Though the hegemonic narratives about Brazil might coincide with a festive imagery of progress, there is an urgent untold story that needs to be taken as object of reflection. Simultaneously to what appears to be a story of modernization and development, there is an obscure hidden History of systematic and administrated violence perpetrated by the State. From the colonial slaughtering of indigenous people and slavery, through the tortures and disappearances in the military dictatorship, to the current democracy of massacres, the elimination of certain populations was always articulated with a desire of erasure of these very same events.
An exemplary fact happened in 1979 when the Lei de Anistia (Amnesty Law) - promoted by the military government itself - imposed forgetfulness to the crimes of torture conducted by State’s agents and also, at the same time, to the opponents of the dictatorship, making no differentiation between their actions.By making no distinction and forcing collective forgetfulness, what this Law really did was to impose a false social “reconciliation” interdicting society to elaborate its past or constitute its own narratives about the events that had happened.So, the violence of the regime that was, at first, given through the act of killing, torturing and disappearing people, after 1979, was transformed into an administrated agency of erasing memories, conducted by the Sate. Like a double murder, the physical elimination was combined with the, much more brutal, violence of the symbolic elimination. As in Sofocles’ tragedy of Antigone - where she fights to burry her brothers’ body, confronting the interdiction made by king Creonte - the State kills for the second time those who were already physically dead. By kidnapping the right of mourning, the State interdicts to welcome the dead in the memory of the living through funeral rites or any symbolically ritual hold collectively. As if would not be enough to physically kill, it was necessary to erase the traces of existence and prevent those who are capable to carry the memory of the victims to elaborate anything.
But as there is no imposed forgetfulness without symptom, the denial of History, beyond interdicting the act of remember, has condemned us to the repetition of the same practices in the present.In other words, the military dictatorship remains in our juridical, political and institutional structure, in our daily violence and in our social traumas. The irresolute problems of the present are rooted in a systematic denial of the past that remains untold, unsolved, and therefore present. So the urgency is double: first, to review what happened historically and investigate, clarify, judge, repair the victims as well as assume the responsibility to prevent the repetition of such practices.
Line is a series of prints that intend to think the line beyond its pure formal and geometrical conceptions. The work tries to investigate the line as a political construction that condensates and materializes structures of power and domination, revealing thus, as a product of social and economical relations. Passing through great moments of Brazil’s history, since Latin America’s division between the Portuguese and the Spanish during the colonization, until the Transamazonic construction in the military period, the work uses the structure of the line to think the political reorganization of the national territory.
Serigrafia sobre papel
Linha é uma série de gravuras que busca pensar a linha para além de suas concepções puramente formais e geométricas. O trabalho procura investigar a linha como construção política que condensa e concretiza estruturas de poder e dominação, revelando-se, portanto, como produto de relações sociais e econômicas. Passando pelos grandes momentos da história do país, desde a divisão da América do Sul entre os Portugueses e Espanhóis no período da colonização, até a construção da Transamazônica durante a ditadura militar, o trabalho se vale da estrutura da linha para pensar reorganização política do território nacional.
In May 2006 more than 600 people were killed by death squads of the Military Police in Brazil. Being this event one of the biggest massacres in contemporary brazilian History, Mothers is a video that seeks to reflect on one of these many untold stories that are overshadowed by the mainstream narrative of progress and development frequently associated with the country. From the colonial period, passing through the military government and the current democracy, there is a structural violence that is foundational in Brazil, constituting what some scholars call a permanent State of Exception. Investigating the effects of institutional violence in Brazil, specially this conducted by the State, the video was made during the therapeutic sessions with a group of women that lost their child due police action. The split-screen audiovisual research, that was possible to produce through a collaborative relationship, puts the viewer in a central position in relation to the subjects of a therapeutic circle, founded in trauma and loss. The constructed narrative, however, refuses the reductive and simplified role of victimhood and evidences agency of these women.
In 1959 Brazil´s capital city, Brasília, was being constructed. The city would be the symbol of modernization and development of the country. Despite its utopian horizons, a massacre happened during the construction of the city, in which more than 100 workers were killed by the State police after a strike.
