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Exposição Individual - Paço Imperial, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

by Marcelo Campos

In her Fisherman’s Throne series, Fernanda Chieco prepares drawings from observations she made during her residency in South Korea. She was interested in the “particular contradictions” she found in Incheon city, seeking to draw links between the remains of the old and the modern towns. In a kind of ghost town, she came across chairs stranded out of doors. It is as if the values of use, in Walter Benjamin’s terms, are being replaced by the values of exhibition. But why exhibit what is obsolete?


This is the creative thrust that makes the drawings occupy an imagined place, even if they rework everyday scenes, household objects, apparently indoor environments. But Fernanda looks at the urban landscape and by doing so attains an almost surreal status in her settings. We see fishes, suckling pigs, carcasses, teddy bears on couches, Bauhausian chairs, car seats. The drawing and coloring style takes us back to a place of protection, to a child’s craftwork, because the powerful presence of the coloring pencils shows us the will to cover blank areas with varying intensities. In this respect, they bring to mind David Haines’s contemporary drawings, among others. Even so, theethnographic nature sets Fernanda on a different path, that of the resident artist, of observations made in transit, of the unfamiliarity of customs and traditions that have been the hallmark of traveling artists since the 1800’s.


What is exhibited in this series of drawings was taken away from the relationships between the values of use and disposal of manufactured objects. Chairs, seats and couches are shown in a precarious state. But this suspension is highlighted by uncanny affinities, bringing furniture and animals into close proximity. The cultural practices of the place, the event, become allegorical and emblematic, forming dream scenes, imaginary citadels.


In the title she gives the series, Fernanda Chieco uses another suspension strategy, calling chairs “fisherman’s thrones”. There is a play of sacrilege here, because the meanings previously attributed to “things, places, animals or people” could represent something workaday in South Korea or belong to a potentially mystical “separate sphere”. And in this playoff between profane-sacred- profane Fernanda’s drawings annul the ritual (we do not know why these scenes of abandonment are here) but let the myth survive (an uncommon world). ​


As philosopher Giorgio Agamben explains, consumption “destroys the thing”, the chairs, the toys, but a cultural fact, like a fish market in a small town in South Korea, leaves intact the remains of the capitalist religion. Chairs, in the hands of the artist, become thrones for nameless, downtrodden workers. And these are the kings of the sea.


Marcelo Campos _ curator Rio de Janeiro _ June, 2012 

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