The Subject and the Object
Amongst ties, shoes, hats, and other items displayed in window shops of a gallery in the center of São Paulo, there is an object with a format and composition distinct from the others around it. Composed of leather cutouts joined by small rings and superimposed on a velvet, together they form a new object, a banner. Despite its abstraction, it is striking that the parts that compose the work such as the leather, velvet, and the hoop earrings allude to the universe of the body and more than that of the female body. In addition, the irregularity of the cutouts preserve the memory of the gestures of its creation and the object as a whole seek to reflect on the relations between materiality and individual as indicated by the video presented next to it.
In the video, the artist appears wearing a leather jacket with scissors in hand. Soon the cuts begin. Each gesture leads to the fragmentation of the original form, transforming the coat into a patchwork and also making the artist's torso visible. These cuts, however, are not easily done. The material is tough, and the movements require effort, as you can see in the expressions on the artist's face. The difficulty of the cut can also be perceived in parallel with the act of putting the body exposed, in a vulnerable way, even more in the public space.
The work of Julia Brandão investigates the body and its relations with notions of identity and cultural memories in reference to the spaces it inhabits. Dealing predominantly with fabrics, the artist explores materialities and techniques that cross the universes of plastic arts, sewing, and tapestry. Starting with cutouts, the artist produces collages, sculptures, performances and installations in which you can enter. Her works bring together elements of personal domain and popular culture that seek to establish emotional connections and activate collective memories. More recently, the artist started to experiment with videos and performances in which she is present, reflecting more directly on the relationship between the fabric and the body. A relevant perspective of the artist's work is her interest in social identities and classifications as she seeks to destabilize what is already accepted. This research includes works such as Fragmented Body (2018), in which pieces cut from the artist's clothes are sewn and reconstructed, searching for a new unit in the space of the canvas; The Body and its Emptiness (2018), a performance in which the artist cuts large areas of superimposed fabrics creating connections between them while also building a three-dimensional composition; and A Men's Suit (2019), a performance in which the artist attempts, insistently and without success, to wear a masculine suit, which is later decomposed and recreated in a new artistic work.
In "The Subject and the Object" (2019), the artist continues to deal with processes of fragmentation and reconstruction, but in this work, fragmentation is treated as a transformative potential. The presence of the video draws attention to the relevance and symbology of the process and how the fabric and the body are intertwined and are transformed together. Her body becomes the means by which the artist seeks to question how the female body is perceived, not in an individual sense, but in a broader sense, transforming hers into a social body. This process questions notions and values that mark the representation of the feminine such as curbing desires, domination by fear, and oppression by guilty. The work seeks to present a body that does not want to be harassed, seen sensually, repressed or silenced by others. "The Subject and the Object" is a work about fragmentation, transformation, and finally about freedom. It is a work that seeks to freedom from the stereotypes of the female body while also seeking freedom for the construction of new subjectivities. In "The Subject and the Object," the work of art is treated as a banner that holds the memory of a female body in search of a free body.
The video was created in collaboration with Robert O'Shea, who filmed the performance. The artist works with video, performance, photography, and sculpture. He seeks to explore issues such as queer identity, political images, labour, and the body. O'Shea has a degree in Fine Arts from the National College of Art and Design (Ireland). He lives and works in Brooklyn and Ireland.
* For more information, visit www.artepassagem.com.br/o-sujeito-e-o-objeto