Alfonso Artiaco gallery is pleased to announce the first solo show by the Brazilian artist Maria Thereza Alves (São Paulo, 1961), on Wednesday, 4th of July at 7.30 pm, the artist will be present.
Intrinsically rooted with her own daily life, Maria Thereza's artistic practice constantly intertwines with her life, becoming a mirror of her own gaze, profoundly feminist and always sensitive to the sociological dynamics that involve the human being and his interaction with the world that surround him. The artist presents here a body of works investigated with the most diversified media, from video art, to installation, passing through painting, works on paper and sculptures.
The exhibition opens with the serie of works on paper Unrejected Wild Flor. In these works the artist focuses on "weeds", which are considered not quite real plants and are therefore deliberately uprooted and tossed away – a gesture which hopes that they will never be part of what humans may define as the 'natural'. Alves covers these "weeds" in paint and through performative actions registers their being-ness on paper.
In the next room we find a series of sculptures entitled Venxen ke ve, sculptures that the artist did not sculpt but found instead in different places. These works dialogue with a couple of medium-sized photographs.
The exhibition continues with a second series of photographs called Urban Rituals, whose subject are dead birds that the artist immortalized during the last years in her travels around the world. Once again, Alves aim seems to be the raise, morally and aesthetically, of the idea of death, and at the same time the idea of life, of an otherwise unobserved living being. As an urban dweller with no communal rituals that would mark the death of these beings, Alves decided to create her own possibilities of remembering and honouring them.
In the adjacent room we find another sculpture, this time an iron one, entitled Through the Fields and into the Woods. A great meditative work on the ordinary flora of a European forest.
Walking through the gallery rooms we arrive at We Know Everything That Happens Over All the Generous Earth, a multi-media installation, homage to the founding myth of Naples but with a feminist twist. While acknowledging that the fear of the unknown resulted in men conflating the high-pitched sounds of Monk Seals to that of women's voices Alves questions the process of othering which must therefore result in marginalizing these mythic women into the vicious form of a hybrid: human/non-human. With this work, Alves instead chooses to concentrate on the excerpt of Homer which delights in these women's joy of knowledge.
Finally, in the last room, the homonymous work of this exhibition is the video shot along the coasts of Senegal, Time, Trade and Surplus Value.
Our gaze is captured by a pile of clothes floating in the sea that appear shaped as a human body. Abandoned clothes that become a metaphor of the bodies of the thousands of migrants who are increasingly dramatically crowded our costs, where they often lose their lives.
Next to the latter, stands on a pedestal Shaushka, a glass sculpture of an ancient Mediterranean deity of not only fertility but also of success in business and for protection and healing as well as providing illumination and transcendence. Thus Alves questions the paucity of the limitations of contemporary gendering.
As a consequence of massive earth changes, resulting from what some would refer to the Anthropocene beings - both animal and non-animal - that with the earth, are being used up and/or discarded. Maria Thereza Alves insists instead we must find ways to assure inclusivity and honour therefore the continued possibility of a mutuality of complex non- hierarchal relations.