catalog with texts by
FRANZISKA NORI and XICO CHAVES
7 February - 18 April 2014
The Americas by Zoè Gruni is an exhibition that brings together the most significant moments of the last four years of her work. It ties a personal path between North and South America through the Metropolitan Legend, which started in Los Angeles from 2010 to 2011, and then two projects that came to life in Brazil between 2012 and 2013 in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, La Mérica and Boitatà.
The Cryptid, which are photographs that the artist had manipulated, are the characters that animate the Metropolitan Legend. They live in non-places and are part of the legends which were born within systems of media communication that is fast and schizophrenic, in which true and false, real and unreal loose their sense.
La Mérica - a split-screened video - focuses on one side, on a cave at the Parque Lage in Rio, like a piece of forest in the city center, a true paradise lost, and on the other, on a golden parrot, which refers to the Brazilian mines and carnival. The background melody, Italia bella mostrati gentile, was written in 1896 by an unknown author, during the great immigration wave of Italians to Brazil, re-discovered and sung by Tuscan ethnic musician Caterina Bueno.
The Projeto Boitatà - sculpture, performance, video, drawings and photographs - is based on the legendary fire serpent of Brazilian indigenous culture. It focuses on a wearable sculpture, made from the inner tubes of bicycle wheels sewn together, whose rubber is extracted from the rubber trees in the Amazon forest. It recalls to mind the stories of exploitation and colonial wars.
«With an almost ethnological approach, over the years Gruni has generated an archive of collective visualised mythologies... In listing them, the stories and legends become the expression of recurring and universal phenomena, expressions giving an archetypal idea of the human fears that have continued from the past, right up to the present day. The figures and masks that the artist makes create a reality unto itself, going beyond the rational dimension to exist in a timeless zone. The figures come to represent the individual’s interior demons and therefore that subconscious emotional reality which has always been encapsulated in man, even in the modern and rational era. Liquid fears, as the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman calls them, the fears that prevent man from being truly free, are all around us, even in the modern day.»
With these words, Franziska Nori closes her text, published together with Xico Chavez's in the book that accompanies the exhibition and presents the last ten years of work by the artist.