Caviar é uma ova!: Camila Soato

7 March - 8 April 2017

I have a friend who is professional at making the 'ppk' blink is one of the phrases scrawled in Camila Soato's paintings - 'ppk' is the popular abbreviation for the word 'pepeca' in Portuguese, a colloquial synonym for the female sexual organ. For those who understand the expression, making the ppk blink is a delight!


In a syntactic analysis of the sentence, friend fulfills the role of the subject, professional the role of the adjective, make blink the role of the verb and ppk the role of the object, right? No, because a ppk is not an object, yet its objectification may be granted should it so wish and permit. Given that, still to this day, it is an act of resistance to position the woman as the protagonist of her desires and the owner of her own body. Thus when Soato brings to the painting phrases such as this, or such as my body my rules, she begins to unveil one of the main characteristics of her work: the breaking down of barriers that should never have existed.


Going beyond the written word, her paintings also rethink models through images. With a production recognized by schizophrenic collages, the artist works with absurd yet real situations, since most of her references come from the internet, and may or may not be veridical. They are depictions of dogs defecating, women peeing while standing next to a police car, a child sticking its finger in its pet's anus or kissing its pet on the mouth, etc ... They resemble scenes from a trashy movie, in the style of Pink Flamingos (1972). These are completely amoral and very, very abnormal images for an idealized society. Thus it's a beauty! And it is a beauty in whatever sense we may choose to give this adjective.


In order to balance or potentiate this "freak circus" - as Soato puts it - in the same work it is possible to observe appropriations of art history icons such as Caravaggio's Baco or Leonardo da Vinci's Monalisa. Representations praising the art of painting and its great masters (or not) and which concomitantly recall a common taste. There is an ironic game between a real worship of painting, its absorption and that which it simulates.


An irony which is reaffirmed by the title of the exhibition, considering the double meaning of the word 'egg'[1] used here: caviar as a delicacy with high market value and as a pun that criticizes the caricature of those who consume it. A poke in the system, in the market and in art history, as well as in the artist herself - since the artist is the base element of this food chain.


There are many layers present on the same canvas: micro-politics, a praise of painting, a judgment of the beautiful, institutional criticism, etc. There is no border between arguments, words and images. Topics become related by the juxtaposition of dialogues; in opposition to each other, in addition to each other. These are apparently antagonistic situations, but when approximated they create an organized chaos.


In fact, anyone who knows Soato is able to recognize her on some of her pieces, even if her image is not genuinely represented. They are poses of the artist in an informal environment, domestic situations, bizarre and with little sophistication. In the words of the artist, "the paintings intend to (...) unleash the possibility of freedom of the bodies and identities under the veil of humor, of the sardonic and sharp sarcastic comic."


Humor is her most effective tool, most often without objectifying the laughter. The congruence of sensations and contrasts suggested by her work is what mediates the space between the spectator and the work. Her paintings have a high vibration, and use the wisdom of the glaze to speak between the lines, while managing to balance a punk aesthetic with the color of the sofa. It is a production that knows how to use expertise in favor of speech and its poetic construction.


In this way, CAVIAR IS A FISH EGG! is an exhibition that provokes a direct attack on the so-called normative behavior and good customs, leaving no room for prejudice, sexism and other flaws of humanity. It is in the encounter of thoughts with attitudes that Soato brings us closer to an engaged posture in the perception of the woman as an active voice.




Paula Borghi


[1] The expression that 'something is a fish egg!' in Portuguese means that something is not credible or not true. An accurate translation to express the second meaning of the title would be 'Caviar my ass!'