A single screening event which introduces the work of Mariana Silva is previewed at the Whitechapel on Thurs. 10 January. It brings together a 30 minute-long HD video and the diffusion of a historical perfume, allowing for both a visual and olfactory experience.
In the video, the camera pans through several views of the Louvre and more specifically, through its collections of Egyptian, classic, medieval and baroque statuary. The vistas are collected from a book of prints which depicts in three-dimensions (3D) the spaces of the museum’s collections. Parfum à la Guillotine is a recreation of the perfume devised to counteract a decrease in perfume sales caused by the French Revolution. Evoking the short-lived sixties’ experiences of smell-o- vision, in which scents were released during the projection of a film, the artist intends to superimpose the oddity of a perfume created in the image of the guillotine to the unsettling touristic prints of the Louvre, tainted by the blue and red reminiscent of the first experiments with 3D technology. This event thus develops as a sort of mise-en-abîme of references to the revolutionary iconoclasm that founded the first museum in a royal palace and invented for itself the symbol of pillage in name of a visual history that the museum would then establish, crystalize and return to all democratic people.
Mariana Silva is also having an exhibition at the Mews Project Space, where the artist explores her interest in the idea of the ‘public’. The significance of this concept in Silva’s work emerges from its vagueness. It is connected with the idea of citizenship, for example through the expression ‘public space’, and with questions revolving around the viewer/spectator, therefore incorporating different meanings and ideals. In P/p these issues are developed in three new commissions: a video piece, a text work and a publication. The four prints that comprise the publication combine images taken from the same catalogue as those used in Une affaire de creux et de bosses with the writings of Flávio de Carvalho, published here for the first time in English. The set expands the reflection of Une affaire(…) drawing a dialogue between the public/citizenship dialectic and fashion, a critical and historical contextualization of subjects such as footwear or makeup. These kind of associations are prolonged in the video (NAME) in which the artist uses de Carvalho’s reading of fashion as a form of sublimation to analyze jewelry, specifically a type of bracelet named Slave (Escrava in Portuguese). The text piece (NAME) explores the friction between public and people, providing an entry point for and encapsulating the overarching discourse of the show. P/p continues Silva’s reflection on the idea of public, expanding her analysis of the body and the stage through the incorporation of topics related to appearance, style and consumerism.
11th January – 9th February | Saturdays 12 – 6pm or by appointment curated by João Laia Thursday 10th of January 7pm screening at Whitechapel Gallery followed by opening at the Mews Project Space