Galeria Nara Roesler presents an exhibition of works by Paulo Bruscky, a Brazilian from Recife. The exhibition showcases the artist’s classified advertisements, as well documentation of historical performances, illustrating the artist’s seminal body of work spanning over 5 decades, many never finalized due censorship imposed by the military dictatorship in Brazil during the first years of his artist’s career.
A multimedia artist and poet, Bruscky was a pioneer in “communication art,” a term coined by the artist himself. Like many artists of his generation, Bruscky believes that art should incorporate its surroundings and endeavor to defragment every-day life. An active proponent of the international mail art movement and a member of Fluxus, the artist performed unorthodox experiments with systems of communication such as artist books, classified ads, telegrams, telefaxes, faxes, the Internet and the Xerox. Driving Buscky’s practice is a poetics of experimentation, anchored on the potentiality of media, a rejection of formalism, and a refusal to stagnate in the pursuit of recognition.
As Bruscky states, “I study equipment to see how I can subvert it, pluck it from what it’s meant to do, I mean, make it our ally, right?”
Central to Bruscky’s investigations with imaging and reproduction techniques, is a desire to transform the status quo and create the impossible. In the 1970s Bruscky began posting announcements on newspapers, or “declassified art,” that interrupted the mundanity of the paper by offering extraordinary proposals to the reader.
In his classifieds as well as in his performances, underlying the humor and genuine desire to create a poetic expression, is a political intent to undermine the oppressive regime that arrested and artistically paralyzed the artist throughout the 1960s and 70s. The artist’s Cemetery Art exhibition in 1971 was meant to memorialize the death of artistic autonomy under State censorship while tacitly reflecting on the deaths of political activists. However, when the exhibition was prevented by the authorities, the artist organized a funeral procession for his exhibition which took place in the streets of his hometown, Recife, until it was inevitably repressed.
Beyond his political criticism, Bruscky simultaneously engages in a questioning of the parameters for art making and exhibiting, entering in frequent dialog with contemporaries who also engage in institutional criticism. For the 30º Salão Paranaense de Arte in 1973, the artist sent a telegram (Telex, 1973) relaying three proposals that constituted a performance/installation that reflected on the act of preparing an exhibition. The conceptual historicity of the salon made it a particularly suitable occasion to question the canonizing institution of art. Although accepted by the salon, the piece was not performed in the occasion.
What: Exhibition “Paulo Bruscky”
Where: Nara Roesler Gallery (Manhattan)
When: Until June 24