Héctor Zamora Ordem e Progresso 2017 30 pairs of gloves  Variable dimensions Courtesy of the artist and Luciana Brito Galeria Photo by Roberto Apa

Héctor Zamora Ordem e Progresso 2017 30 pairs of gloves Variable dimensions Courtesy of the artist and Luciana Brito Galeria Photo by Roberto Apa

The gallery  t twoninethree hosts the exhibition Luciana Brito Galeria in-residence at T293 as the result of the collaboration with the Brazilian gallery and that will open on Wednesday, June 7, 2017. Until July 29 Luciana Brito Galeria features an exclusive group exhibition in the space of T293, bringing recent works by Héctor Zamora, Pablo Lobato and Rafael Carneiro.

Héctor Zamora presents his work, Sra. do Cabo – Ordem e Progresso, 2017, an installation consisting of the wreck of a traditional Portuguese fishing boat, as well as two exclusive photographs entitled Ordem e Progresso, 2017 (133 x 200 cm each). The works featured at the exhibition evoke maritime tradition rooted in Portuguese culture, referencing the sociopolitical meaning that boats gain in the current context of migration. They present themselves as an unfolding of the Ordem e Progresso, 2017 performance, held by the artist in March this year at the MAAT museum in Lisbon.
Bio Héctor Zamora

Text by Inês Grosso

Upon entering the MAAT — Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology, we come across the wreckage from several fishing boats scattered throughout the Oval Gallery. Are they the remnants of a vicious naval battle? Are they the result of an actual fight or are they the vestiges of some other action, deliberately left in this space?

Ordem e Progresso is a new version of a performance-installation presented by Mexican artist Héctor Zamora (Mexico City, 1974) in 2012, in Paseo de los Héroes Navales, in Lima, and, in 2016, at the Palais de Tokyo, in Paris. Seven boats were selected for this newpresentation, which was especially produced for the Oval Gallery. Of different kinds and with different features, the boats represent the traditional vessels of Portuguese fishing villages and cities, such as Sesimbra, Ericeira, Nazaré, Aveiro, and Figueira da Foz. The boats, autenticexamples of Portuguese artisanal fishing, were selected because of their advanced state of degradation. They were all built between the late 1960s and the early 2000s. Somedisplay national symbols that invoke the period of the Portuguese Discoveries; and others were baptized with names that refer to the traditions and mysticism of the fishing communities, or to the local culture and folklore.

An evocation of the cultural and historical memory of the Portuguese maritime and fluvial heritage, Ordem e Progresso [Order and Progress] is also a reflection upon the environmental impact and socioeconomic consequences of the extinction of artisanal fishing and of its culture. The industrialization of the fishing sector had a strong impact on many Portuguese villages and cities. Following the guidelines of the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy, the restructuring and re-dimensioning of the Portuguese fishing fleet meant the decommissioning of dozens of vessels, and the loss of some types of traditional ships. With its scathing and contemporary political message, Ordem e Progresso proposes a reflection upon the effects and consequences of progress, of globalization and of the market economy, raising a variety of political, economic, social, and cultural questions that include the current refugee crisis and the anti-immigration policies being enacted by certain world powers. The title of the piece is based on two maxims of positivist thought formulated by Auguste Comte (1798-1857), “love as a principle and order as the basis; progress as the goal,” and “progress is the development of order.” These maxims are also the inspiration for the motto we can read in the flag of Brazil (“Ordem e Progresso”), a country where the artist lived for several years. During an interview, Zamora has said that his goal with this piece was to “destroy the promises implied by the boats,” adding that, in the European context, “the boat has become a symbol of what is happening here [the migrant crisis]” and that “this is a critical moment, in which the world as a whole can question if this order and this progress have been positive at all.”1

In many cultures, the boat is a symbol of the voyage, of the transition between life and death. When we think about this, it is inevitable to reflect upon the growing number of refugees that die crossing the Mediterranean Sea, to consider the shocking images circulated by the media, showing overcrowded and precarious ships as they sink. The representation of the refugees by the media has been the subject of many debates and controversies. The more shocking and dramatic the image is, more intense (and effective) is the emotion it elicits. Images are now a game of deception: they are used to capture the public’s attention, to increase ratings, sales, and subscription numbers. The proliferation and multiplication of violent and disturbing images, many of which are devoid of informational value, inform us, above all, about the great fascination violence exerts over our species.

This brings us back to the idea that opens this text: the naval battle in the Oval Gallery. A space reminiscent of the architecture of the theatres of the classical period, elliptical spaces where the public was separated from the stage by an arena. These theatres were the stage of the famous (and bloody) naumachias—re-enactments of historical naval battles,2 usually in pools, lakes, or amphitheatres specially designed for them, surrounded by seating stands for the spectators. The microcosm of a heavily stratified, hierarchical society, the amphitheatrewas the stage of a series of games and shows that used violence as a form of entertainment.

