minimum monument: art as emergency
25.05.2019 | 28.08.2019
23.11.2019 | 16.02.2020
by Priscila Arantes,
Néle Azevedo has developed a unique work since 2005. Over an act that lasts no longer than 20 minutes, hundreds of ice sculptures melt on the stairways of public places. Small puddles of water are left, and their evaporated traces are in the memory of those who have witnessed it. The remembrances of the work are still inscribed in the images that, besides being mere records, are testimonial images, material traces of the passage of time.
Minimum Monument reverses the canons of what we traditionally mean by monument. Instead of dealing with the solidity of the stones of large buildings and with the spaces of power, the project incorporates the ephemeral process of ice melting, poetically demonstrating the minimal scale of perishable bodies: small ice sculptures of men and ordinary people, which, as a kind of lament, dilute before a world that seems to have been broken. It is in this sense that of Néle Azevedo’s work can be seen as an anti-monument: not only for navigating against the official monument, but for shedding light on the traumatic moments of our history.
It would be a mistake, however, to reduce the Minimum Monument to the set of ice sculptures that constitute it. The project incorporates not only all the mobilization so that it can happen in public space, but also the process of creation of the work that often absorbs a great number of people, whether the volunteers who give shape to the sculptures or those who are invited to distribute them all over the exhibition site. The work, in this sense, becomes a collective construction and this collectivity, this power of being together, this feeling of belonging, is what seems to draw people’s attention. We are then, actors of our history.
Presented in countries such as Brazil, France, Italy, Germany, Norway and England, Minimum Monument is generally integrated in extreme contexts: protests, discussions on climate change and homages to dead men and women in extreme situations. "Art as an Emergency," as the philosopher Santiago Zabala points out.
Expanding the dialogue with initiatives that are endowed with the same spirit of reflection and resistance, the exhibition also presents excerpts from the project "Resistant Memories, Resident Memories", a publishing work by the Municipal Secretariat for Human Rights and Citizenship of the City of São Paulo, based on research developed by Memorial of the Resistance of São Paulo.
With the conception and direction of art by Luis Felipe Abbud, the publication is dedicated to presenting places of memory, monuments located in the city of São Paulo that carry the history of resistance and repression of the state systematized throughout the Brazilian civil-military dictatorship (1964 -85).
In this exhibition we present the monuments located in the neighborhood of Bom Retiro, in the vicinity of the Cultural Office Oswald de Andrade; different 'Monuments' which, like Minimum Monument, carry a significant part of the often traumatic stories that form part of our country.