Exhibition views
flowers and holes (glory), Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo, Brazil
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flowers and holes (glory), Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo, Brazil
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Mendes Wood DM São Paulo
Rua Barra Funda, 216

‘Homem Burro’ [Dumb Man], a bronze sculpture by Adriano Costa, is pure synthesis. In this ‘small item of adoration, there is imbalance, light and a somber being’. The differences between these states also reflect the impermeable conditions that reign over the artist’s sculptures, drawings and paintings. Costa acts through discrepancy with the consistency of those who build from inside out, where the inside is history and the outside is the world of things: things that he loves and, as a bonus, things that he despises. Everything moves towards understanding. Huge distances culminate in the same place. Its folds are organic, despite often emerging with and within a certain constructive aura and tradition... Works produced with no gesture can exude a fierce humor. There is a clash between ‘pictorial chaos’ and formality. This movement can produce both unsettling geometries and flowers [‘Flores’ (1 and 2)] offered to the living and the dead.

For Costa, there is no hierarchy of value, there is no frontier between material and color, skin and bone, figure and background. Right and wrong walk hand-in-hand where everything is possible. His art derives from unexpected equations that emerge in their own time and space. ‘Vaso’ [Vase], ‘Mata Atlântica’ [Rain Forest],‘Bromélia’ [Bromélia], ‘Cactos’ [Cactus], ‘Flores’ [Flowers] (1 and 2), ‘Jardim’ [Garden] (1 e 2) and ‘Jardim de esculturas’ [Sculpture Garden] all belong to this same kingdom, whose schizophrenic nature transpires in a myriad of fruits equipped and armed with their own voices.

We are in a universe of colors, of things and words, where Costa foresees, soaks up and traverses languages. His work is a reflection of this dynamic state. It is experimental and it doesn’t discard errors. It is extensive and inclusive; its presences are autonomous and migrate at different speeds. Costa’s poetics and plastic work are the evidence of their scope, as they become organized through transforming explosions. What was once green becomes void, what was once line becomes body, something that looks heavy floats. Costa’s organic situation sare independent whilst paradoxically achieving what I see as a resounding unity.

His works leak out and his art is as explicit as a Campbell’s soup can – ‘Como uma lata de sopa campbells’ [Like a Campbell’s Soup Can]. He thinks of pop as a constructive reflection. He embraces synthesis and celebrates the tiniest details. Size, color, and weight are all measurements that give us access to content and a free form of living. With a radical presence, the works arrive in the counter-flow of trends by diving into and putting into action languages that are so dear to the artist. By following its own steps, this body of poetical transgression becomes spit on the carpet in ‘Hang Over’ from 2014, or marks made by plastic surgery in ‘Cirurgia Plástica’[Plastic Surgery] (1 and 2), or primitive orgies in ‘Festa’ [Party], ‘Sexo’ [Sex] and ‘Buttfixing’, where the human form is a suggestion birthed by nervous brushstrokes. ‘Mãe’ [Mother], ‘Barriga’ [Belly], ‘Auto Retrato’ [Self-Portrait] and ‘Canibal’ [Cannibal] all derive from this circle of expressions.

‘Baldes’ [Buckets], ‘Formas de pudim’ [Flan Tins], ‘Embalagens’ [Packages], ‘Cartelas de remédios’ [BlisterPacks], ‘Essas máquinas’ [These Machines], are all systems perforated by ambiguities and paradoxes; they are surprises in an extensive spectrum. ‘Síndrome’ [Syndrome], ‘Doença’ [Disease] ‘Cura’ [Cure] and ‘Abajur’[Lampshade] reverberate as possible antidotes to our still somber 2021.

This is where we see the artist’s huge ambition to hand back justice to the world in a thrilling horizon. Where does it come from? Where is it going? What is it going to be? How can we celebrate our vast heritage from history? How can we unfold split worlds, past worlds, new worlds, and under which signs?

Each one of Adriano Costa’s shows has relied on a presence that can be seen as a representation of the sun-star.Here, his horizontal sun (‘Sol Horizontal’) appears on the body of an item that seems to be a perforated cheese(‘Queijo Perfurado’), seasoned with sweetness and ‘gauche humor’. His mysterious art is open. It collapses then is resuscitated; it runs the risk of being violent. It goes to the edge of situations that are then reworked.Its equations discard dreams of visual or conceptual purity by rejecting what we call taste. It is pure and simple and it trembles when addressing complex and mundane issues. It is subversive in its form, which is blown up by a real and uncontrollable world where everything is falling apart. The artist prints on his work the existential condition of being and of art. It is through these signs that he gives the beautiful and the natural back to the world. See ‘Chuva’ [Rain], ‘Céu’ [Sky] (1 and 2), ‘Boi’ [Ox], ‘Wellness’, ‘Excite’ and his incredible and delicate ‘Fantasma’ [Ghost].

‘The End’.
– Jac Leirner, July 2021

The artist thanks Romildo José da Silva and Jac Leirner.

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