Lenora de Barros _ artista visual em residência | Sculpture Space _ Long Island City, New York

Lenora de Barros foi a primeira artista à conversar com o Vitrô em Nova York. Junto com Carolina Paz, fomos até Long Island City onde Lenora estava completando sua residência. Chegar até o recém inaugurado Sculputre Space foi uma visita em si só, pois existe o Sculpture Center ali do lado. Eu vim do Brooklyn e Carolina de Manhattan. Cada uma parou em uma estação, cada uma com um endereço. Uma dessas gigantescas placas FOR RENT no alto um prédio enorme permitiu que nos localizássemos. Dali fomos guiadas pelo senhor Google maps. Andando pelo que o entediamos como Queens, agora Long Island City, por grandes viadutos e um vento cortante finalmente chegamos com duas horas de atraso.
Lenora nos recebeu junto com os fundadores do espaço Magda e Andrew. Um galpão branco bastante comprido e largo com muita luz natural abriga a residência artística multidisciplinar. Um atelier de cerâmica, uma marcenaria, um espaço amplo de criação. Alguns dos trabalhos de Lenora estão na primeira mesa junto com algumas peças em porcelana. Potes de diversas formas com o ar oriental. Ali estão também as raquetes de ping pong de Lenora feitas em cerâmica.

Andamos até o fundo do galpão onde esta a pequena sala onde Lenora trabalha. Lenora e Carolina relembram as performances feitas por Lenora enquanto em Nova York, as primeiras performances ao vivo feitas pela artista. Pregação no Pioneer Works e Wehavenothingtosay no Mandragoras Art Space. Todo trabalho de Lenora traz consigo a ação, seus vídeos, fotografias e instalações trazem para o espectador o registro de uma atividade já acontecida.

A artista esta constantemente revisitando seu trabalho. Trabalhos recentes como a cadeira escultura que encontramos no Sculpture Center já fez parte de um outro trabalho. Conversadeira como ela a chama, foi exposta em 2003 em uma instalação de 9 cadeiras com retrovisor. Através do retrovisor quem estava sentando via o vídeo que era exibido atrás da cadeira e nos fones de ouvido escutava o som do vídeo a sua frente. Carolina observa que o trabalho é um diálogo com o corpo performático. Pois o corpo esta ali presente e a ideia da ação é inerente ao trabalho. A cadeira aqui exerce a função de objeto escultórico, causando um certo estranhamento. Não se sabe ao certo se se pode sentar. A Conversadeira tem o mesmo formato de uma tradicional namoradeira porém a parte que se sentaria a segunda pessoa esta com o encosto no chão.

Um diálogo é criado em todos os aspectos do trabalho de Lenora. O diálogo entre o que se vê e o que se escuta, entre o que se lê e o que se entende. Vinda do universo linguístico, fez parte do movimentos como o Poemix, grupo que fazia espetáculos “poéticos”. Atráves da poesia concreta sempre investigou como levar a palavra, a poesia, a poética além, de uma forma inovadora. Cita Décio Pignatari “antes da poesia concreta: versos são versos. Com a poesia concreta: versos não são versos. Depois da poesia concreta: versos são versos. Só que a dois dedos da página, do olho e do ouvido. E da história”. A poesia visual é este passo a frente. Misturar imagem com palavra. E dessa forma seu trabalho foi saindo do papel e indo para a instalação. A expressão criada pelo escritor irlandês James Joyce verbovocovisual foi o norte do trabalho de Lenora. “Assim você tem todos os aspectos da palavra, o sonoro e visual, e trabalhar isso no espaço foi natural.”

Terminando nosso bate papo Madga e Andrew fazem uma apresentação do espaço, da sua missão e visão. Magda não para de trabalhar, mesmo enquanto conversa conosco. Vai e volta diversas vezes enquanto Andrew faz o tour. Na despedida Lenora nos explica o caminho para o metro e dessa vez não erramos.

Texto: Priscilla Nasrallah
Fotos: Carolina Paz e Priscilla Nasrallah

* See English version below the post.

