WHAT IF at GDA / São Paulo

WHAT IF
Ana Raylander Mártis dos Anjos, Felipe Abdala, Kurru Bruno, Mayana Redin, Natalie Braido, and Wisrah C. V. da R. Celestino
organized by Maíra Dietrich

May 26 - July 8, 2023

GDA
Rua Barra Funda, 654
São Paulo, Brazil

Exhibition view
Exhibition view
Exhibition view
Exhibition view
Exhibition view
Wisrah C. V. da R. Celestino. ‘Chaves’ [‘Keys’], 2021. Score: A copy of each key of every door lock of the exhibition space to be displayed on a stainless steel keychain as specified by the artist.
Felipe Abdala. Untitled, from 'Layers of Combat' series, 2022/2023. Graphite on paper. 31 x 29 x 4 cm.
Felipe Abdala. Untitled, from 'Layers of Combat' series, 2022/2023. Graphite on paper. 54 x 69 x 4 cm.
Felipe Abdala. Untitled, from 'Layers of Combat' series, 2022/2023. Graphite on paper. 34 x 29 x 4 cm.
View of the following works: (on the left) Ana Raylander Mártis dos Anjos. ‘A promessa como procedimento artístico’ ['The promise as an artistic procedure'], 2020/2023. Mineral pigment print on paper, red permanent pen, graphite pencil and red frame. 60,5 x 43,5 x 4 cm; (on the right) Mayana Redin.  “Veja, ele passa diante de mim antes que eu perceba e se transforma antes que eu o note”. (Paisagem fria em três estágios) ["See, it passes before me before I realize it and transforms before I notice it." (Cold landscape in three stages)], 2022/2023. Rubber, plastic, iron, and ceramics. Approx. 250 x 250 x 170 cm.
Ana Raylander Mártis dos Anjos. ‘A promessa como procedimento artístico’ ['The promise as an artistic procedure'], 2020/2023. Mineral pigment print on paper, red permanent pen, graphite pencil and red frame. 60,5 x 43,5 x 4 cm.
Exhibition view
Exhibition view
Detail of Natalie Braido's work. ‘Pulso’ [‘Pulse’], 2023.Resonant transformer, thermal coil, motor and electrical source. Variable dimensions.
Detail of Natalie Braido's work. ‘Pulso’ [‘Pulse’], 2023.Resonant transformer, thermal coil, motor and electrical source. Variable dimensions.
Detail of Natalie Braido's work. ‘Pulso’ [‘Pulse’], 2023.Resonant transformer, thermal coil, motor and electrical source. Variable dimensions.
Exhibition view
Kurru Bruno. ‘interface/deslocamento [ato3]’ [‘interface/displacement [act3]’], 2023. video 40min, TV, asphalt, acrylic resin sculpture. Variable dimensions.

All images courtesy and copyright of the artists and gallery. Photos by Ana Pigosso.


‘WHAT IF’ is the first group exhibition presented by GDA. 


Organized by GDA member Maíra Dietrich, the exhibition proposes an essay on promises and possibilities as temporal speculations.


With the participation of the artists Ana Raylander Mártis dos Anjos, Felipe Abdala, Kurru Bruno, Mayana Redin, Natalie Braido and Wisrah C. V. da R. Celestino, the exhibition presents, in its majority, new works in languages such as video, drawing, installation, text, among others.


& - The promise as a shared temporal speculation.
Maíra Dietrich

The gesture of vocalizing a promise is inevitably a gesture of building the future. To build prophetic, somnolent or frantic lucubrations is somehow to prepare, architect and reflect upon a future time, another moment beyond this one. The speculation of this exhibition does not reach the stature of fiction nor prediction, here it configures itself as a spoken hypothesis, a hypothesis with a lower-case h since even though it is vocalized collectively, a promise always seems to come from an intimate forum.

Speculating is proto-promising, adding one ‘what if’ on top of another. And this gesture of queuing possibilities is, first and foremost, an invitation: unraveling the courage to imagine collectively, speculate, reflect, mark, fish for what’s to come. And on this route of intentional bifurcations, we can only hope that the asymmetry between the throwing and landing of a promise doesn’t stop us. Art, right?

Whether in the shape of love, vengeance, bluff or self-convincing, the vocalization of a promise pins an attitude that ties the present with what is to come, it creates an invisible and malleable line that operates on subtlety. As if it took off from a place that peels off cynicism, stagnancy and fatigue. There is a commitment, and even in silence it persists, on the latency of anticipation it bends, strains and stretches. There’s a price to pay, after all something was promised.

