnica dal 1851 a oggi (Turin: Einaudi, 2011). 10 In the text published in Júlio Pomar – Obras da Colecção Millennium bcp, 2014.
that the painter probably felt were the only colours suited to expressing with intensity the telluric forces that he experienced. In addition, in these paintings, one rarely sees the environment that surrounds the figures, in such a way that the figures erupt from the surface of the painting, imposing themselves as the only element of visual attention, making it impossible to place them in context, to see what they are doing, or to attribute any meaning to their gestures. They emerge in the painting like chromatic facts. They are recognisably Indians from the nakedness of their bodies or from some item of clothing, but everything else is pure abstraction. In this way, the stereotypical idea of the figure of the Indian in an exotic habitat created by western culture is deconstructed through the vibration and power of colour. That is what Júlio Pomar attempts to express when he says: “Surrounded by colossi whose daubed bodies would delight any fauvist! The support of painting here is nakedness. Sometimes it inscribes the magic of signs, at others it abandons itself to lazy brushstrokes. Raw contrasts of colour, and of matter, to the rhythm of bodies that eventually break up into a puzzle whose logic cannot be discerned by our eyes, half-blinded by an unforgiving sun. Garish reds (sometimes in oily impastos that will never dry), chalk whites, the dull glare of sooty blacks. The epidermis, tanned leather, is ornamented, or rather cut and recut by the satin of feathers: acid greens, the yellow of the sun, soft blacks, blues, whites, reds, enough to leave the finest of artists’ pigments speechless.” Evolving vertically and using the dripping paint as a semantic and phenomenological element of its composition, Les Txicão, like indeed all the works in this series, has an impenetrable thickness. In other words, to quote Michel Waldberg “it is said that the Amazon jungle is impenetrable: the painting is too. And if the painting offers to the view the impenetrable jungle, it counters the view with a dual impenetrability, above all when, due to its own excess, painting – like the jungle – creates such confusion that superabundance becomes desert. The desert is the jungle. The desert is the painting”. Every painting that resulted from Pomar’s experience in the Amazon thus seems to contain a complex puzzle within it – “This puzzle (something to be defined through intuition and verified through experimentation) ‘guarantees’ the interactive dynamics of the universe and of our knowledge of it”.11 This puzzle brings together a particular world, with unique ways of being, seeing and feeling
11 Glissant, Édouard, Poetics of Relation, trans. Betsy Wing (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1997).
that have no place in western culture and cannot be comprehended or verbalised by it, but which are put on canvas by Pomar, becoming embodied and coming into existence. It is the body, in close up, that drives the Amazon paintings. According to Michel Waldberg, the fundamental idea behind this group of 1980s paintings is a response to what is, essentially, the entire problem of painting, in other words, the collapse of a subject and a theme as such and the valuing of what is fundamental: painting itself. Thus the works produced during this period are about the celebration of painting and of life through painting (reality contains painting and painting in a way contains reality). This celebration is enacted in an almost fantastical or excessively colourful way, as well as through a renewed idea of the body, liberated, stripped of clothes and above all of shame – thus jointly conveying the pulsing intensity of reality and representation. In this way, we perceive that between the reality experienced by the painter and the representation produced a transmutation takes place. The artist does not set down reality on the canvas, nor does he interpret it directly. As he himself says, he allows himself to be led by the materials and to be guided by what he receives from the world, seeing new possibilities and ways of representation open up before him. “My painting makes itself – it makes itself much more than I make it – at the coming together of what I’ve seen in this world, with what I am seeing to appear on the canvas when I paint.” Thus, he can and must “take into account everything” he sees when he paints: tensions, outbreaks, the energy that frees itself during the process, knowing however that, in order to allow himself to be guided by what happens, he must be attentive and open to receiving what the matter of the painting says to him. Because in Pomar’s work painting is like a field of forces, attractions and repulsions, coming together and separation, between colours and shapes – the key protagonists of painting. Building a framework of interior and exterior references, Pomar constructs a visual system that reflects on the phenomena of perception, on the fragmented mechanisms of artistic thought, on the production of meanings, on our relationship with the world of forms, which allows us to access and contemplate images that evoke a situation of experience, of artistic investigation. Thus, in his works experiences are accumulated, ideas are processed, reflections continued, a state of potential is projected. “An aesthetic rehabilitation of existence” (Gianni Vattimo) in the face of the continued mass extermination of the indigenous communities of the Amazon. What does art do to the world?