Zamora uses the configuration of the gallery to create a spatial boundary that separates the audience from the stage. The visitor is limited to the role of a passive spectator, watching as the fishing vessels are destroyed by a group of workers. Using manual tools such as mallets, hammers and axes, these actors/performers will turn these ships into pieces, as if they had been destroyed in a shipwreck or naval battle. Most of them immigrantsthemselves awaiting the opportunity of a job, the workers were hired through a Portuguese recruitment company. This particular detail is a pertinent and timely criticism of inequality in our contemporary world, of the inextricable relationship between the imperialist policies of the most powerful nations and the refugee crisis, but also of the way migration can be used as a tool and device for social transformation. In this perspective, there is a clear (and curious) parallel between these workers and the combatants in the original naumachias, who were mostly war prisoners, Christians, or slaves—the victims or Roman imperialism.

In Ordem e Progresso, body and action are politicized in an immersive performance, charged with theatricality and dramatism, and with a special focus on the poetics of the gesture. The presentation of this piece invites us to reflect upon the role of images, upon violence and upon the numbness of our contemporary society towards it. Much like in the games of the Roman world, this piece transforms the spectator into an abstract, passive, and contemplative subject, fascinated by the violent action of the destruction of the ships. Symbolically, the museum’s location by the Tagus is particularly significant, reverberating with the history of the Portuguese Discoveries and of the later consolidation of Lisbon as a port city and as a hub for maritime trade. Additionally, and looking at our present and recent past, this is also a place that was (and still is) witness to the relentless and voracious destruction of some of the symbols of our national identity, which were the victims of progress and modernity.

Ordem e Progresso presents u s w ith t he remnants of a battle a nd w ith t he body of another one, still in progress: the fight that tries to awaken us to a reflection upon the role of art in a time defined by the spectacularization and virtualization of life.

1 Leticia Constant, “Artista destrói barcos em performance-protesto no Palais de Tokyo”, Radio France Internationale (May 6, 2016). [Accessed in Feb. 6, 2017]. [Available on the Internet: http://br.rfi.fr/cultura/20160506-artista-destroi-barcos-em-performance-protesto-no-palais-de-tokyo].

2 The date of the first naumachia (in Latin naumachia, from the Ancient Greek naumachía, literally “naval combat”) remains a controversial subject among historians. Nevertheless, the first known naumachia was offered by Julius Caesar to the people of Rome in 46 BC. For this purpose, Caesar ordered the construction of an artificial lake in Campus Martius. Several theories have sought to prove that the Colosseum was also used as the stage for these naval battles. In Portugal, small towns, such as Marialva, promoted naumachias in the artificial lakes that, via the aqueducts, supplied the public baths.

Héctor Zamora, Da série Ordem e Progresso 2017 Inkjet print 47.24 x 70.86 in  Courtesy of the artist and Luciana Brito Galeria Photo by Roberto Apa

Héctor Zamora, Da série Ordem e Progresso 2017 Inkjet print 47.24 x 70.86 in Courtesy of the artist and Luciana Brito Galeria Photo by Roberto Apa

Pablo Lobato presents the series Rest, 2015 consisting of 14 photographs of Israeli soldiers in a resting position (32,14 x 45 cm each) and the video installation Castell, 2012 conceived during the traditional Catalan party where human towers are raised, hence the name of the work. Whilst in Rest Pablo Lobato conjures a new gaze through an innovative cut for the image, in Castell the artist once again explores the idea of cut as a poetic solution, creating an unusual framing that displaces and provokes the viewer.
Bio Pablo Lobato

Rest (Israeli soldiers) Series – 2015
(Statement written in 2015)

I visited Israel for the rst time this year as a guest of the Jerusalem Biennale. Among the many facts that astonished me in that country, one led me to do this new work. Despite being used to seeing images of Israeli soldiers in the media around us, I did not manage to get used to living with it. Going around the streets lled everyday with dozens, hundreds of youths with pimples on their faces and guns in their hands became each and every time odder. Overwhelmed by such spirit of estrangement, the soldiers’ simple and classic gesture of resting left me completely moved. I had my camera in my hands when I saw the hands of a young white man silently at ease on his back. I photographed it without him noticing it, yielding to an impulse that led me, throughout the 10 days I was in Jerusalem, to more and more hands of different tonus and tones (of skin). There was something in the gestures that allowed me to believe in those bodies. Maybe the cells with their millenary memories, distracted, working in silence. To go on shooting those images was a way to create another army, an army in a sort of endless rest.

