We mourn. In the past months, several thinkers of Brazilian culture died, after years of building a great work. The photographer German Lorca, the architect and urban planner Paulo Mendes da Rocha, almost centenarians, were part of the nobility of modern thought.
But, not enough, we are also crossed by the loss of friends, colleagues and family members, crossed by the death of close to half a million Brazilian citizens. Victims of Covid-19, a fierce virus poorly and wrongly fought in Brazil.
We are traversed by the inevitable awareness of the loss of values in our society, which is collapsing. Divided in such a way, where violence only escalates.
It is no exaggeration to say, quoting the words of the writer Bernardo Carvalho, that we are living in a moment in which barbarism is insufflated. Large sectors of the population mobilized to deny the advance that research, study and science have brought us over the last few centuries only collaborated with the advance of diseases. Provocations against necessary care! Explicit provocations, in favor of “individual freedom” and, preferably, armed.
Public institutions razed by professional puppets, a gang in which everyone lies and defends each other. A country surrendered to a perverse project, where large sectors of the population still believe in a model of power, the power of exclusion. The punishment. Religious, political, physical, gender. People who kill people. Yes, with stray bullets and directed bullets… Aimed at women, at blacks, at those who resist.
We are naturally fragile. But this fragility is accentuated as large sectors of society are abandoned by this power project, which makes them increasingly dispossessed. The basics are being denied: food, education, health, culture.
In these, where is ART left? Where is it? Since it didn’t die. But not because what dies over time are movements, styles, avant-gardes; but because today, here, not all of us are dead. Or because, as the artist Jota Mombaça would say in one of her works, which was already on the cover of this magazine, “Us agreed not to die”.
We are in mourning, yes, but this, as in the history of all cultures, is a necessary process to honor what we have lost and, despite the pain, to be able to reinvest our energy and psychic strength to move forward.
Taking care of us and taking care of each other, being alive, listening and following where it is taking place, in the midst of this debacle. It is necessary to read, write, think, paint, install. It is necessary to produce art, to guarantee an instinctual body that, affected by its surroundings, is capable of screaming, affecting the other and the social body.
Thus, in our pages, the way to mourn is honoring the artists, researchers and editors of Enciclopédia Negra (Cia. Das Letras), who worked exhaustively to repair, in response to the classic Encyclopedias of the Enlightenment – which for more than 200 years only they reproduced and advocated white and European models of domination – the absence of hundreds of invisible black men and women.
We also deal with several exhibitions put on by artists and social groups who never stopped meeting virtually. Fabio Cypriano pays tribute to the centenary of Joseph Beuys, a central artist in the history of contemporary art, and observes how traditional exhibitions such as Kassel’s Documenta prepare to completely change their exhibition strategies.
Anyway, we are here and, in our mourning, we fight.
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