 

 

Lenora de Barros at Sculpture Center NYC

Lenora de Barros was the first artist to speak to Vitrô in New York. Together with Carolina Paz, we headed to Long Island City, where Leonora was finishing her residency. Arriving at the recently launched Sculpture Space was a visit in itself, for the Sculpture Center is right next door. I came from Brooklyn and Carolina from Manhattan. We each stopped at a subway station, each one with a different address. One of these giant “FOR RENT” signs on the rooftop of a building helped us find each other, and we finally walked together guided by the honorable Mr. Google Maps. Walking down Queens, Long Island City specifically, past large bypasses and hit by a biting wind, we finally managed to arrive – though two hours late.

Lenora was waiting for us with the residency founders, Magda and Andrew. Multidisciplinary art residency Sculpture Space is located at a very wide and long white warehouse with plenty of natural light. There is a ceramics space, a woodshop and a very big creative area. Some of Leonora’s pieces are on the fist table, together with some works in porcelain. Pots in several forms with an oriental flare, executed with mastery. A brief conversation with Magda revealed she was the artist behind the work and that she had lived in Japan for almost ten years.

We went to the back part of the warehouse, where Leonora’s small studio is located. Lenora and Carolina recall Leonora’s performances made during her recent stay in New York, her first live performances, exhibited in Pioneer Works and Mandragoras Art Space. Leonora’s work is based on action. Her videos, pictures and installations showcase an activity that has already happened.

Lenora quotes Canadian thinker Marshall McLuhan, to whom it is necessary to relate to the past in order to see the future, “having the Middle Ages on your rearview mirror”. The importance of being part of a tradition, of dialoguing with the past seems crucial for the artist who is always revisiting her work. Recent works such as the sculpture chair we saw at the Sculpture Center was once part of another works. Conversadeira (which roughly translates into Talkative, or Blabbermouth, but not in the sense of the adjective, but as a purpose for the object), as she named it, was first exhibited in 2003, in an installation comprised of nine chairs with a rearview mirror. Whomever sat on the chair would see the video played behind it through the rearview mirror. The earphones, theoretically available to listen to the audio of the corresponding video, was actually playing the audio of the video of the next chair. Leonora brought McLuhan’s ideas into life – one eye on the past, the other on the future. 

As we observed the wooden chair, Carolina mentions that the work in itself is a dialogue with the performing body, for the body is present in the work and the idea of action is inherent to it. The chair plays the role of sculptural object in this piece, which makes it a bit uncanny. It is not clear whether one can sit on the chair. Albeit having the same format of a traditional loveseat, the back piece of the place where the second person would sit is on the floor in the Conversadeira, rendering the action impossible. The intention is present, as is the uneasiness of not being able to achieve the purpose of the known object.

There are dialogues in all aspects of Leonora’s work. The dialogue between what is seen and what is heard, what is read and what is understood – between past and future. Leonora’s background is marked by linguistic studies, and she was part of the Poemix movement, group that organized poetry performances. By studying concrete poetry, Leonora reflected on ways of further developing words, poetry and poetics, and on how words can assume other forms and create life outside paper and sound. She quotes Décio Pignatari to explain visual poetry: “before concrete poetry: verses are verses. With concrete poetry: verses are not verses. After concrete poetry: verses are verses. But two fingers away from the page, from the eye and from the year. And from history”. The mix of image and word. Thanks to this investigation, her work migrated from paper to installations. The expression penned by James Joyce, verbovocovisual, has been the north of Leonora’s work. She believes “this is how you have all aspects of the word, both its audio and visual aspects, and it was only natural to work with these aspects in space.”

We had the chance of looking through the artist’s drawing books and notes and to talk about her long trajectory, from the days of her columns published in Brazilian newspaper Jornal da Tarde to this day. We realized how dialogue was present even the newspaper – the experimental columns had conversations with the works of several artists. The visit ended with Magda and Andrew offering a tour on the space, including its mission and vision. Magda never stops working – not even as she talks to us. She comes back and forth as Andrew conducts the tour. Our goodbyes this time included Leonora’s instructions on how to get to the subway – this time, we did not get lost.