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Squeeze or Black geography

Fernando Oliva

At exhibition opening parties held at Centro Universitário Maria Antonia, visitors usually congregate in a second- floor hall that doubles as tactical field for socializing. There, they drink, talk loudly, and gesticulate as much as they like while glimpsing through the glass doors at “the other side”: the exhibition space where no drinks are allowed and people discretely shuffle around under the surveillance of cameras and security guards. Architecture sets aside certain spaces for social relations and over time we create specific rituals, a kind of liturgy governing bodily and sensory behavior. Gustavo Rezende’s Squeeze ou Geografia Negra introduces

a complicating factor for this habit, by creating a negative space inside the
place of uncommitted experiences. In
the former public hall, we are no longer immune. We need to “lose track of things” so we can invent new displacements and experiential strategies. While we look at 2.40-meter tall black walls, a sinuous movement is announced, and yet sight of the whole is denied. Structure prevails, ready to swallow us, inviting us to enter

it. We can only go on using our body
and following the route. We go past the transition point, when we are “squeezed” between sculpture and architecture. A “molecular collision” as Rezende would say. On top of the first shock comes a second: somewhere between surprised and disappointed, we realize that the
large room’s walls are “empty”. However, part of the work is silently occupying
the space “cut up” by stone columns.
An aerial view would reveal a typical curving configuration evoking the sensual constructions of a Jean Arp. Not without a certain irony — and perhaps some cruelty, even — Rezende denies us the pleasure of viewing this form, giving us only space to follow the route and the sight of his own work cut by stone columns, once again refusing to be given over in its entirety.

[Text published in Gustavo Rezende: Uma antologia por Tadeu Chiarelli. São Paulo: Editora WMF Martins Fontes, 2013.]

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