The world in its foam_21 / 04 / 17_10 / 07/17 _Dossier

The trope of the “foam of the world” as an interface between two realities (the potential reality of the world and our constructions of superficial realities) constitutes one of the most beautiful metaphors in the uniquely experimental unfinished poem by José de Espronceda, El Diablo Mundo [The Devil World] (1840–1841). The work, rightly considered a masterpiece of Romantic literature, is unmat- ched in Spanish poetry of the period.

The poet from the Extremaduran region confirms the idea already suggested by Kant, affirming that we cannot observe the world as it really is, but only interpret it by means of the implicit imagination, which in and of itself is not logical. Knowledge can only emerge out of our thought operations and of the praxis of our actions; as a consequence, reality is subordinated to the observer and consubstantially linked to his or her imagination and cognitive processes. Or as Lacan claimed (following Nietzsche): “Truth has a structure of fiction.”

Through their work, the artists in this exhibition⎯Vera Chaves Barcellos, Eder Santos and Evru dia- logue on the fictionalization of the world as an inherent part of the construction of realities. In their own way, by means of different techniques, each artist conceives of parallel worlds which destabilize, relativize, vulnerate and stretch the limits of the real.

In the photographic series Casasubu (2006), Vera Chaves Barcellos systematically documents the facades of the residential buildings in a humble, southern Brazil town known as Ubu. We are drawn to the unusual blend of colours, to the odd architectural styles (or non-styles), to the various types of materials used in the edifications’ external details. As if it were a puzzle, the Brazilian artist takes 

new, non-existent residences. The real town ends up expanding by means of virtual constructions, incorporating the suspicion of simulacrum in the context of the true photographic register. Casasubu is a fine example of the way in Chaves Barcellos tends to explore a kind of potential image, allowing for the decoding and reprogramming of its nature. She derives from this practice the metamorphic process based on variability and permutation, key aspects of her work.

Evrugo Mental State is the name of the parallel world Evru has been creating since 1968. As an artist well-versed in polyphonic authorship and intersubjectivity, Albert Porta adopted the pseudon- ym Zush in his earlier period; since 2001 he signs as Evru. Just as he proposes a new way of conceiving relationships of alterity, he also questions human conventions with respect to the notion of territoriality. His universe is structured using a wide variety of national symbols, including alphabets and languages, currency, flags, passports and the inhabitants themselves. As a territory that is at once artistic and scientific, mental and mystical, it resembles a huge chimerical bubble in the foam of the world. Twenty-seven drawings on paper, done from 1989 to 2004, invite viewers to discover Evru’s world, with its atlas, its writing, the unique notes used in monetary exchange, as well as the masks and very beings inhabiting the territory. His unique cosmology is both liberating and rebellious, as so masterfully represented by the drawing Evrugui Planet (1995): we see a brain whose morphology is at once an eye ball, a planet and a cell nucleus, with all its dendrites. Micro and macrocosm, interior and exterior, spiritual and physical energy, are here brought together in a single corpus.

The video art work of Eder Santos does not attempt to offer us faithful images of the world; instead, he creates images about the images inspired by the reality of his particular context. With his personal, unmistakeable style, in the video art piece Cinema (2009) Santos undertakes a journey through an isolated landscape in the interior of Minas Gerais, the Brazilian state he was born in. Eder transforms the landscape into a strangely evocative experience, working on a symbolic and subjective level, turning it into a state of mind. Fields and villages seem to vanish in cyclical loops, with dark textures emerging in variegated rhythms. Seen from the perspective of our urban gaze, we find a suggestion in these images of a disparity of realities, as if we were looking on to another, completely different time and pace of life, though separated from us by a barbed-wire fence. Cinema is a video-poem, an audiovisual parallel of The Devil World, here shaped into near-pictorial plasticity: “Where am I? Per- haps I descended / to the mansion of fear, / perhaps I built it myself / so much vision, dreaming so much / that I no longer know where I am.”