Dates: 28/09 – 25/11/2018
Curation: Luiza Mello
Location: Jacaranda – Galeria Aymoré
Barrão – Mufa Caos
Mufa Caos [Mufa Chaos] presents an overview of the works produced by Barrão in the last three years. Multicolored sculptures in ceramic, monochromatic pieces in resin, a series of watercolors, and sculptural objects were gathered for the first time to show the complexity and the subtleties of his artistic practice that began in the 1980s. Mufa Caos is chaotic thought and organization, technique and improvisation; it is irony and seriousness, brain and heart – it’s you and I in Barrão’s fantastic universe.
There is no hierarchical or chronological logic in the construction of the works featured here. Not even in relation to the elements that compose them: a ceramic cockroach purchased from a street vendor is no less outstanding than the piece bought in an antique shop; a wise man does not appear more enlightened than a piece of cardboard; glass is no more valuable than resin. Even the moment at which each piece of a determined series was produced is indistinguishable.
In his studio, hierarchy is also dissolved in the time of simultaneity: while waiting for the ceramic pieces with a slower construction to dry, the artist works on the watercolors. During the preparation of the molding of a piece in resin, he investigates the materials that can form a new sculpture. They are constant, experimental exercises that follow a method that is simultaneously rigorous and subversive. In an apparent paradox, Barrão’s art is constructed in mufa chaos style – noting that one of the various meanings of the word mufa is “head,” as a place of intellect.
The procedures reverberate in each of the series presented here.
The ceramic sculptures are collages of fragments of selected objects carefully organized in the studio by color, size, typology and function. Decorative elements like dogs and frogs appear alongside functional objects like jars and cups in surprising combinations. Sometimes it is possible to plan or foresee the final result of a piece, but it is in the procedure of the construction itself that they take form. It is through intuition that the objects are recognized by sensitive experience, able to capture their poetic fluidity – the fundamental element for subverting the methodicalness of their organization. And, thus, everything appears balanced, fragile and unstable at the same time.
In his following series, the monochromicity of white predominates. Moving away from plaster, Barrão makes pieces in molded resin, a material that allowed for the development of new sculptural operations related to space, volume and scale. It was thus possible to serialize the objects and use them more than once in the compositions. The fragments gave way to entire pieces that are combined, grouped and stacked in uncommon structures which often seem to be on the verge of breaking apart.
For their part, the watercolors have always been present in his production. Some of them look like notations and designs for sculptures, others are independent drawings, free of any planning. Ligados [Linked] is a series of 14 watercolors made using blue ink and rubber stamps in different animal shapes. In them, the animals are joined by lines passing through their mouths, feet and other body parts, giving the impression that they are communicating and connecting with one another through these lines of color, just as the epoxy resin joins the fragments in the ceramic sculptures. This communication, however, is perturbed by the chaotic ink blobs that merge them, transforming them into another image.
Like a taxonomist of objects, Barrão organizes his studio like a large cabinet of curiosities, where a myriad of objects, molds and tools coexist in harmony, each one in its proper place. It is curious that, in the opposite direction, he feels attracted to gathering these materials freely, almost like notes, brief indications of thought. The sculptural objects shown here on a large shelf are experiments that the artist made by joining distinct elements without any aim of their being a finished work, even though in some cases they are. The titles are born together with the artworks, complementing and multiplying their meaning. In Metal Guru a Chinese wise man with a chrome tube instead of a head is perched atop an upside-down wine glass, levitating. Metal Guru is also the name of a song by British rocker Marc Bolan and his band T.Rex. Music is a further element in the multiple layers that compose the artist’s works.
Barrão is a visual poet who gathers objects, materials and forms, stripping them of their original meanings and functions to generate new, unforeseen images. He creates a universe all his own that ironically reflects the world in which we live. His work makes us think about ourselves, fragmented beings in a world full of references. We recognize ourselves in the small memories that these objects represent and, at the same time, we are surprised about the uncommon way they are presented. Mufa Caos is confusion and deviation, showing us that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.