Annunciations [Saints & Martyrs]

I

Saints & Martyrs is a photo series on feverishly erotic, spiritual ecstasies.

Each image is staged with painted sculptures that, after being photographed, are destroyed.

The work is hybrid, intermedia - queer in content and form. Between sculpture, painting, stage design, digital art, and photography. (‘Purity is a Myth,’ proclaimed Hélio Oiticica). The erudite and the vernacular meshed into an idiosyncratic something else. From Catholic saints to experimental queer art, from crafty to operatic.

Those are images to be disassembled by tactile eyes.

 II

Art History is a collection of photographs (in books, PowerPoints, online). The photos approximate and distance us from painting, sculpture, etc. They refer but are thought a poor substitute. Like porn to sex. And yet, some of our first emotions of art were through photographs. I make photographs without (standing) referents. We see the sculpture and painting only in their representation. They are created for the mechanical eye in the first place. This is misbehaved photography, far from its specificity and orthodoxies. Through it we look at mark making, texture, memories of the hand – we look like if we could look at more than one medium at a time. All photographs of art history are supposed to be transparent windows and placeholders for the actual (future) experience. Here, this is it, the actual experience.

 III

An lgbt+ person who visits a historical art museum is forced to be a detective, a decoder. She tries to read the repressed. She engages in secret handshakes with the artworks. She reads them like a letter from a bottle. Or else she doubts her reading as projection. Or else she reinvents the works at her own image. Then a circuitous history is formed, a history of whispers and chuckles and secret: a history of cruising artworks looking for connections.

 IV

The work also reflects my upbringing in Brasil, the biggest catholic country in the world. Saint Sebastian, for example, is the (official) patron saint of Rio, and also the (unofficial) patron saint of lgbt+ people. His annual celebration merges a catholic mass and a gay pride into one event. Rio’s famously lustful carnival has a religious origin. This cultural environment is an important part of my interest in the body. As Heartney argues, Catholicism’s sensibility was important in the works of many artists who are/were interested in the body – many of which, as it happens, are/were queer - such as Robert Gober, Serrano, Mapplethorpe, Kahlo, etc.

 V

In the proscenium of desire, the stasis of ecstasy. An un-modernist photography that is promiscuous, overflowed.