Exhibition views
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11/08 2012 – 25/08 2012

Mendes Wood DM is pleased to announce Exposição (Exhibition), a solo exhibition of Brazilian artist Theo Craveiro. Born in 1983, Craveiro lives and works in Sao Paulo and is represented by the gallery. He had a solo exhibition at Mendes Wood in 2011, participated in the 12th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey (2011) and the SESC_Videobrasil 17th International Festival of Contemporary Art, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2011). Some of his works comprise the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sao Paulo, Brazil (MAC-SP) and other important private collections.

Paulo Miyada writes:
On the one hand, an exhibition space is just one of many places that make up the fabric of cities, one among the buildings, of public or private ownership, accessible to passersby. On the other, something in this place suggests a behavior pattern to its audience. One can notice the presence of a certain silence, a walking pace full of pauses and visual hyperactivity; attributes that are imprinted in the attitude of most visitors, simply because they are inadvertently before works of art. It would be possible to trace a genealogy of the reasons why art needs this kind of attention that oscillates between the cunning of the criminal expert, the wonder of the tourist and the humility of the religious believer. As it seems to be the case of Theo Craveiro’s Exposição, it is also possible to speculate on the principles of this type of space, this type of production and this way of thinking.

First, the attributes of an exhibition space – whatever its form, its architecture – do not correspond to those of city streets. We presume that, depending on the viewer's focus, ordinary space results of a circumstantial overlaying of events that may or may not carry meaning beyond their functionality. Yet, art’s place, in principle, does not exist involuntarily, but as a result of an expositive desire on someone’s part, which implies a certain range of choices, emphases and chains of meaning. Said differentiation exists even if, strictly speaking, everything in the world could be interpreted according to aesthetic criteria, which suggests the importance of the exhibition space as a place where the continuous flow of the street and life are interrupted, freeing the body to be attentively together with a set of signifiers. Perhaps it is in this distinction between ordinary and exhibition spaces that we can find a particularization of art as a specific form of knowledge and use of language.

There is a subliminal convention that art in itself occupies a place of exclusion, a place where certain rules of order and productivity can be suspended. This permanent agreement involves a continues dispute – between initiatives that focus on allowing the overflow of art to pour into the varied fields of life and critical discourses that denounce art which corresponds perfectly to the production structure of its time. Rather than choosing to either refute or celebrate its existence, Craveiro tests the limits of such convention with interventions and images that seek to reflect on the attributes of exhibition spaces and of a way of thinking that is particular to art.

The characteristic features of exhibition displays act as a springboard for ontological thinking about the concept of an exhibition – investigating its being, its essence. Windows, frames, bases and boxes, usually seen as invisible supports for works and documents, are treated as equally significant to the art presented – they can be seen artificially enclosing a whirlwind of water or visibly failing to contain liquid that although appears to be stable in actuality leaks through the walls. A metal frame surrounds a plant, doubling the frame of the gallery and containing an illegality implied by the mere possession of a species that, in any other context, would necessarily be indicative of a criminal offense. In the latter case, the limits of the framing device offered by the art will remain open – is it enough to release the artwork from the legal implications of its materiality?

This is a fundamental question, not only for its anecdotal nature, but also because it points to a central gap in the understanding of the isolation of the exhibition space. Its relative autonomy in relation to the existing social contracts has historical importance to ensure its release from the constant flow of purposes that guide a society ruled by profit, by work and by productivity. However, its lack of purpose makes sense in the way that its realization seeps into other areas of life and makes us reassess the contracts and rules, and casts doubt on the purpose of our apparent productivity. It is no coincidence that Theo Craveiro selected this as the epigraph to his essay on Exposição:

“The only objects that seem devoid of purpose are the aesthetic objects, on the one hand, and men, on the other. About them, we cannot ask for what purpose? What are they good for? They are good for nothing. But the absence of purpose in art, has the purpose of making men feel at home in the world” – Hannah Arendt

The simple operations employed by Theo Craveiro, both in his the Exposição and at other points in his life’s trajectory, address the materiality and meaning that constitute things in order to test them, rendering them useless as they extrapolate their own qualities. A glass, whose ergonomics suggests a human hand could hold it, eventually cedes under the pressure of a tight grip and shatters into fragments. When split by a symmetrical cut, a coin displays its two sides simultaneously, but loses its original value (while adding a further two sides). An egg, despite being opened with such delicacy that the structure of its shell remains intact, nonetheless becomes as useless as a closed container. Each vocation, unraveling unto itself, creates room for the unknown.

A long swim across the sea that separates two beaches concludes this step as a parable of Exposição. A long gesture covered by the darkness of the night questions the idea of purpose, and performs the search for the place each thing seeks to find to be able to simply exist. An exercise of entelechy, as put by the artist himself; a search for becoming and remaining the same, for going forward in repose.

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