Coordenação Coordination Hugo Dinis
Textos Texts © Sara Antónia Matos © Alexandre Melo © Cleyton Andrade © Júlio Pomar © Pedro Faro Design Gráfico Graphic Design Paula Prates Tradução Translation KennisTranslations Revisão Proofreading Helena Roldão (Sistema Solar / Documenta) Fotografias Photographs © António Jorge Silva © Teresa Martha (capa / pormenor | cover / detail) © Associação Cultural Boi-Bumbá Caprichoso Tiragem Print Run 800 exemplares | copies Depósito Legal Legal Deposit 435886/17 Impressão e Acabamento Printing and Binding Gráfica Maiadouro, SA 1.ª Edição, Dezembro de 2017 1st Edition, December 2017 © Atelier-Museu Júlio Pomar, 2017 © Sistema Solar Crl. (Documenta) ISBN 978-989-8902-01-6
Associação Cultural Boi-Bumbá Caprichoso Babá Tupinambá Cleyton Andrade Hudson Carlos Fundação Júlio Pomar: Alexandre Pomar Filipe Pacheco Rute Valadares
COLECÇÃO CADERNOS DO ATELIER-MUSEU JÚLIO POMAR / DOCUMENTA CAVEIRAS, CASAS, PEDRAS E UMA FIGUEIRA Júlio Pomar, Álvaro Siza Vieira, Luís Noronha da Costa, Fernando Lanhas Textos de Sara Antónia Matos, Delfim Sardo NOTAS SOBRE UMA ARTE ÚTIL – PARTE ESCRITA I (1942-1960) Júlio Pomar Edição de Sara Antónia Matos, Pedro Faro DA CEGUEIRA DOS PINTORES – PARTE ESCRITA II (1985) Júlio Pomar Tradução de Pedro Tamen; introdução de Sara Antónia Matos; organização de Pedro Faro TRATADO DOS OLHOS Júlio Pomar Textos de Sara Antónia Matos, Paulo Pires do Vale, Catarina Rosendo TEMAS E VARIAÇÕES – PARTE ESCRITA III (1968-2013) Júlio Pomar Apresentação e organização de Sara Antónia Matos, Pedro Faro O ARTISTA FALA… Conversas com Sara Antónia Matos e Pedro Faro Júlio Pomar, Sara Antónia Matos, Pedro Faro Fotografias de Luísa Ferreira INCANDESCÊNCIA – CÉZANNE E A PINTURA Textos de Tomás Maia, Sara Antónia Matos
EDIÇÃO & UTOPIA – OBRA GRÁFICA DE JÚLIO POMAR Textos de Sara Antónia Matos, Maria Teresa Cruz, Pedro Faro JÚLIO POMAR E RUI CHAFES: DESENHAR Textos de Sara Antónia Matos, João Barrento, Maria João Mayer Branco RUI CHAFES: SOB A PELE Conversas com Sara Antónia Matos Rui Chafes, Sara Antónia Matos PRÉMIO DE CURADORIA 2015 – AMJP/ EGEAC Projecto curatorial de Maria do Mar Fazenda, Vários artistas Textos de Sara Antónia Matos, Maria do Mar Fazenda DECORATIVO, APENAS? – JÚLIO POMAR E A INTEGRAÇÃO DAS ARTES Organização de Sara Antónia Matos; textos de Júlio Pomar, Sara Antónia Matos, Catarina Rosendo O MUSEU COMO VEÍCULO DE DESENVOLVIMENTO CRÍTICO E SOCIAL Organização de Sara Antónia Matos; textos de Sara Antónia Matos, Liliana Coutinho Fotografias de Teresa Santos JULIÃO SARMENTO: O ARTISTA COMO ELE É Conversas com Sara Antónia Matos e Pedro Faro Julião Sarmento, Sara Antónia Matos, Pedro Faro
VOID*: JÚLIO POMAR & JULIÃO SARMENTO, VOL. I Textos de Sara Antónia Matos, Alexandre Melo, Pedro Faro VOID*: JULIÃO SARMENTO – DIRT, VOL. II Textos de Sara Antónia Matos, Alexandre Melo, Pedro Faro VOID*: JÚLIO POMAR – OBRAS DESTRUÍDAS, VOL. III Textos de Sara Antónia Matos, Alexandre Pomar ESTRANHOS DIAS RECENTES DE UM TEMPO MENOS FELIZ – PRÉMIO DE CURADORIA 2016 – AMJP/EGEAC Projecto curatorial de Hugo Dinis, Vários artistas Organização de Hugo Dinis; textos de Sara Antónia Matos, Hugo Dinis, José Neves, Carmo Sousa Lima, Alexandre Quintanilha, Miguel Vale de Almeida, Tiago Castela JÚLIO POMAR E CABRITA REIS – DAS PEQUENAS COISAS Texto de Sara Antónia Matos CABRITA REIS: A VORAGEM DO MUNDO Conversas com Sara Antónia Matos e Pedro Faro Cabrita Reis, Sara Antónia Matos, Pedro Faro JÚLIO POMAR: O PINTOR NO TEMPO Textos de Irene Flunser Pimentel, Sara Antónia Matos
TÁWAPAYÊRA Dealmeida Esilva, Igor Jesus, Júlio Pomar, Tiago Alexandre Textos de Alexandre Melo, Pedro Faro, Sara Antónia Matos
Talvez tenha sido quando vi pela primeira vez a pintura de Júlio Pomar "O banho das crianças no Tuatuari" que soube que um dia viria a conhe...
Published on Feb 21, 2018
Talvez tenha sido quando vi pela primeira vez a pintura de Júlio Pomar "O banho das crianças no Tuatuari" que soube que um dia viria a conhe...