CENA—SINTAXE by MAÍRA DIETRICH at GDA  [from 20221126 to 20230121]

[Photos: Julia Thompson]

In this exhibition, Maíra Dietrich thinks about the incorporation of text and language not only as subject matter but as methodology, 'editing' the works in space and 'writing' a scene for the body of those who visit the exhibition.

In a certain sense, both language and body can be dismembered in their units: the body has eyes, hands, mouth, legs...; language has syllables, phrases, gestures, breaths...; and both, even if dismembered, can only exist, mean, and communicate as a whole. In this sense the artist works on dismembering and remembering these totalities with mixed units of body and language.

The work takes form as text, installation, video, fiction, and collage, and all come together in a scenic composition. In the exhibition one work complements the other, they are elements and units that, even if dismembered and re-membered, signify as a whole.

[Text: GDA]

Tourner les mots

While visiting the mounting of the exhibition CENA-SINTAXE by Maíra Dietrich in one of the materializations of the Galeria dos Artistas (GDA) in Vila Madalena a memory crossed my mind. Before working with visual arts, I worked for a few years on film sets, always in the art department. In filmming, the art director is responsible for the visible part of the film, for creating the environment to be activated by the actors and captured by the camera. At one point in this trajectory I had the opportunity to witness the American actress Julianne Moore walk onto the set. My job on that set was to make sure that every take a jar of water remained full, and to do this I hid under a table waiting for the action. The imminence of the scene, the seconds before the actress was converted into the character, was a magical moment. We on the crew witnessed a kind of momentary possession that lasted until the director shouted: Cut!

Those two words - action and cut - spoken with emphasis led to a collective hypnosis. A state of suspension was instaured with the clapping of the clapper. At the end of each take we immediately returned to our places in the "reality" of that day's shooting.  
Dietrich's work seems to be concerned precisely with this interval between action and cut, as if freezing diegetic space-time to replace the world. Her exhibitions are like sets where the actors never arrive and where the waiting and the imminence of the action become the main characters. What we see in the rectangular warehouse meticulously occupied by Dietrich is like a mise-en-scène of language itself. There, fragments of information from various origins are juxtaposed in an open-ended script that is up to the visitor to complete - or not. Nothing in the artist's work is prescriptive or didactic, her "verb-visual" compositions interweave indigent images and deconstructed words. Space, the body that questions it, and the decoding mechanisms seem to be the artist's great concern.

Her works are pretexts -pre-texts-, for encounters in which communication happens differently, outside the logocentric enclave in which most of us have been educated. Dietrich deliberately sets her works on the edge of legibility. Her bet is on the latent image and meaning - on what never ends up being fixed -, which seems to me a very opportune place to talk about art. She proposes an adventure of the gaze, a conversion in the way we question the objects that surround us and their definitions. Her work reveals a constant restlessness with language and its uses, which is also an indication of the symptoms of a crisis: the incommunicability of our time.

Dietrich's images and words are blown and not spoken. Her objects and installations are secrets, whispers that are not completely audible. To hear them, it is necessary to connect with the whole present; everything matters and nothing is completely revealed. By choosing ciphered language and the opacity of representation, she expands what we understand as scene, narrative, and consequently the exhibition itself as media. In her work, the literary-thing, the scenic-thing, and the plastic-thing meet freely and unconcernedly. This exhibition is first of all a scene played by the word and by the image, an invitation to remain in the second before the action. Before the camera spins, let's spin the words.  

[Text: Fernanda Brenner]

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