Berna Reale: Right now

Berna Reale: Right now
28 May–23 July 2022
Galeria Nara Roesler
Avenida Europa 655
JD Europa São Paulo, 01449-001

Nara Roesler São Paulo is pleased to present Agora: Right Now, a solo show by Berna Reale curated by Claudia Calirman. The show opens to the public on May 28 and remains on view until July 23, 2022. Reale, known for her performative practice of blunt political discourse, presents a new body of work, including photographs, installations and, for the first time, paintings.

Berna Reale, Cabeça raspada (2022). Print on cotton paper, methacrylate. 
100 x 150 cm.
Courtesy Galeria Nara Roesler.

Now is a word that communicates urgency, calling our attention to the events of the present. Thus, the choice of title for Reale’s third solo show at Nara Roesler aims to underscore the idea of timeliness.

To this end, Berna Reale looks to the fashion language, in its colours and advertising approaches, the ways to communicate how the contemporary media deals with violence. Just as catwalks and magazines dictate trends that will be superseded a moment later, the communication vehicles move from one crime to another, always with impacting images to be consumed by the public. On the other hand, the exhibition reminds us that the time of violence is also the present time, since at every moment, somewhere in the world, someone is a victim of violence,somewhere in the world, someone is the victim of some form of aggression.

Observing this, Reale has created a series of photographs that could easily be in fashion publications and billboards, if not for the strangeness of the accessories they seem to advertise, such as handcuffs, in Shaved heads (2022), and electronic anklets, in Ligadas (2022) and Acorda Alice (2022). Although these are images constructed by the artist, Reale does not aim to celebrate or aestheticize abominable actions, precisely because she understands the risks of the trivialization of violence. In fact, to reveal its effects, point out the perpetrators and highlight the ways in which violence is fetishized and spectacularized in culture, the artist often resorts to allegory as a strategy, constructing images whose strength lies precisely in the openness of possible meanings and in the comprehensiveness with which she deals with the theme of violence.

Acorda Alice, 2022
Print on cotton paper, methacrylate, edition 1/5 + 2AP
100 x 150 cm 39 3/8 x 59 1/16 inches
Courtesy Galeria Nara Roesler.

In one of the gallery’s rooms, covered – from the walls to the floor – in silver, there are six oil paintings on metal plates, bearing representations of violated bodies. These paintings by Reale are, in the artist’s words, “about reality without being realistic”. The artist is not concerned with representing violence as she sees it in her work as a criminal expert in the Centro de Perícias Científicas Renato Chaves, in Belém, but with recreating it in a way that highlights the ambiguity of our relationship with these images. As the titles of the works point out – Look at me, She said no, and Give up, to name a few – these paintings instigate fascination and horror, desire and abjection.

Reale also presents, an installation that, like O tema da festa (2015), plays with the ambiguity between celebration and violence. The artist builds a table, on which several metal cake shapes are arranged in different sizes and shapes.

Playground, 2019
Print on cotton paper, methacrylate, edition 1/5 + 2AP
100 x 150 cm 39 3/8 x 59 1/16 inches
Courtesy Galeria Nara Roesler.

The immaculate surface of the metal, however, is marked by perforations that would represent white weapons, creating scratches and indentations that are traces of aggressive gestures capable of modifying the material in an unavoidable way. In particular, Reale focuses on themes that are dear to her: violence against subalternized identities in our society, such as feminicide and lgbtphobia, without, however, restricting herself to them. What interests the artist is, finally, to remove us from the state of indifference disseminated by the trivialization of the media. Her provocative images have the power to disturb us and accompany us, showing the urgency of dealing with the politics of violence in the present.

As curator Claudia Calirman sums up, “By shooting at various forms of social injustice, Berna Reale’s work has a clear aim. Creating limit situations, her work is playful at the same time as it borders on the absurd, causing astonishment and bewilderment. The time portrayed by Reale in the exhibition Agora: Right Now is the present impregnated with violence that is everywhere, profaning and devastating the here and now.”

©2022 Berna Reale, Galeria Nara Roesler

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