NELSON LEIRNER/MADE IN BRAZIL -
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"Right you are…If you think you are"
Gallery Gabrielle Maubrie presents for the first time in France Nelson Leiner’s works, "Assim é…se lhe parece" ("right you are…If you think you are"). The show opens on september 12, 2003 with unedited works conveying bold criticism to world politics. This series on which Nelson Leirner has been working since mid 2002 seems to be making quite a timely appearance. The exhibition title-borrowed from the playwrite Luigi Pirandello-advocates irony above any sort of cartography. "Right you are…If you think you are" comprises a number of "maps with spectator," a series in which spectator engagement represents a contribution to the artist’s mapping endeavor.
In his map remaking, Leirner appropriated maps which he vehemently interfered through by introducing imagery taken from popular culture. On his maps, the artist pasted stickers alluding to the world’s current political situation and its consequences. Some of the stickers feature Walt Disney cartoon characters ; others feature skull and crossbones, the U.S. national flag, and other equally popular images.
The political issue that Nelson Leirner has been addressing in different ways since the 1960’s is particularly evinced in these works.
Extrait du texte de Agnaldo Farias pour la biennale de Venise, 1999
HEAVY COMBAT (1985). A silent motionless multitude. True, it doesn’t have the formless and anonymous features typical of a crowd. On the contrary, the surprising thing is the irreducible identity of each member, contributing to the absolute heterogeneity of the whole.
More than 600 objects-an avalanche of almost 600 representatives of our intimate archetypal bestiary, myriad incarnations, great and small bordering on the microscopic,from our most candid and sordid desires, fragmentary materializations-perhaps decadent-of that which we judge to belong to the invisible world, the sphere of fantasy with which we feed our imagination, or even the divinity, in either of these cases with which we are infused-or-because it is a fact that we go along skeptical and filled with dejection-terror or hope.
It is the artist who affectionately rescues them from limbo where our indifference has deposited them, to put them side by side without establishing a hierarchy among them, without distinction among religious myths, pagan myths, childhood fantasies, beings from the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms, all legitimate representations of ourselves.
The artist respects the plastic power of religious fetishes, of the rich statuary produced by the many religious pratices in his country, obviously considering that one cannot unhinge them from the fact that they function as a kind of portal to the invisible : that, for many of us, their adoration signifies the real possibility of pacifying the gods and the forgiveness of our sins.
Nelson Leirner not only underlines the equivalences among all this imagery, but amplifies it, uniting it with the imagery linked to other sectors of our culture.
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