Apr. 22 until Jun. 25, 2021
Presented by A Gentil Carioca in Rio de Janeiro
A Gentil Carioca is pleased to invite everyone to Descompasso Atlântico (The Mazed Atlantic), Arjan Martins' second solo show, once more occupying the gallery's exhibition spaces with paintings on canvas.
The opening will take place on April 22, not by chance, the same date that the Portuguese colonizers arrived in Pindorama, at Monte Pascoal, just an island of Vera Cruz, which came to become Brazil.
Arjan Martins reiterates his effort to navigate through a history of symbolic, political, cultural and existential resistance and reflux of blacks of African descent transplanted by colonial slavery.
Issue of agile, wide and busy brushstrokes, the works impose themselves as a reflection on identity and representation. According to Paulo Miyada ¹
"The artist joins together what may be read as a multi-temporal and multi-geographical portrait of blackness as memory, presence, struggle and imagination – located in Brazil and, more specifically, in Rio de Janeiro, whence one gazes at the Atlantic ocean and at all the continents bathed by it.
In the works exhibited in the show, Martins goes on making use of empty spaces inside the painting, which are abundant in his cartography referenced works. These spaces emerge from the texture and coloring of the canvas, which are "occasionally playing the part of one color among others applied by the artist – the most explicit sign of incompleteness as an active factor in his painting."
Thus, Arjan Martins crosses through different semantic fields and leaves us with symbolic equations in suspension to be interpreted and reinterpreted. Miyada attests, "This also intensifies the wisdom implicit in the work of Arjan Martins, whose poetic project envisions the unrestricted navigation of the waters of the black ocean, whether traveling between historical periods or journeying between different latitudes and longitudes bathed by slave traffic.
For more information about the works of Arjan Martins, please contact the gallery at email@example.com.
A peculiar intersection between figuration and intangible, implicated in his production, appears in the representation of dissolved, almost liquid faces. This ocean is only completed in the viewer's presence and imagination. In such a way, "It is impossible to say whether they cry or smile, but one intuits the fact that they inhabit everyday life; they walk, they work, they study, they remember, and they dream. Whether Brazilian, North American or European, they are all children of the diaspora, and the way that Arjan Martins represents them points to this connection even as it recognizes that their existence goes beyond the task of remembering the trauma of colonial violence."
Arjan elaborates an artistic analysis in super-real time, his imagery and the expression of his own drives work with and react to the symbols of the period of maritime expansions and the slavery of black bodies, such as the caravel, the dispute over the terrestrial globe, enslaved Africans, and navigation tools that are the marks of that time.
These themes are old acquaintances of the artist: migrations - especially those caused by the slave trade - and the issue of ethnic identity. He repeats his already established characters, generating a reflection on identity and representation. This is the case, for example, of João Cândido, also known as the “Black Admiral”. Leader of the Chibata Revolt, Cândido led the mutiny calling for the abolition of corporal punishment practiced in the Brazilian Navy at the time.
In this work, the artist takes a chance with brushstrokes with more vibrant colors. It was where he started - Martins states - with the risky insertion of colors. It is a moment of delight between a woman lying comfortably and a man reading beside her. A triangle, with a woman at the head of the work, a silhouette that faces the viewer. In his paintings, we perceive an intense dialogue with the modern tradition of Western painting - Goya, Manet, Bonnard, Iberê - and a desire, no less true and relevant, to incorporate a visual repertoire and an Afro-Brazilian narrative that has historically been without a standpoint of speech or visibility. This combination of traditions - the modern pictorial form and the narrative of contemporary imagery.
[by Michael Ashbury]
The artist alludes to Marielle Franco*. The portrait is the result of agile, wide and busy brushstrokes that impose themselves as a reflection on identity and representation. In this work, Martins resumes the use of empty spaces inside the painting, they emerge from the texture and coloring of the canvas, making them one more color among the others applied by the artist, the most explicit sign of incompleteness as an active factor in his painting. *
* Marielle Franco, was a Brazilian sociologist, politician, feminist, and defender of human rights, shot to death on March 14, 2018 with her driver, Anderson Pedro Mathias Gomes, in the centre of Rio de Janeiro.
In this work by Arjan Martins, made especially for the Montevideo Biennial, Uruguay in 2019, the idea of displacing bodies and presences in spaces of struggle and power is latent. During the process of building his paintings, the artist addresses the African diaspora and colonial movements that took place in Afro-Atlantic territories, so the three people in the foreground are connected not only by the proximity of their bodies, but in intercrossed historical connections throughout the painting surface.
Parallel to the gallery's physical space, and also as an external and public action of the show, in partnership with Alalaô (an artistic-political-affective mobilization that takes to the beaches of Rio de Janeiro interventions and/or performances and several artistic actions), Arjan Martins carries to Ipanema beach, the birutas installation. The exhibiting devices are destined to indicate the direction of the winds, which merge the maritime flags and their international codes to transmit messages between vessels and ports, which reveal specific meanings and enable the viewer a sensitive reading of technical terms.
A Gentil Carioca project in partnership with Orla Rio and Alalaô
¹ excerpts from Negro Oceano by Paulo Miyada, written for the book Arjan Martins published by Cobogó.