Artist features

João Loureiro

In a broad sense, through a wide range of subjects and procedures, I’ve been interested in certain versions or fictional constructions that are presented as factual, acquiring the character of truth and often replacing original events or things.

All images Courtesy by the artist

Even though historical narratives build up gradually with additions and interpretations, they usually present themselves as reliable facts. Aware of that, I’ve been researching objects, constructed situations and contexts, clearly artificial or concealed, loaded with signs, substitutions, translations, intentions of verisimilitude, deceptions, falsifications, repressed feelings and fantasies, artifices capable of inducing an impression of truth, of attributing a value of truth.

My practice, therefore, evolves around the doubt, the distrust, the impossibility to fathom things accurately. I can either examine the way in which historical and fictional narratives shape themselves, identify organization modes of a particular system or group, or focus on material culture, the mundane and the ordinary, that I find capable of communicating some of the operational structures of society.

My works’ interests are wide, and it’s subjects can be the pajamas of a suicidal president, ice-creams in a touristic town in Argentina, an endless turning coin atop a table, a demolishing machine in a gallery about to be demolished, some packs of cigarettes as payment for friends texts in a book.
The process begins with researching an elected context and often involves a series of negotiations for its realization. In the end, it results in meticulously planned, straightforward and rather condensed images, objects and installations.

The work occupied and linked two distinct spaces in the Vila Buarque neighborhood, in São Paulo. At the butcher’s, in the Futurama Supermarket, a vertical freezer with a glass door contained reproductions of Henry Moore’s Two-Piece Reclining Figure: Points made with ground meat. At the same time, in an exhibition room at the Jaqueline Martins Gallery, the artist installed a polystyrene reproduction of Umberto Boccioni’s Unique Forms of Continuity in Space. Today, both pieces are part of the Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo collection: in 1972, MAC-USP commissioned a bronze edition of the sculpture, made with Boccioni’s original plaster mold, later trading it for Moore’s piece with Tate Gallery.

Once a week, the ground meat sculpture was removed from the freezer and displayed in the main refrigerated vitrine at the supermarket’s butcher stand; it was then transported to a housefly breeding facility, kept by a biologist, where it was used as food for these insects, which, once they reached their adult stage, were set free in the Vila Buarque neighborhood. The artist would also collect the dead flies on from the fly trap, installed at the butcher’s, on a weekly basis and would take their carcasses to the exhibition room at the gallery, affixing them with pins to the polystyrene replica of Boccioni’s piece. In the course of the exhibition, an increasing amount of dead flies were affixed to the polystyrene sculpture.

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Tique | publication on contemporary art #3: Six Questions