Por  Hercules Goulart Martins ( 2005)

The following exhibition of  Huisrechts will take place on  the 30th of  October 2004 with the brazilian  photographer, performer and video maker Cris Bierrenbach. She lives and works in Sao Paulo city and for many years she worked as a photographer for the major brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo. At this newspaper she covered a wide range of themes varying from social violence, political events to fashion and cultural issues.

In the beginning of this decade Bierrenbach was focusing her critical attention to disenfranchised people in the brazilian society which her photo series of people screaming is the most illustrative: a denunciation of freedom’s absence of self-expression when a collective mask of horror is superimposed on any possible expression of individuality.

Recently her work has been cutting through the idealized and stereotyped mythology of the abstracted and invented feminine self in the brazilian culture. Bierrenbach series on outdoors sharply questions the screened female body in the advertising frames spread all over the megalopolis of Sao Paulo which engenders an urban hypertext where the female body is written . A prefabricated body which stimulates and supplies the demands of brazilian market economy. ’The female body is imprisoned in a social masquerade, tortured by an image of a perfect body, by cosmetics and by aesthetics ideals’, says the artist.

In Bierrenbach’s view the woman sees the world essentially through images already selected by others in spaces fully colonized through merchandises and normative codes which imposes a stereotypical canon.  She uses her own body as a setting for performative practices in order to expose the contingencies of normative identity representations. At same time performing an act of reapropriation and reconstruction of the self. In this context the body is treated as a site where forms of discourse, obligations and instruments of control are inscribed, as well a place of rebellion and denunciation.
The power of her work lies in the appropriation of cultural industry mechanisms as advertising panels, films subtitles referring to women behavior, standardized clothing shops -as in the case of her bride series- and it goes through our relations with everyday objects. Domestic hardware can be used on bodies which in normal contexts expresses the most potential for human life benign. But it also has a double edge. It can easily become a weapon or an agent of physical and psychic pain.  In her group of five x-ray photos (Retrato Intimo), objects made for squeezing, holding up, cutting and penetrating are displayed in the interior of her own body as a fantastic showcase.  Her body envelopes shining iron and steel figures in order to reverse the relation in which ‘the tools writing the law on the body turns it into a sign to be deciphered and accepted. From the instruments of scarification, tattooing, and primate initiation to those of penal justice, tools work on the body’(Michel de Certeau).

Here the tools, in their turn, are reversed into spectral signs themselves which are not presented with horror of blood, fear or screaming. They are re-presented  in elegant and obsessive format and precisely because of  this aesthetic coolness they are made to reproduce the chill and emptiness of panic, fear,  anguish, threats and aggression. Simple and innocuous objects are capable of evoking anxiety and become indicators of themes as death, intimacy, abuse and faith. She explores the body in order to subvert the conception of interior and exterior, pain and pleasure, altering the relationship of artificial and natural.

In her video ‘Identidade’ she acts as looking on the mirror and does a brief make-up. At a certain moment of the flux of images she picks a pair of scissors up and starts to cut her hair to the point of blowing to existence another self,  a stereotypically ‘ugly’. With the help of this banal artifact, a pair of scissors, she strips away a obvious sign of the female sex and ultimately emerging to view in a startling androgyny. Here she emphazises the unreliability of the visual signs of anatomical difference in determining sexual identity.

Bierrenbach organizes an attack on the somnolent homogenization of imposed models of female icons of males’ desire. Hence her practice presents a non-conformist and anti-aesthetic body.  She opts for the power of putting on display her innermost drives and rejects the fear of diversity. In the setting of the contemporary, the body is mutating: hair dressing, tattoing, diets, piercing, all the way out to the chaging of the  colour of skin, the lengthening of limbs, genetic manipulations. Which requires a new registration: an identity in transit. Bierrenbach’s uses of technology attains a contamination between video, computer, photography and performance. This hybridized practice enables her to carry out actions in an attempt to recreate images of her own body as a pretext for provoking questions about specific subjects: belonging, private, public, individuality and identity. In addition alluding to the fact that being a foreigner in not a condition that occur only in the presence of different culture, but also within the one’s own culture, amongst individuals and within oneself.

The private became public in a dimension that the poetic as the political qualities of her actions establish a personal autonomy in which the action allow a communication, a dialogue that can break into the absent relations amongst beings whose existences are separated by conventions, choices and references.


Related Posts

Os comentários estão fechados.