March 4 — April 30, 2017
We are pleased to present Lais Myrrha’s (b. 1974, Belo Horizonte) first solo with the gallery. Myrrha is a São Paulo based conceptual artist who reconstructs narratives at the intersections of modernity, architecture, urbanization and the theater of politics. In large scale installations, conceptual and video work she investigates the abstract instruments of power and knowledge that construct our experience in the world from the place we occupy it.
At BROADWAY 1602 HARLEM , the full set of her 2016 series of collages Reparation of Damages will be exhibited for the first time. With this ongoing series, the artist explores the media’s incestuous relationship with the corrupt political and economic Brazilian elites as it culminated with the impeachment of elected president Dilma Rousseff (who has never been charged or found guilty of any crimes) at the end of April 2016. Using newspaper clippings of scenes of the impeachment process including press conferences, speeches by right-wing politicians and a panel of federal level judges who turned a blind eye and ratified the impeachment, Myrrha transforms the tired scenes of political spectacle into empty scenes.
The same way that now, in Brazil, the media circus has been creating an image of hope and even utopia through the many delations associated with high profile corruption investigations lead by the Supreme Court and enforced by the Federal Police, this collages bring to the foreground the monuments and scenarios of another time of hope, that of the construction and inauguration of Brasilia, a city designed by Modernist icons Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa. The euphoria of Brasilia’s inauguration, nevertheless, was soon followed by the repression and crude violence of the military dictatorship, which lasted for over 20 years. Therefore, it is not without irony or melancholy that the artist creates a parallel between then and present time, when Brazil is facing another, much more subtle and yet even more cruel, state coup.
By removing the characters from the political theater, as Rousseff is removed from the office to which she was appointed, Myrrha reveals what remains: the furniture in a conference room, the AK-47 of a police officer, a wilted Brazilian flag and country motto. Institutions and their power are as much abstract, a fictional historical creation, as they are real forces that mold people’s lives. Looking past its actors, the artifacts and mechanisms that support these systems remain, from abstract ideologies like national identity to the definition and conceptualization of space through architecture, which is one more face of the institutional power held over the population’s physical body, especially in the late Modernist dream that is Brasilia.
Myrrha has a Master in Fine Arts from the School of Fine Arts of UFMG, 2007, and graduated in fine arts course at the Escola Guignard, UEMG, 2001. She has been granted a number of prizes and awards, including the I Foreign Ministry – Itamaraty Contemporary Art Award, in 2011. She has exhibited extensively in Brazil and abroad, and amongst her most prominent shows was her participation at the 32nd Sao Paulo Biennial, Incerteza Viva (2016); her solo show “Gameleira 1971 Project” at Pivô Art Space, in Sao Paulo (2014); and her participation in the four-year project (2016-20) “New Cities, Future Ruins”, curated by Gavin Kroeber and launched in Dallas, Texas.
(Text by Caroline Carrion, March 2017)