P/p - a solo show by Mariana Silva

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Solo show by Mariana Silva
curated by João Laia

Special event: Thursday, 10th of January 7pm
Screening at Whitechapel Gallery followed by opening at the Mews Project Space 

opening times:
11th January - 9th February, 2013 
Saturdays 12 – 6 pm or by appointment 


Une affaire de creux et de bosses (2011-) is a single screening which introduces the work of Mariana Silva. It brings together a 30 minute-long HD video and the diffusion of a historical perfume, allowing for both a visual and olfactory experience. In the video, the camera pans through several views of the Louvre and more specifically, through its collections of Egyptian, classic, medieval and baroque statuary. The vistas are collected from a book of prints which depicts in three-dimensions (3-D) the spaces of the museum’s collections. Parfum à la Guillotine is a recreation of the perfume devised to counteract a decrease in perfume sales caused by the French Revolution, developed for the occasion by Portuguese perfumer Lourenço Lucena’s L’Parfumeur. Evoking the short-lived sixties’ experiences of smell-o-vision, in which scents were released during the projection of a film, the artist intends to superimpose the oddity of a perfume created in the image of the guillotine to the unsettling touristic prints of the Louvre, tainted by the blue and red reminiscent of the first experiments with 3-D technology. This event thus develops as a sort of mise-en-abîme of references to the revolutionary iconoclasm that founded the first museum in a royal palace and invented for itself the symbol of pillage in name of a universal visual history that the museum would then establish, crystalize and return to all democratic people. 


In the exhibition at the Mews Project Space the artist explores her interest in the concept of the public. problematizing aspects of its porousness and vagueness, for example, in how it envelops contradictions between ideas of citizenship, conceptions of “public space, property and human rights notions of viewership and spectatorship. In “P/p” these issues are developed in three new commissions: a publication, a text, and a video piece. 

The four prints that comprise the publication combine images taken from the same catalogue as those used in Une affaire de creux et de bosses with four excerpts from the writings on fashion by Flávio de Carvalho, published here for the first time in English after their original publication in the Brazilian periodical Diário de São Paulo in 1956. 
The set expands the video screening Une affaire de creux et de bosses drawing a dialogue between the public/citizenship dialectic and a history of forms in fashion as developed though the critical and historical contextualization of, for example, footwear or makeup developed by Flávio de Carvalho. In this respect, the particular nature of his research positioned aristocratic follies in dress as encapsulating the collective unconscious, while sublimating pre-historical animal memories or being premonitory of historic events, therefore revealing class tensions and a enacting a permanent desire to appropriate popular forms. 

These associations extend to the video in which the artist uses de Carvalho’s reading of jewelry, such as necklaces, as incorporating the forms of slave chains, specifically a type of bangle still currently referred to as slave in Portuguese, (escrava) and Spanish (esclava). In the discrete loops of rotating gold and iron chains, appears also this afterimage of the colonial money used by the Portuguese, French and British in colonial trades, namely slave trade, throughout Africa. 

Also present in the exhibition, a text piece explores the friction between public and people, providing an entry point for and encapsulating the overarching discourse of the show. “P/p” continues Silva’s reflection on the idea of public, expanding her analysis of the body and the stage through the incorporation of topics related to appearance, style and consumerism. 

Mariana Silva (Lisbon, 1983) lives and works in New York. Her first solo show “The organization of forms” took place at Kunsthalle Lissabon in 2011. She has participated in several group exhibitions, namely “To the Arts, Citizens!” (Serralves Museum, Oporto, 2011), “For Love, not Money” (15th Tallin Print Triennial, 2011), “Perpetual Interview” (Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisbon 2010), “Into the Unknown” (Ludlow 38, New York, 2010), “República ou o Teatro do Povo” (Arte Contempo, Lisbon, 2009), “BesRevelação 2008” (Serralves Museum, Oporto, 2008). She was a resident at the 5th Sommerakademie, Paul Klee Zentrum, Bern in 2010, and at the iscp (International Studio & Curatorial Program), New York from October 2009 to March 2010. 

tickets (screening): http://bit.ly/UIBxxU

Whitechapel Gallery
77-82 Whitechapel High Street London E1 7QX

The Mews Project Space
15 c Osborn Street, London, E1, UK 
(alley behind the Whitechapel art gallery)
The Mews Facebook Page http://on.fb.me/UsHjzT

Aldgate East
Aldgate, Liverpool Street and Tower Gateway 

Exhibition funded by the Elephant Trust and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and supported by the Whitechapel Gallery and Mews Project Space in collaboration with P.A.S.T. Projects and L’Parfumeur.