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Performance. Rehearsal for Sphinx
Exhibition Obscura Luz - 
Curated by Kiki Mazzucchelli

Galeria Luisa Strina 
São Paulo, Brazil

Ceramics and steel


@ Edouard Fraipont



Perhaps everything in the universe is perishable. Perhaps the universe is perishable. Maybe it's all durations. And God, is just the longest of them. I don't know.

What I do know is that the perishable is very different from the disposable. The perishable is a metaphysical condition that can be overcome by accepting the hypothesis that the universe is finite. Disposability, on the other hand, is an economic-consumer practice founded on the illusion of infinity.

I think this is, indeed, an issue that deserves reflection for every artist, because it focuses on the nature, spirit and appearance of their product.

Perishability is knowing that we are going to die. Disposability is committing suicide because of it.

Not to be or not to be, that is the question.

Cildo Meireles, on the work Obscura Luz


Obscura Luz (1982) consists of a white box installed on the wall, with a side flap over which the shadow of a lamp is projected. In this singular work, Cildo Meireles creates a paradoxical situation, inverting the logic of perception by presenting a source of light that is also a shadow. The homonymous exhibition that will take place at Galeria Luisa Strina from July 16th takes this work by Cildo as a starting point to bring together a set of works by artists from different generations, represented by the gallery or guests, who deal with physical or symbolic aspects of light and shadow.

Essential phenomena of human perception and experience, light and shadow also cross art in its various manifestations over the centuries. In the western imagination, light is traditionally associated with reason - since the myth of Prometheus, who gave fire to humanity against the will of the gods, or the Enlightenment (Age of Reason) - and, at the same time, with the divine - particularly in pictorial symbolism in which divine beings are invariably represented as beings emanating light. The shadow, on the other hand, would represent, according to this same imaginary, the negative of light: the unknown, the irrational and, ultimately, death.​

​Although the dichotomous aspect of the symbolism of light and shadow is strongly rooted in the western imagination, the work Obscura Luz is understood in this exhibition as an opening to new possibilities and interpretations of these phenomena. The exhibition starts from a present in which the belief in a certain version of what western reason and the idea of ​​progress would consist of has led to the recent emergence of far-right ideologies in different parts of the world and to an environmental crisis that is about to become irreversible, thus evidencing the limitations of what would be the definition of the “universal subject” with access to rights guaranteed by law.

The exhibition Obscura Luz, therefore, starts from the idea of ​​“perishability” presented by Cildo Meireles to bring a set of works that are not subject to a univocal thematic approach. On the contrary, each of the works that make up the show is part of an individual artistic universe, resulting from extremely different practices that converge here as possible answers to the question: Not to be or not to be?


Kiki Mazzuchelli

Participating Artists: Alexandre da Cunha, Anna Maria Maiolino, Bruno Baptistelli, Carole Gibbons, Camila Sposati, Carolina Cordeiro, Cildo Meireles, Cinthia Marcelle and Thiago Mata Machado, Clarissa Tossin, enorê, Fernanda Gomes, Flávia Vieira, Frederico Filippi, Gerty Saruê, Gilson Plano, Guilherme Ginane, Janina McQuoid, Jarbas Lopes, Ingeborg de Beausacq, Laura Lima, Leonilson, Lia D Castro, Lucas Arruda, Luis Paulo Baravelli, Luisa Lambri, Lygia Pape, Magdalena Jitrik, Marcius Galan, Marepe, Pablo Accinelli, Pedro Reyes, Sarah Lucas, Tonico Lemos Auad, Tracey Moffatt and Tunga.

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