Estranhamente Familiar / Unheimlich

Instituto Tomie Ohtake

April 1, 2013

Alice Miceli, Mariana Manhães, Rodrigo Matheus and Thiago Honório
12 March–28 April, 2013

Instituto Tomie Ohtake
Av. Faria Lima, 201 (Entrance at Rua Coropés, 88) – Pinheiros
São Paulo, SP
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 11am–8pm
Free admission

T + 55 11 2245 1911
comunicacao [​at​]

Curator: Paulo Miyada

To further its well-grounded studies and agenda developed for a deeper look at contemporary art, Instituto Tomie Ohtake organizes the first exhibition of its new curatorial program, titled Arte Atual. Prepared by Instituto’s Núcleo de Pesquisa e Curadoria (NPC), the project was designed to promote group shows held by emerging artists, in which ambitious experimental projects can be implemented and presented to the public. To attain this purpose, the Institute relies on the active support from art galleries all over the country.

Uncanny/Unheimlich opens up the Arte Atual program. Curated by Paulo Miyada, NPC coordinator, the exhibition brings together works by four young artists: Alice Miceli, Mariana Manhães, Rodrigo Matheus and Thiago Honório. The term unheimlich, consecrated and discussed by Freud in his essay “Das Unheimliche” (1919) points out the concept of the exhibition. Translated into English as “the uncanny,” the word indicates something that is between uncomfortably strange and very familiar, something that is too close while emerging from a menacingly unrecognizable context.

Miyada further explains that while focused on psychoanalysis, one’s reflections on the term go far beyond this field, all the way through discovery that the uncanny is nothing else than reinforcing a sense of the ambivalent word heimlich (home, familiar). “What one protects within the family realm at home is also what one conceals from the eyes of others, what remains retracted, and when this unexpectedly emerges from its seclusion, the uncanny effect results,” he adds.

About the artists and their works, as per the curator:

Thiago Honório (b. 1979, Carmo do Paranaíba, Minas Gerais State [MG]) is present at the exhibition with two new works. Prêt-à-porter, a set of empty cases, boxes and displays of different shapes, sizes and origins, all ready to receive objects that eventually produce intimacy, lined up side by side with their lids open at ninety degrees, providing a panorama of vivid colors; an obscene demonstration of voids and intimacies. Evoking the bewildering potential arising from the collision between the image of something alive and something inanimate, Thiago Honório also presents Ânima, which consists of seamless zebra skin with muzzle, ears and tail, all set to a transparent cube.

The way by which a story crosses the real, in a traumatic moment, is also peculiarly shown on the video-installation Piper (7.918 frames), created by Alice Miceli (b. 1980, Rio de Janeiro). The artist selected a picture that refers to the plot of the fable “The Pied Piper of Hamelin,” having developed a process whereby the progress of the video results from the swift oscillation of the photographic properties of this image over time, according to audio properties of an alluring melody.

When faced with the work set by Mariana Manhães (b. 1977, Niterói – RJ), spectators realize they are in front of a huge articulated body, something that can be perceived as a giant who stands still. The fact that this pulsating body is made up of visibly artificial materials—such as metal pipes, plastic bags and fans—brings confusion to the understanding between organic and synthetic in the viewer’s own body, thereby making reference to the ‘estranhamente familiar.’

Also concerned with such possibilities of bewilderment, Rodrigo Matheus (b. 1974, São Paulo) signs a new installation that aims to bring up that feel, with the fewest elements possible. The artist uses a leveling instrument, a rotating light and a gravel spiral “to turn the exhibition space into a kind of immersive diorama—an instantly evoked alien landscape,” according to the curator.

The exhibition Estranhamente Familiar / Unheimlich was developed with the collaboration of Galeria Fortes Vilaça, Galeria Laura Marsiaj, Galeria Leme and Galeria Nara Roesler.