Mechanical

Marcelo Amorim

25/Feb/2016 – 26/Mar/2016

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  • Press Release
  • Press Release

    Maquinal (‘Mechanical’):
    A gesture or an instinctive behavior performed by an unconscious habit or one without apparent reflection.


    Marcelo Amorim has been building a singular path for years, revealing, through the appropriation of images found in books, on the internet, on file or in old photographs, hidden meanings of the culture of our time. In Maquinal (‘Mechanical’), Amorim deals with a key issue: the fact that we live immersed in a world of images which have a decisive influence on the way we think and behave towards reality.


    We consume images all the time: in newspapers, on television, on the internet, on mobile phones. What we see in a world dominated by images – as Flusser had already warned us - is not the world itself, but certain concepts concerning the world, impregnated in the media structure.


    Marcelo Amorim is a world image collector. He retains their seemingly innocent fragments which reveal, discreetly - but no less strikingly - the power of images in programming our lives.


    We are increasingly becoming operators of machines, pushers of buttons, users of interfaces. We deal with programmed situations without realizing it. We think we can choose and, as a result, we imagine ourselves as inventive and free. But our freedom and ability to invent are restricted to a software, to a set of possibilities given a priori, and over which we do not have full control.


    Mechanical is divided into three vectors which interact with each other. In the first, we find a series of oil paintings based on the images of colorful covers of an American magazine called Popular Mechanics. Aimed at the male audience and with the typical aesthetics of the postwar years, the publication reveals mechanical secrets, inciting in men the ability to repair machines and equipment of all kinds. Through collages, the artist superimposes images and characters. He amplifies the dimensions of the covers, displacing them from their original context. He deliberately confuses and distorts scales, intensifies color ranges, and gives his paintings an almost surreal character. The machine often oscillates to the condition of a toy; the car becomes a miniature model, the soldier becomes an action figure to play with.


    The stereotype of the successful man echoes in another file of this large library assembled by Amorim: six home videos performed in Super 8, probably from a similar time of the images that permeate the paintings. The films show the new car, the house, the big fish the man has caught, the hare he has hunted, the perfect jump he did, and finally, the baby; the son that seems to crown this whole script of achievements by this imaginary successful man.


    In the last vector we find photographs collected from the Internet of men in the army. Often naked and placed in a row, as if in an assembly line, bringing to light the idea that permeates the entire exhibition: the intrinsic relationship between man and machine.


    But perhaps it is precisely in this part of the exhibition where Amorim’s delicate gesture is more evident. The black and white tone of an environment apparently devoid of subjectivity launches us into a dubious terrain, wherein the information of stereotypes standardization becomes, simultaneously, a message of affection. Very different from the heroic soldier image, here men are most often vulnerable, fragile and in moments of distraction. And perhaps it is precisely here that we find a small breath of relief where life still seems to make sense.


    These are the images and gestures that Maquinal (‘Mechanical’) makes us reflect upon. If we live in the totalitarianism of devices and advertising images, it is still possible to glimpse, through works such as this by Marcelo Amorim, a small gap of meaning and reflection on the possibilities of creation and freedom, in an increasingly programmed society dominated by technical images.


     


    Priscila Arantes, curator

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