April 27, 2018 - Sesc São Paulo - Places of Delirium
April 27, 2018

Sesc São Paulo

Arthur Bispo do Rosário, Distroey. 

Places of Delirium
April 11–July 1, 2018

Sesc São Paulo
Sesc SP | Visual Arts and Technology Department
991 Álvaro Ramos Avenue
São Paulo-
Hours: Monday–Friday 10am–8pm

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Places of Delirium is the title of the ongoing exhibition at Sesc Pompeia, the emblematic building designed by the Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi. It will run from April 11 to July 1 at the culture and recreation center that the architect herself nicknamed the "City of Freedom" and includes nearly 170 works of art created by over 40 artists. The proximity of art and insanity is the basis for the exhibit’s central binomial, which the selection committee has dubbed “a walk through the crazy poetry of art.”

The exhibition, curated by Tania Rivera, a psychoanalyst, researcher and professor at the Federal Fluminense University (UFF), advances reflections that are political and ethical in nature on topics that touch upon the parity of insanity and art. Rivera also understands that both art and insanity share the power and capacity to subvert and transform the reality imposed upon us, luring our attention to a suspended actuality that blots out the border between normality and madness, creating a setting for the deviating, disconcerting or irreconcilable: where delirium has free reign.

For Rivera, “to be delirious is to go outside the ‘lira’ (the ridge between furrows, in Latin), off the beaten path, outside society’s norms.” It is through this lens that the project explores and questions the “borders between the normal and the pathological, between art and life, between the museum and the outside world.” There is nothing more natural, then, than addressing the idea that art often ponders lunacy, questioning even the historical and cultural meaning ascribed to insanity beyond its clinical and pathological circumscriptions.

The exhibition advances sweeping possibilities for radical experimentation and incorporates installations, maps, performances, paintings and pieces from predominantly Brazilian artists like Anna Maria Maiolino, Arlindo Oliveira, Ateliê Gaia, Aurora Cursino dos Santos, Bernardo Damasceno, Cláudio Paiva, Dias & Riedweg, Dora Garcia, Fernand Deligny and his “network,” Fernando Diniz, Flávio de Carvalho, Geraldo Lúcio Aragão, Gustavo Speridião, Ioitiro Akaba, Ivan Grilo, José Bechara, Lasar Segall, Laura Lima, Leonilson, Luiz Carlos Marques, Lygia Clark, Maria Leontina, Maurício Flandeiro, Osvaldo Vicente Francisco, Pedro França e Cia. Teatral Ueinzz, Raphael Domingues, Tarsila do Amaral, Wlademir Dias-Pino and others.

To set the conceptual perspective, Rivera has chosen to poetically define Places of Delirium using the works of Cildo Meireles, particularly Reason and Insanity (1976), and of Arthur Bispo do Rosário, especially Bow and Arrow (n.d.), as her starting points. The exhibition also includes other works from Rosário’s never-ending series built from scrap and the shredded uniforms used by interned patients at the Colônia Juliano Moreira City Health Institution. Highlights from Meireles’ exhibited work include the rarely seen photographs from his Cottolengo series, taken from his visit to the Vila de São José Bento Cottolengo Hospital.

The layout of the art recognizes the significance of opting for a horizontal and non-hierarchical arrangement, with pieces from the broadest possible range of artists and styles blending and fusing together throughout the exhibition space. As such, both famous and lesser known works from artists in traditional art circles share space with the works of artists who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, who have been hospitalized and done therapy that pushes the limits of art, who have engaged in poetic interactions and development—people socially considered on the edge of normality. Finally, the exhibition contributes to the current debate concerning the anti-asylum movement in Brazil.

The show was first displayed at the Rio Art Museum (MAR) in 2017 and was the brainchild of Paulo Herkenhoff, then the museum’s head of art direction. It led immediately to the much larger project entitled Art and Society in Brazil. This time around, the collection has been expanded to include more artists, and additional pieces of art were included to take advantage of Sesc Pompeia’s extensive space.

Sesc São Paulo
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