Monday, June 27, 2011

"Daniel Senise at Casa Franca Brasil"

Daniel Senise "2892" at Casa Franca Brasil June 2011
Daniel Senise is an established Brazilian artist with a fascination for facts and figures. His precise exhibit at Casa Franca Brasil in Rio de Janeiro, titled "2892" references his main installation in the exhibit, a number with no names.

As you enter CFB, the viewer is not only met with the beauty of the space, with its soaring columns and the several cupolas of the ceiling arching away this way and that, in the former customs building located in the Centro neighborhood of Rio, (near Prace XV, my regular Saturday morning flea market), but also with two imposing walls of what appears to be stretched white canvas flanking either side of the entrance, guiding visitors through the gallery. Upon closer inspection, (and a little reading) the viewer learns that this piece is actually constructed from hotel sheets, some of them still marked with the logo of the hotel, and the title, "2892" references the number of guests who have slept, or passed between these sheets.

Numerics can be horrifying, especially when considering the limited space and the things within that space that so many of us share. How many people have sat in this chair before me? (Try not to ponder this on an overnight flight from JFK to Rio, for example, as it can be insomnia inducing!) How many people have ate from this same fork or drank from this same coffee cup?  How many people are breathing this same air? And while I am not trying to inspire anyone's neuroses, it is something worth pondering, in a shrinking world with a growing population. 

Similarly, (and not to get too preachy here, but...) what is the impact that each of us make on our surroundings, including, each other?

"Mil" (1000) by Daniel Senise at CFB
In one of his other pieces, Senise examines just that. His installation titles "Mil" (or 1000), celebrates his 1000th piece of artwork, a creation of giant brick-like panels floating on white walls. But again, looks can be deceiving, as Senise plays a trick on the viewer, and takes a jab at the art world, a world which after 1000 pieces, he is thoroughly entrenched within, for actually these bricks are fabricated from recycled paper, pulp created from museum catalogs and gallery literature generated from his other 999 works. 

By studying the 'bricks' closely, one can see the texture of the paper pulp, with flecks of color, and maybe a snippet of random text here or there. It is art imitating art, a spectator sport becoming a spectacle, first talking about itself and then becoming itself. Art, and to a greater degree - LIFE, seem to do this with some frequency. The author writes a book about writing a book, the director make a film about film-making. And again it goes back to impact. What is the impact our visualizations (even the subconscious ones) have on others, ourselves, our world? How does what we do make a statement, tell a story, express our desires? And how can that be recognized and justified on a planet of billions? Senise seems to be saying, even to himself: 'Just stop for a moment and think'.

As a creative, and an artist, my superficial goal is only to try and make the world a little more beautiful, to leave it a better place than I found it, to clean up after myself, and maybe, just maybe, inspire someone else along the way.
For more on Casa Franca Brasil in Rio de Janeiro:

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