Castell, 2012

Castell is part of an ensemble of works that sprang from the meeting of the artist and that what is given to him as experience. Compositions are triggered by a kind of cut that is made evident by the choice of the frame, the xed camera and the sequence shot. Here documentary cinema procedures serve a new density for the image that also counts on the way the video work is installed in the exhibition space.

Castell is a tradition that has been cultivated in Catalonia since the end of the 18th century. It is about raising human towers. Happening at large popular feasts, it leads the collective practice into a kind of duel among groups. The video work Castell was done on the occasion of Saint Ursula’s annual party in the city of Valls, during a rehearsal at Colla Vela’s headquarters. This group, gathered to raise one of these towers without the turbulence of the audience, consisted of casually dressed men, women and children. The xed camera shows the base of the tower from the beginning to the end of its unstable construction.

Text by Pablo Lobato

Pablo Lobato, Rest (Israeli soldiers) series’ 2015 Mineral print on canvas (Hahnemühle, 340 gsm, Poly-Cotton), copper nails 12.65 x 17.72 in, each (set of 14 photographs) Courtesy of the artist and Luciana Brito Galeria Photo by Roberto Apa

Pablo Lobato, Rest (Israeli soldiers) series’ 2015 Mineral print on canvas (Hahnemühle, 340 gsm, Poly-Cotton), copper nails 12.65 x 17.72 in, each (set of 14 photographs) Courtesy of the artist and Luciana Brito Galeria Photo by Roberto Apa

Pablo Lobato Castell 2012 Video installation, HD, color, stereo, single channel 7’21’’, looped Courtesy of the artist and Luciana Brito Galeria Photo by Roberto Apa

Pablo Lobato, Castell 2012 Video installation, HD, color, stereo, single channel 7’21’’, looped Courtesy of the artist and Luciana Brito Galeria Photo by Roberto Apa

Rafael Carneiro participates in the exhibition with two paintings Untitled, 2010 (150 x 200 cm each). In these paintings, the artist portrays neutral spaces, not only in terms of the faded colors, but also by the detached nature of the spaces. These are worn away images, captured by security cameras at NASA bases. Rafael Carneiro’s work is articulated precisely around this very contrast between the quality of the scene recorded by these security devices and the pictorial quality expected of a screen. The paintings were created by the artist during an artistic residence in Paris, France in 2010.
Bio Rafael Carneiro

Untitled, 2010

In this series of works the viewer cam notice that almost always the center of the painting is empty, the objects occupy the margins, and there are few dissonant colors of the almost always gray palette. The images that originated the paintings are video frames of internal circuit cameras from laboratories and warehouses. They were chosen mainly for what does not exist in them. No scene is going on, no movement, no human figures, one can not understand the use of the room as well as the use of the objects in there, or even what these objects are. It decisively contributes to these characteristics the aerial point of view of the images, which removes from the viewer the possibility of occupying some place in that space than that of an external observer, benefited by some device (a camera, a ladder…). The dimensions of objects and space remain ambiguous, it can be huge or miniatures. The spaces represented are sometimes organized with markings that indicate the places to be occupied by objects, thus showing the character of representation of the empty architectural site itself, the waiting for action. They are pictures of that emptiness occupied on the margins by the possible instruments that remain without clear function, paralyzed at a level that precedes a complete meaning.

Luciana Brito Galeria in-residence at t twoninethree Héctor Zamora, Pablo Lobato, Rafael Carneiro Installation view 8 June - 29 July, 2017 Photo by Roberto Apa

Luciana Brito Galeria in-residence at t twoninethree Héctor Zamora, Pablo Lobato, Rafael Carneiro Installation view 8 June – 29 July, 2017 Photo by Roberto Apa

Luciana Brito Galeria in-residence at t twoninethree Héctor Zamora, Pablo Lobato, Rafael Carneiro Installation view 8 June - 29 July, 2017 Photo by Roberto Apa

Luciana Brito Galeria in-residence at t twoninethree Héctor Zamora, Pablo Lobato, Rafael Carneiro Installation view 8 June – 29 July, 2017 Photo by Roberto Apa

Luciana Brito Galeria in-residence at t twoninethree Héctor Zamora, Pablo Lobato, Rafael Carneiro Installation view 8 June - 29 July, 2017 Photo by Roberto Apa

Luciana Brito Galeria in-residence at t twoninethree Héctor Zamora, Pablo Lobato, Rafael Carneiro Installation view 8 June – 29 July, 2017 Photo by Roberto Apa

The second stage of this collaboration will take place in August in São Paulo at Luciana Brito Galeria, where T293 will hold an exclusive exhibition featuring works by their represented artists.