The work is a simetric square on the ground made with urine. Using her own urine, the artist draw this geometrical abstract form on the ground demarcating the gallery territory. “Territorial Pissings" problematizes the arbitrary notions of line, borders, boundaries as well as power and control based on these conceptions.
Ana Paula Cohen: What is your interest in instigate violence or violation of a Law (‘Steal’) inside the space of the museum? Do you think about the context in which your works are going to be present, and the different results that you can have, depending on the public of each place?
Ianni: First, I think that the idea of violence has to be looked in perspective. Especially nowadays, in a society that has institutionalized the use of violence to defend values such as ‘peace’, ‘democracy’, and so, the notion of violence cannot be understood as an absolute. But, returning to your question, if we admit the idea of violence as the violation of a law, can we classify the work as an ‘incitation of violence’ once the museum, as institution, have agreed to show the work and, with it, institutionalized the ‘steal’ as a legitimate practice? The ‘violation’ resides in the work and its enunciate, or in the choice, made by the museum, to present it, even if against its own rules?
From my view point, the museum, as well as the enunciate of the work, both assume a cynical role, once the law is disobey by the institution itself, and the enunciate ‘steal this piece’, when legitimized by the museum, is no longer the act of steal. Through this discordance in between the declared principles and its practice, and the legitimization of this distance, I searched operate in this incompatibility, once the semantic comprehension of the enunciate ‘steal this piece’, in that case, does not means, necessarily, knows how effectively is presented in reality. In that sense, also the public is placed in a situation of discordance in between knowledge and reality, once it’s encouraged to do one thing and, at the same time, they have the false representation of it. If we return to your question, I believe that the work itself is not a posture of direct immorality, but on the contrary, the utilization of the moral itself (once its exhibition was negotiated and consent by both parts) putted to serve immorality.
(from the interview with Ana Paula Cohen to the Museu da Pampulha Catalogue)
Natureza Morta ou estudo para Ponto-de-fuga (Still Life or Study for Vanishing Point)
steel with bullet holes: 35mm, 38 super, 40mm, 22mm, festim 4.5, calibre 12.42, 12SG, calibre 12.50AE 2011 1,6m X 2,5m
Ana Paula Cohen: What was you looking for when you shoot with different calibers guns in this metallic surface, and what is the direct relation of this act, which its memory appear in the work, and its reference to Painting (‘Natureza Morta’/still life) and to the drawing (Vanishing Point), both presented in the title?
Ianni: I searched to use in the work guns with different calibers used by the Police in Brazil, in order to create this formal remain that also have its meanings in the sphere of the social practice. The combination of the symbolic meaning of the shots, of its formal characteristics (that in a certain level is a reference to minimalism and the geometric abstraction), and the appropriation of institutionalized terms from the Art History in the title, I wanted to crate a conflict in between a strict formalist reading of the work and its possible critical and political dimension. I searched to occupy the form, using the vocabulary of minimalism and abstraction, commonly understood as formalistic, with a discursive dimension, subverting
its immediate reading. What concerns the Painting, I thought about the geometric perspective, that was paradigmatic since its appearance in the XVI Century. The title, the dimensions of the rectangles, as well as the arrangement them in the ‘grid’ form, are a reference to this geometric perspective tradition in Painting. The idea of the ‘grid’, in which this form of perspective have developed, is a mathematical abstract construction and, commonly, uses a lot of simplifications and restrictions of what the human perception can catch. If we admit that the construction of perspective as way of subordinate the world to the vision of the Man e to able to manage what the human eyes can’t see, thought the Vanishing Point, the semantic comprehension of ‘Natureza Morta’, gain an ironic meaning. In that sense, if we assume, then, the perspective as a relation of power in between the subject and its surrounding, the shot are, in that case, a step further of this same authoritarian gesture of power, that submits everything that escapes from the normative narrative.
(from the interview with Ana Paula Cohen to the Museu da Pampulha Catalogue)