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Mendes Wood DM New York
October 14 - November 11, 2022

One of the most inventive and prominent Brazilian contemporary artists, Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro (Vitória, 1996) returns to the US for her third project, now in a solo show at Mendes Wood DM, in New York City.  Entitled Remember when we talked about meeting again —as both the start of a conversation and an essential prophecy—, the show gathers works in different media and a new site-specific installation under an atmosphere that articulates intangible mysteries and radical materialities to approach themes of energy fluxes, metamorphosis, and a myriad of transformative encounters.

Brasileiro’s work intertwines spiritual visions associated with the Candomblé; cultural and linguistic studies of the Bantu traditions and the African diaspora; speculative astrophysics; and her practice as a clinical psychologist. Based around the idea of cura (healing) as a transitional state of freedom linked with notions of transmutation and hybridism as a way to health, her practice embraces the dynamics of movement and mutability as paths towards rethinking the lingering effects of colonization and modernity and its oppressive, inflexible drives. Above all, it unlocks fundamental strategies to forge meaningful connections through spiritual, social, and emotional autonomy.

In the video and photo performances, her body appears in different stages and scenarios, but always engaged in deep vital processes. These magnetic images come to light both as stunning visualities and strong ideas. Working simultaneously as talismans and conceptual tools, these images can influence cognitive shifts, diluting constructed dichotomies related to race, gender, sexualities, but also echoing interspecies and interplanetary relations, tensioning thus the limits between human and environment, culture and nature, the earthly and the extraterrestrial, the physical and the ethereal.

The series of paintings presented are imbued in an uncanny language, formed by the combination of words and characters from Portuguese, Spanish, and Kimbundu, as well as symbols from Afro-brazilian matrices and experimental graphism. Having painted them in certain afternoons while observing the celestial sphere go through dramatic sunsets, the artist invoked collective forces, channeling them through her hands and words, focusing on plural manifestations, grupal energies, and the force of the multitudes. As a result, the compositions allow us to see different possibilities for the manifestation of light, gravitational forces and moving masses, and a whirlwind of visceral expressions.

Amidst the paintings, an installation conceived specially for the show creates a path of earth serpentining through standing banners—much like vibrant portals. The organic element meanders through the space laying down its route, ending in the limits of the space, under a light on the wall. This ritualist area, infused with an intense energy, serves as ground for an accumulation of histories and gestures, inviting the public to open up and experience what is told with the full body.

From spiritual sublimations to the transfiguration of the flesh, the ontology that rises from Brasileiro’s works suggests the annunciation of a new language, one capable of invoking new understanding for the cycle of life, the human condition, the agency of the inhumane, and the powers from way beyond this world, all that can be summoned upon the right intention for true union.

—Germano Dushá

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