Zip'Up: Pedras errantes: Manuela CostaLima

28 April - 30 May 2015

Using multiple media, Manuela CostaLima has been developing a research about the place and its signification process through the human experience. In a series of recent works, the artist performs meanderings throughout the city of São Paulo in search of elements that share her experience in the urban space. In other works, she explores an offshoot of this act of wandering and transposes her roaming to the virtual environment. The real city, previously traveled on foot and photographed, gives way to the city mapped by Google Street View.


In these actions, the artist seeks to investigates the meaning of the place, while also questioning and bringing new meaning to the virtual environment, which at first sight appears to be cold and devoid of life and memory.


The three projects conceived for this exhibition start from the gallery site and regard the act of walking as an instrument of giving meaning to spaces and of searching for situations that mark her experience. 


Right at the entrance of the Zipper Gallery, the artist imposes the presence of Gabião, a sculptural object of large proportions. From a metal cage filled with crushed rocks, a larger stone stands out, breaching the metal frame and escaping the grillage. Viewed from the window of the exhibition room, the sculpture creates a bridge between what is present in the internal space of the gallery and its theme: the city.


Gabião refers to an experiment in the public space, and its constituent elements, stone and metal, relate directly to the materiality of the streets and its brutal simplicity. The work creates a sort of barrier for the public and refers to a tension between individual and crowd which materializes in the dynamics of the stones pressing against each other and breaching through the screen.


The element of concrete reappears in the exhibition space. In the piece Wandering rocks, the city voices inhabit concrete cubes spread around the exhibition space. In each of the cubes are found engraved the geographical coordinates of the start and the end points of the routes completed in São Paulo, in which the artist captures sounds and voices. The records of these chance encounters highlight locales of the urban environment which acquire memory, distinguishing it from the others. As a whole, the installation forms a large stream of consciousness of a polyphonic city, an audible and geographical mapping, which invites the public to go through the urban space starting from these multiple stimuli.


The sound that echoes from the boxes and fills the room is not an accurate record of each route, but a reconstruction from the elements that mark the artist's subjective memory. In the environment remains the essence of an experience of public space. 


This space is also explored in virtual walks. From your computer screen, the artist captures frozen scenes of the city and, by zooming in, transforms these images into color planes. The repetition of the action translates this virtual route as well as the urban space into a chromatic scale that gives rise to the piece Geopantone.


As in a pantone color chart, which contains a code corresponding to each color, next to each captured tone is the information about the virtual address of that place, contained in the Google Street View browser bar. The work thus proposes a relationship with São Paulo starting from its color palette.


Together, the three works restore the essence of the public space starting from a personal synthesis of a real experience. The urban noise is cleared and what remains are singular captured moments; the rocks are like buildings in its pure and unbound state; the geopantones represent in color the characteristics of the space and of the landscape.


Thus, the artist contrasts control and rationalization instruments with the real and human experience. Through an affective reconstruction of covered spaces, she seeks to give meaning to that which is cold and devoid of identity, and presents a unique city.


 Isabella Lenzi and Juliana Caffé, 2015