Just for Show, Zed Nesti’s recent insightful series of paintings, explores the definition and development of contemporary Brazil’s persona. Countries, like individuals, have private and public selves. The references and images that resonate as real for locals can be radically disconnected from outsiders’ experiences or fantasies.
As a Brazilian artist with his own subjective associations to his source material, Nesti sensitively deconstructs the symbols representing Brazil. Tensions between Nesti’s appropriated images and his canvases draw attention to the limits and temptations of trying to understand a culture from a distance. Although Nesti often sources his imagery online, he paints them using a combination of pigments, oils, beeswax and resin. These traditional materials add gravitas to his technologically harvested imagery. He then renders his source material using a palette that references filters from popular online photography networks. These filters create a prematurely nostalgic haze over images, compelling viewers to appreciate them or critically evaluate them rather than assume they are casually constructed. In Nesti’s paintings, the results are luminous and complex when seen in person. The scale of his artwork amplifies the unique experience of standing directly in front of his canvases. The gap between an authentic and second-hand understanding of his art alerts viewers to their likely superficial understanding of Brazil’s intricate symbology, heritage and present-day culture.
Issues of self-representation and perception are central themes for Nesti. Book of Faces of Facebook, Nesti’s 2010 series of charcoal drawings were portraits of peoples’ social masks. The subjects of this series were plucked from Nesti’s social media network. With his relaxed and graceful style, Nesti replicated the photographs that his friends, acquaintances and online connections used to promote themselves to others. Facebook profile photos, which are visible to complete strangers as well as people invited into our online communities, are not accurate reflections of us but telling representations of our ideal selves. Unlike a profile picture, the images that represent Brazil can have complex and often unclear origins. References that begin as representations of Brazilians’ taste, aspirations and identity can become misunderstood clichés when overused by tourists and the international mass media. Nesti approaches these images like he handled Facebook photos, in order to investigate the nature of how we perceive ourselves and others perceive us.
Ana Finel Honigman
Zed Nesti was born in Rio de Janeiro in a family of artists. Attended FAAP (Armando Alvares Penteado Foundation), in São Paulo, Brazil, and acts as a visual artist since 2005. At the exhibition "8 Emerging Artists" at Galerie SHO Projects in Tokyo, Japan, from 13/02 to 14/03 / 2009 Nesti presented a series of paintings "Celebs" with portraits of celebrities like Madonna and Brad Pitt. Painted from photographs, the end result because strong contrast by making rich in pictorial material. The set of drawings made with charcoal on paper, "Book of Faces of Facebook", is a collection of friends portraits of the artist's social network and were displayed in the exhibition "mediations", held at the Motor Gallery, in São Paulo, Brazil, from 24/06 to 27/06/2010, and the collective "Found on Facebook" in Arthur M Berger gallery in Purchase, New York, USA in 2010.
Other exhibitions of the artist:
Individual in the Bolsa de Arte gallery in Porto Alegre, Brazil from 26/02 to 04/11/2015; group exhibition "Shouts of Korea" in Seoul, in Korea, from 11/06 to 07/31/2014; group exhibition "Handmade 5" Cloud Gallery in São Paulo, SP, Brazil from 31/05 to 06/21/2014; Annual Program Exhibition Centro Cultural São Paulo CCSP in São Paulo, SP, Brazil 02/0826/10/2014; 42 Hall of Contemporary Art Luiz Sacilotto in Santo André, SP, Brazil from 24/04 to 06/28/2014; 5th Salon Artists Gallery No gallery in Zipper and House of Xiclet in Sao Paulo, Brazil from 16/01 to 02/15/2014; exhibition "Zed Nesti Paintings 2011-2013" at Club Noir, in São Paulo, SP, Brazil from 12/04 to 06/29/2013; exhibition "Mediations" Motor gallery in São Paulo, SP, Brazil from 24/06 to 27/06/2010; group exhibition "Found on Facebook" in Arthur M Berger gallery in Purchase, New York, USA in 2010; exhibition "8 Emerging Artists" at Galerie SHO Projects in Tokyo, Japan from 13/02 to 14/03/2009; group exhibition "third Displays of student work of São Paulo School" in Sao Paulo, Brazil from 17/05 to 14/06/2008. He participated in the "International Painting Symposium" in Mersin in Turkey from 07/10 to 10/26/2013. It has works at the Contemporary Art Museum's collection of São Paulo-USP Mac in the house of St. Andrew's look at the collection Sergio Carvalho in Brasilia and collectors in the United States, Japan, Turkey and Brazil. Participated in the TV Arte1 program in the series "Moving" and also the fairs SP-ARTE in 2009, 2010 and 2015, Tokyo Art Fair and KIAF (Korea International Art Fair) in 2009. Zed Nesti, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1969, lived in London between 1991 and 1993. Today he lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil.
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