“Body of Proof (Corpa de Prova)”
Sesc Bom Retiro, São Paulo
March 23 – June 25
Curated by Júlia Rebouças
Lais Myrrha, five-time nominee for the PIPA prize, has a solo exhibition — “Body of Proof” — at SESC Bom Retiro in São Paulo. “Body of Proof” includes an installation of the same name, along with seventeen photographs from the series “Brief Chronography of Dismantlements (Breve Cronografia dos Desmanches)”, composed of portraits of demolished buildings. For the exhibition, Myrrha explores the aspects of impermanence which undergird the obdurate and imposing significations of architecture within the context of São Paulo’s rapidly evolving and seemingly transient social landscape. Emphasizing the various ways in which the mechanisms of power–be they technological, financial, political or ideological–seem to permit economic, cultural and ideological expansion, “Body of Proof” at once suggests how these aspects of Modernity facilitate social progress, while at the same time explicating the harsh realities of economic violence, political corruption, and socio-cultural degradation which precede it, illustrating the various modes of deconstruction through which this progress occurs.
Myrrha’s work often endeavors to destabilize the material, political and ideological conventions that delineate the boundaries of social, personal and political life–and the exhibition highlights this deconstructive process in effect. For her installation “Body of Proof”, for which a watercolor print of an unstable looking structure made of irregularly stacked cylindrical objects is juxtaposed against a scattered arrangement of sometimes overlapping and disparate cylindrical concrete bars, Myrrha engages the viewer to recognize both the instability of our perceptions and the latent instability of structure itself. Further, Myrrha suggests that it is the instability of our perceptions which makes material objects and structures liable to instability, deconstruction and perceptive distortion.
The entirety of “Body of Proof” is concerned primarily with the dichotomy between stability and instability, and how the tension within this dichotomy can sponsor a more nuanced, and often uneasy reconciliation of our engagement with both the built and natural environment, as this relationship evolves in both time and space. In laying bare and addressing the viewer’s insecurities with their perception of material and space, Myrrha asks us to consider what aspects of our social reality are taken for granted, and to develop new ways of conceptualizing social progress and our participation within it. As curator Júlia Rebouças says of the exhibition, “Lais Myrrha has been working, from the beginning of her artistic career, with the subtle and powerful strategy of denaturalizing conventions and standards that keep us away from sensitive contact with the world, questioning the measures of time and space,” and it is through this process of denaturalization that our perception and engagement of the world can made anew, with deeply moving and chilling effects.