In dialogue with the artists of this exhibition, even though we discussed existing works, there was a recurrent desire to update the work, an intention of calibrating it to the collective occasion in question. Remake a piece, re-spatialize an original, specify the protocol, refilm what I have edited, cross out what I have said. This made me think that the art object is a promise by its very nature. The oeuvre exists, it solidifies itself, expands, unravels as a perpetual gesture; the work of art, which is nothing more than the physical-temporal manifestation of the oeuvre, is open, porous and editable, a promise in the form of an observable event, always under the influence of the present-future magnetic field.

The works in the exhibition are staccatos that entangle each other often for obvious — yet still surprising — reasons: a curve, an edge, a procedure, a graphic pattern, a temporal circularity. For each work I propose a line of interpretation, as an hexagram, as in the palm of a hand or as facial expressions, let’s tell our fortune, interpret intentions and serendipity on the graphic translations of each of these promises.

O - Circle of risk: chain of reciprocity.
Wisrah C. V. da R. Celestino’s work inhabits the ‘contract’ place of the exhibition, it symbolizes an agreement, a circle of trust that rests on the wall in three tempos, gate, door and alarm. A version of the notorious mi casa su casa, dressed in a formal austerity worthy of a conceptual contract, which, in a place called Galeria de Artistas, seems to seal the cycle of trust that edifies our practice. The temporality has a circular aspect in this agreement, the artist asks for the keys, we give the keys, the artist returns the keys to the exhibition space and the public witnesses this deal. Curtsying is bowing the head, bowing the head is demonstrating trust, demonstrating trust and allowing the other to get a part of what is yours; by getting a part you give away a part. Here, trust moves like a pendulum, gaining and giving ownership, pieces, hearts.

#- Vibrating overlap: convulse harmony.
Felipe Abdala’s three drawings sustain the diagonal corner of the exhibition. Because of its sharp quality? No, because of its readiness for vertigo. The drawings are made of the layering of erased drawings, and here erasing isn’t a means of correcting, nor remaking as a gesture of denying what has already been done. The layer of combat is the visualization of adjustment, where the graphite dust and the deterioration of paper attest that ‘new’, ‘original’, ‘first’, ‘definitive’ are exchangeable and occasional terms. The sketch does not operate under the logic of a final result. After all, in testing grounds, a fighter knows that the greatest performance happens during practice, on the everpresent quality of insistence.

︷ - Energy conversion: oracular fortuity.
With her graphic-electro-magnetic contraption, Natalie Braido’s work takes on the role of the exhibition’s oracle. Mounted as a front-and-back installation, the work happens in two perspectives: whoever sees the text coming, won’t see it being made, whoever sees the writing, won’t see its arrival. Sender and recipient do not see each other, do not overlap. There is hardly any time to think about it when the work happens though, the lightning on thermal paper oracle keeps on spitting out predictions, random-manual-electrical speculations, repeatedly producing a kind of graphic verbiage.

8 - Vow renewal: resting on page, the still vibrates.
Ana Raylander Mártis dos Anjos’s work is the heart of the exhibition, the work that first whispered the promise as a common theme. With her beautiful calligraphy, the artist acts as her own proofreader and commentator, reacting and scratching upon an essay written in 2020. It is beautiful to see this paradoxical page, previous words, fixated, rested on the surface, so compromised, and the words above pulling with arrows and gestural strength, re-summoning back to life what was put to rest, reconsidering and updating itself. When you face this piece, you have the privilege of witnessing the graphic renovation of a promise, a second phase that duplicates the strength of the previous promise. Witnessing the courage and disposition of one who unwraps herself as a gift.

J - Projection vector: bloom drawings.
Mayana Redin’s work rests in the center of the exhibition space, this landscape, paradisiacal and cold, drives the eyes up and down, following its graphic outline. Skilling the filled and voided spaces of sculptural proposition, the artist speaks through a graphic volume. The work, simultaneously voluminous and hollow, sketches a movement, blooms, suspends, interrupts or dulls itself, sometimes bending to peek once again. The line ascends and descends sonorously and seems to respect a kind of gravitational temporality, not necessarily familiar to this solar system. Even with such an enigmatic spatial presence, the work is able to guide whoever sees it in a flux of material forces: follow me and we’ll examine the inconsistency of soft iron, the mannerisms of living ceramics, the bonds of sonic rubber and the incessant movements of propulsive force.

∗ - Expansive potency: rhizomatic gesture
Kurru Bruno’s installation condenses the editable characteristic of his artistic praxis, a generative quality that spreads itself formally in the space. The work consists of asphalt fragments and a resin replica of the artist’s feet. Walking, editing, recombining. In the video, we see a kind of search expedition, where simultaneously the eyes see, cognition elaborates and the ether between one thing and the other ferments the outcome. A video in a reverse perspective, suddenly the screen becomes the skylight and we’re under his feet, watching the image in a kind of meta-mirror. Above, below or inside, the perspective is always inviting us to join the continuous movement, on the circularity of searching, on the psychedelia of visual delight.