A Casa [The House]
It was a very funny house. Vinicius de Morais, author of the poem-turned-song1, spoke of creating a space that should be a home, but it is full of strangeness, of missing elements, the very absence the convenience expected of a domestic environment. But despite all this, the punch line of the lyrics repeats that it was made with great care, at the street of fools, number zero.
Transplanting the idea to contemporary art, we can think of the exhibition A Casa [The House] as the sharing of that spirit of strangeness. Playful and dramatic at the same time, questioning the materials and forms of artistic construction, thinking the boundaries between art and design, contemporary art allows unconventional and provocative readings of objects and thoughts about the world.
Here, artwork from MAC USP collection is spread in the space of the museum's galleries, not in chronological order or by author, but by the roles that each of them fulfill in its domesticity function. This homely order would be possible, for example, if Regina Silveira's sofa was made to sit on, or Iran do Espírito Santo's record player was thought to play discs. Or still if the skimmers sticked at lamb, by Alex Flemming, were made for frying on Alex Vallauri's stove.
But this very funny house is not about decoration, design or how a house works - it is about art. Therefore, each element within it surprises us and counters the expectations of an object that could be helpful but is not. It is worth remembering here that art does not exist to be useful. Rather, it negotiates with the things of the world, questioning its own existence and negotiating with its possible materializations.
A Casa [The House] is part of the research called Themes of Contemporary Art. The study takes into account the idea that, in Western history, until the end of what we call Modern Art era, in the mid-twentieth century, the prevailing systematization for teaching and presentation of art was chronological, that is, followed a logic of time. Today, with the announced "end of art" or rather, the "end of art history", proposals for assessment and learning can be performed under a variety of cuts, with time frames, with different topics and statements, and often juxtaposed2.
The responsibility of realizing that, inside this strange and funny house, there is a consistent care in creating artwork that makes us rethink the use and functions of things and the very status of the art today, it rests with the viewer.
© 2015 Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo