What appears false is poetry

Daniel Santiago

What appears false is poetry

Daniel Santiago

  • Period
  • 13.07 — 01.09.2015

  • Opening
  • 13.07 — 6PM

  • Curated by
  • Cristiana Tejo
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • E-mail
  • WhatsApp

What appears false is poetry

 

            There is still much to study and revise in the field of Brazilian art, especially as regards non-resident artists in the country’s major centers. This means not only affording visibility to names and works, but understanding the different contexts, dynamics, accents and ways of doing art. Every artist is a singularity and a multitude,a constellation. An artist is sometimes a multitude, a plurality, due to the various vectors of action and thought. It’s important to establish this when we contemplate the work of DanielSantiago, primarily in view of the open and fluid way in which he shifts between languages and questions and his manner of conceiving art.There is a uniqueness, an unpretentiousness in his attitude toward art, something once described by RioGrande do Sul artist and Santiago’s former studentMaria Helena Bernardes as “an art that didn’t even look like art, perhaps without being so”, that can disconcert the most “trained” eyes and most conceptually-guided minds.

            Despite being very well-known in the art circles of Recife and the experimental art scene in Brazil, Daniel Santiago still seems to be an ethereal figure. He is at times recognized as a street performance artist, and at other as a Postal Art artist or member of the Equipe Bruscky & Santiago. Indeed, his is all this, but not only this. Perhaps the reason behind the superficial misgivings or even his invisibility in the history of contemporary art in Brazil is a lack of studies,publications and shows that convey the well-established criteria and narratives that orbit the usual suspects and artistic events of the Rio – São Paulo hub.  I would go so far to say that the very dynamics of Daniel Santiago’s work,prioritizing action and experience and detached from registrations and the desire for fetishizing, are major obstacles to his interpretation at the frantic pace of consumption at which the art world functions these days. When I began researching his work together with the English curator Zannah Gilbert (in 2012), they were spread about all over his house in plastic bags. This is an important fact for understanding that he has always been committed to doing art and not only to the spheres of legitimation and reputation. And art as life, an artistic existence inserted in the everyday world.

            Despite this being Santiago’s first solo exhibition in São Paulo, due to limits on space it will not be possible to present a panoramic view featuring all the elements of his 50 years plus of multidimensional oeuvre. Therefore, this exhibition seeks to highlight one of the most striking branches of his art: his approach to the questions of poetry/Poiesis and to the artifice.The title of the exhibition O que parece mentira é poesia (What appears false is poetry) was taken from the video O Plasma no interior da Magnetosfera (2009), one of his most recent works and part of a series of videos produced with a webcam and low-tech resources and published onYouTube.The choice underlines not only the gift of fictionalizing worlds and inventing situations, a way of experiencing freedom, but also that of expanding and crossing languages and fields, such as literature, theater and performance. In many of the works presented Daniel Santiago seems to speak directly to Fernando Pessoa, for whom the poet is a pretender.Santiago’s artistic psychographs are related not only to the Portuguese poet’s Auto psicografia, but to the very attempt to transfer his thinking to the other. Unlike Pessoa, who created fictional authors and vested them with facets of his own personality, Daniel Santiago makes use of artifices from the psychograph, of the lethargy and incarnation of Augusto dos Anjos (irrational stages but that go through the artist’s body as the vehicle of communication) to define performance. The “residue” of the actions is the written text, a far from usual documentation in performance. Let us not forget that we are in the territory of invention here.

            To Santiago poetry is ambivalent content that encompasses irony and humor as well as abandonment and fragility.We might also think of his practice like a kind of participative poetry,in which the poem is an invitation to dialog and interaction with the other and with the city, such as in the poems published in the classifieds section of theJornal do Comércio (PE) on 16 July 1977. In one of them, the artist published: “Anyone interested that late one rainy night I sat watching the heavy raindrops through the kitchen window...”. This out-of-place message in the context of the classified ads page intrigued readers and 15 people responded to this invitation to start a dialog. In Ru-ao-objeto, the invitation is to takeNavegantes street, in Boa Viagem, Recife, as an object of art. On a postcard the artist passes on advice so that anyone in the city can "perform" this work and enjoy a poetic experience of Recife. In the final part of the recommendations he says: “you must walk down the street and feel no pain, or fatigue, or hunger, or fear, or tight footwear. Yearning, yes.” For the artist, to experience the world and see the poetry of the quotidian requires an absence of deprivation or physical suffering, but supports the soul’s suffering. It is a work in which one needs no record or witness, but is fulfilled in the experience, in which it is perpetuated. The deceiving simplicity of his artistic proposals seems to be a way of holding our hands and making us enter a state of permanent invention, in which we are not sure of what is true, only what is art.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • E-mail
  • WhatsApp