SP-Arte’s Solo Sector to Tackle ‘Control and Exoticism’
24 January 2020
The São Paulo art fair, which takes place 1–5 April, has announced 11 of the 12 artists participating in the sector.
Daniel Jablonski, Hy Brazil (2018), pigment on cotton paper and methacrylate. Courtesy of the artist and Janaina Torres Galeria.
All of the artists participating in SP Arte's Solo sector this year, entitled Camadas de Tempo (Slices of Time), are from Latin America. But the sector's Chilean curator, Alexia Tala, says the region 'functions as a mirror of the Global South'.
'They are territories that have been subjected to the same practices of renewed forms of control and exoticism, but which have also been able to respond to such conditions through denunciation and solidarity,' she says.
One of the works that speaks to this dynamic is Brazilian Daniel Jablonski's Hy Brazil (2018), a forensic online investigation of a legendary island off the west coast of Ireland.
Jablonski found Hy Brazil on almost every nautical chart from 1325 to 1870, predating Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral's arrival in the Latin American territory in 1500. Hy Brazil was thought of as an unreachable utopia akin to Atlantis or Shangri-La before finally being dismissed as a mere rock at the end of the 19th century.
Today's Brazil is both the target of similar exoticism and extractive practices commonplace across the Global South. Originally called Terra da Santa Cruz by the Portuguese, the country's name was ultimately supplanted by popular use of Terra do Brasil (the Land of Brazilwood Trees), which were harvested in huge numbers and sold to European traders.
Another of the Solo sector artists confronting forms of control and exoticism—issues conflated in the age of Pablo Escobar tourism—is Paul Setúbal, whose works include bent police batons and brass knuckles.
His works, Tala says, reflect 'on the duality of objects under a dynamic of power with pieces that, when activated, can at the same time cause pain or manifest power'.
The full list of Solo sector artists announced so far is:
• Cristina Piffer and Guillermo Daghero (Argentina)
• Daniel Jablonski, Zé Carlos Garcia and Paul Setúbal (Brazil)
• Leyla Cárdenas (Colombia)
• Adrián Balseca (Ecuador)
• Esvin Alarcón Lam and Manuel Chavajay (Guatemala)
• Joaquín Sánchez (Paraguay), and
• Ximena Garrido-Lecca (Peru). —[O]