The exhibition Bois Brésill brings together around twenty works by the Brazilian artist José Diniz. Among photographs, videos, monotypes, installations and handmade books, the artist rescues the history of the founding tree of Brazil – curiously little known for having been extirpated from the Atlantic Forest between the 16th and 19th centuries. The show reflects on aspects of power and oppression; discusses certain aspects related to cultural impositions and neglect of environmental issues.
The research started in the period of the pandemic, when the artist identified species of Paubrasilia Enchinata tree in his surroundings, unfolded in several ways. Curious, Diniz studied and followed the tree’s growth and flowering cycle. At the same time, he obtained sawdust from the heartwood of the tree from sustainable sources, from which he extracted a reddish dye. It was necessary to rescue ancestral recipes to obtain the dye that made it possible to him to color fabrics and papers; his experiments advanced in associations and compositions of different natures. The colors obtained – purple, crimson, orange – are symbolically linked to the established power. Historically to the attire of the nobility and the ecclesiastical class in their rich vestments. Symbolically, it is linked to blood, passion, fire, desire, temptation; represents the devil, power, war, courage.
The allegorical meaning of Pau Brasil – still under threat of extinction of Brazilian forests – was rescued by Oswald de Andrade, Brazilian modernist poet, in a critical manifesto in 1924. Likewise, the image and meaning of Pau Brasil are used by José Diniz in a metaphorical context, relating directly to the current situation of environmental emergency in the world context.
The exhibition aims to contribute with reflections on power and, also, to value and disseminate a set of genuine cultural manifestations, critically promoting some archetypes of Brazilian culture.
Márcia Mello, Curator, 2022
Curator Márcia Mello interviews artist José Diniz
MM: You usually work by projects, focusing on specific topics for each research. How do they start? What have been your motivations lately?
JD: My head needs a certain organization to be able to work, because I need to learn and produce concepts on a topic. However, based on this knowledge, I set out to experiment in the form of series of images and artist books.
MM: References to your childhood as well as your relationship with your father and grandfather are frequent in your work. Talk a little bit about it.
JD: My father was a professor of drawing and geometry. In our house there was an art space with books and tools available for artistic practice, in addition to my father’s guidance. My grandfather was an amateur photographer and one of the creators of the Sociedade Fluminense de Fotografia (Rio de Janeiro Photography Society), one of the most important photo clubs in the country that is still active today. I then lived this learning cycle between my father’s studio and my grandfather’s laboratory.
MM: Creating photobooks is part of your practice. You’ve produced countless of them. How important is this step in your creative act?
JD: A photobook is a fundamental material for experimentation, being part of my learning and production cycle. A book gives me the possibility to create and focus ideas, where I can visualize the result or seek improvement with new references.
MM: Bois Brésil is an extensive work with historical references, but it also dialogues with the current global political-environmental-cultural scene. How did it start? What developments do you plan for this art project?
JD: My project Bois Brésil started back in 2007 in a proposal of work in class with Master Marcos Bonisson, where I produced a series of experiments using a small piece of Pau-Brasil. In fact, it was a false piece of Pau-Brasil, another kind of Brazilian wood called Muirapiranga with which I produced photos and the art video “Manifesto Antropófago by Oswald de Andrade”. Then I created a project called “Tanto Mar” where I approached the Atlantic relationship between Brazil and Europe. These works directly inspired the Pau-brasil project to which I deeply dedicated myself during the pandemic. The developments are taking place in a series of essays and artist books that are drafted to be produced.
MM: Your curiosity leads you to use various techniques, hybridity permeates your practice that goes through photography, engraving, objects and installation. Has it always been like that or is it due to your artistic maturity?
JD: I bring those handicrafts’ legacies from my father’s studio. Also, from the experiences I had at Parque Lage School of Visual Arts and the experiences I had at the Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro when I was young. I have always operated in the field of experimentation. However, artistic maturity is obtained when we manage to improve the adherence between the work and the concept.
Ricardo Fernandes Gallery opens the doors of the international Contemporary Art market to talented artists. It is a continuation of a work of more than twenty–five years which began with the inauguration of a first gallery in Brazil and gave birth to an international career during which Ricardo Fernandes was actively involved. attached to the promotion of its artists.
The gallery is part of a movement of Parisian contemporary art galleries, extremely dynamic and resolutely cosmopolitan, which assert with each exhibition their international and artistic values. The gallery offers contemporary art exhibitions related to the most diverse media (painting, sculpture, photography, installations …) and opens up to a wide variety of contemporary artistic expressions.
Through its constant support for international artists and its involvement in the development of a rapidly expanding international market, Ricardo Fernandes gallery participates in the diverse and cultural art interactions of the city of Paris.
First solo show from artist José Diniz in Paris: Bois Brésil (Brazilian Wood)
Márcia Mello and José Diniz
September 3, 2022 (from 2pm to 6pm)
From September 3 to October 31, 2022
Marché Dauphine (galerie 95)
132 – 140 rue des Rosiers
93400 Saint Ouen
Metro : M4 (Porte de Clignancourt station), M13 (Garibaldi station), et M14 (Mairie de Saint Ouen station)
Bus : 85 (Marché aux Puces station)
Parking : 142 rue des Rosiers 93400 Saint Ouen
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