Invention of Origin

10 November 2018–11 February 2019

Exhibition Overview

Solange Pessoa

Installation view, Menor, Solange Pessoa, 2018.

Pinacoteca de São Paulo, museum of the São Paulo State Secretariat of Culture, presents, from November 10th, 2018 to February 11th, 2019, the exhibition Invention of Origin, on the fourth floor of Pina Estação. With curatorship by Pinacoteca’s Nucleus of Research and Criticism and under general coordination of José Augusto Ribeiro, the museum curator, the group exhibition takes as the starting point the film The Origin of the Night: Amazon Cosmos (1973-77), by the German artist Lothar Baumgarten. The film has never been released in Brazil, and will be presented alongside a selection of works by four Brazilian artists — Antonio Dias, Carmela Gross, Solange Pessoa and Tunga. In common, the selected works allude to primordial times and actions which could have contributed to the narratives about the origin of life.

Shot on 16 mm between 1973 and 1977, The Origin of the Night: Amazon Cosmos, by Lothar Baumgarten, is based on a Tupi myth, registered by the French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, on the origin of the night — which, according to the narrative, used to “sleep” under waters, when animals still did not exist and things had the power of speech. From images captured in the Reno River, between Dusseldorf and Cologne, the artist creates ambiguous situations. “The images are paradoxical, they show a kind of virgin forest in which, however, the waste of human civilization is spread. Baumgarten turns to the cinema to reassemble the myths of a tropical forest, so the spectator does not know whether that is the principle or the end of the world,” says Ribeiro.

From the issues presented in the film, the curatorial research focused on a very specific part of Brazilian production, which comprises about 40 works by five artists, including video, painting, sculpture etc., produced from the 1970s to today. The selection takes into account language and material experiments which are converted, at the same time, into images and objects with immemorial aspects, with suggestion of fundamental gestures, inserting the observer into a kind of system of production or communication of ideas which are still in formation.

(Photo courtesy of Pinacoteca de São Paulo.)

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