Galeria Movimento aims to promote the encounter between contemporary fine art and street art. In a small storefront space, on the second floor of the Cassino Atlântico shopping center in Copacabana, the gallery curates exhibitions by a heterogeneous roster of 12 artists from across Brazil.
Paulo Vieira’s solo exhibition, “Depois de Hoje” (After Today), was the Minas Gerais-born artist’s second solo show in Rio in the last three years. The exhibition catalogue with introduction by curator, Mauro Trindade, describes the show, as being without a thematic program—suggesting that it ought to be understood rather as a self-portrait of the artist himself.
Courtesy of the author.
For me, looking around the gallery triggered the sensation of falling gradually deeper into a dreamscape, hidden quietly inside the otherwise standard and drab aesthetics of a shopping mall space.
True to the gallery’s own vision of combining the unexpected, the show demonstrates Vieira’s use of a breadth of mediums, including forty-one pieces, on canvas and paper, in acrylic, graphite and colored pencil. The artist works almost exclusively on small canvases, thereby creating a sense of fragmentation within each piece that oddly affords the show as a whole a greater cohesion as these individual pieces come together. The artist’s drawings and paintings are an unpredictable mix of melancholic, muted hues, washed-out blues and graphite. At a glance the works may seem easily digestible, but a more thorough look invariably reveals the juxtaposition of the smooth, soft coloring with the deeply troubling and surreal content of each piece.
Paulo Vieira, Ponto de vista, 30 x 30 cm, óleo sobre tela; Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Movimento
Ponto de Vista (Point of View), for example, recalls Magritte-like surrealism, as a woman’s bust rests rigidly on its side, mid-air with a skewer piercing through her ear, maintaining her head afloat. Internos reveals a savage kiss between human bodies with wolf heads, breaking the viewer’s sense of continuity and challenging our capacity to predict what’s next. And pieces like Autoretrato (Self Portrait) are haunting to the point of simply being terrifying. Vieira peels apart layers of reality and toys constantly with the concept of the self-portrait, making his claim that “all my paintings are self-portraits” all the more indecipherable and elusive.
Repeatedly, the expressions on the faces of Vieira’s figures are concealed. Frequently, they are blank and flat, or shielded behind closed hands. If these are self-portraits, they are full of inner turmoil. Paulo Vieira’s work is of the kind that doesn’t immediately stun the viewer, but rather slips quietly into ones mind, only later revealing its force through its resonance.
Currently, Galeria Movimento is featuring “Onde não estou” (Where I am not), a show by Thais Beltrame, curated by Douglas de Freitas, in which Beltrame spins literary tales, with detailed landscapes brimming with characters poised to “invade the world”.
With Rio de Janeiro lagging behind São Paulo’s booming art scene it is exciting to see Galeria Movimento in the midst of Copacabana.
(Image on top: Paulo Vieira, Autorretrato, grafite e lápis de cor Prismacolor sobre papel, 145 x 105 cm; Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Movimento)