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travel journal of uncataloged landscapes.
location/date: 3006AHK/200 years before 200 years later

28/02 2015 – 28/03 2015

Mendes Wood DM has the pleasure of presenting the third solo exhibition by Brazilian artist Marina Perez Simão to be held at the gallery. There is no question that every observed landscape resides on two distinct and complementary planes; it exists in itself as well as in its context, in its very details and natural ornaments. At the same time it exists in a new way inside the actual observer, given that this transference from the external to the internal carries with it a series of changes and reassignments in meaning.

For instance, there is a striking resemblance between the discourses found in the earliest reports of the first arrivals in the Americas during the colonial era and the astronauts’ descriptions of sighting distant landscapes or objects and particles found in space – wonder and fascination are the fundamental sensations evoked in these discourses so temporally distant from one another. Arriving in the Americas is like reaching outer space; what matters is that one is entering the unknown.

This parallel served as the impulse for the artist as she sought to compose unknown landscapes, and to present something new to those willing to observe and surrender to the experience of seeing something for the first time. To construct, or perhaps guide, a gaze that is at once capable of assuming its total or partial incomprehension of that which is being viewed, thus carrying a sense of mystery which does not outweigh a certain comfort, granted that what is observed also necessarily takes on an internal existence.

The artist paints on canvas and paper, exploring a different format in each piece. By forgoing traditional rectangles and squares, the direction of the observing gaze diversifies naturally, and there is no central point at which interpretation is constructed. The work develops in the passing movement of the gaze – in the personal discovery of each person who observes it – as if each way of looking were the materialization of the observer’s internal geography.

The landscapes presented are almost familiar; they are nearly literal references to something possible, but do not act as such: the inverted colors of a sky, the undefined shapes invading the composition, a strangely placed point of view almost always indicates a certain sense of emptiness due to a lack of figures. And when there are figures, their presence is diffuse and nearly unintelligible.

The use of irregular formats with rounded corners is somewhat evocative of the windows on airplanes or even boats. The metaphor is clearly about travel, about the meaning of moving one’s gaze from one work of art to another. While there may be other formats for framing, it is important to understand that there is nothing arbitrary about the manner of their appearance, since they are also intrinsic parts of the work, drawings that spill over from and obey the content, ceasing to be a mere contour, and instead the very shape that serves the content.

The artist ventures to investigate and demystify a series of questions that place us face to face with certain complex ideas. While she is also distant from the mastery of their comprehension, she approaches them in ways that only an artist committed to the questions proposed by the artistic process is able.

Marina Perez Simão was born in Vitória, in 1981 and currently lives and works between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. She participated in the recent group exhibitions 12ª Exposicão de Verão at Silvia Cintra + Box 4 in Rio de Janeiro (2015); Chambres à Part, Edition VIII at La Réserve Paris in Paris, France (2013); Father at Mendes Wood DM in São Paulo, Brazil (2010) and Promenade Project at Galleria delle Colonne in Parma, Italy (2010). Her solo exhibitions include Holzweg at Mendes Wood DM in São Paulo, Brazil (2012); If it’s dream make it real, if it’s real make it dream at Mendes Wood DM in São Paulo, Brazil (2010) and Black Birds at Musée d’Art Moderne de Saint Etienne in Saint Etienne, France (2009).