Paula Braga. Como uma pedra falsa ou um sonho de valsa ou um corte de cetim. Publicado no folder da exposição na Referência Galeria de Arte, Brasília, DF. versão para o inglês: Like a fake stone – 2009 -
Aparecido is a green head attached to a tangle of fake silver. It is named after a saint, Our Lady of Aparecida, represented by a statue, which emerged from the water headless in a fishing net and is worshipped in church. Aparecido’s head is also doomed to being caught up in reassuring falsehood. But Luiz Hermano tells the truth about the false: we use it, we adore it, we glorify it.
May the first to throw away a fake stone be he who has never owned a plastic emerald. We are entangled in the net of consumption; our gods frequent the Olympus of the luxury market while the majority are left to live happily with replicas. In the exhibition “Falso Brilhante”, Luiz Hermano exalts brazen counterfeiting, raising it to the level of sincere lying.
With his original pieces composed of plastic pearls, Hermano refers not only to our devotion to consumption but also to the matter of the authenticity of a work of art – that ghost which haunts the collections of the great museums and causes art experts many a sleepless night – and the matter of ethics. By enmeshing Aparecido’s head in fake beads, Hermano’s work brings to mind another provocative head in the art world: Damien Hirst’s diamond-encrusted skull. A diamond is forever even if it is at the expense of numerous lives in the African mines. Piracy, symbolized by the skull, thrives on our computers, coming out our headphones.
Luiz Hermano’s Aparecido weaves together all these religious, ethical and economic references on the same constructive matrix that the artist has used to goad the art system with the short rod of handicraft: the twisted wire web which marks Hermano’s work has already interwoven toys, electronic capacitors and now holds together shiny beads. Taking a good look at all these elements, which have represented the cells in Hermano’s meshes, one notices the common denominator of the fantasy of creating the new world within a world, which is finite. The pieces change, but the same structure remains; the desire to know the world and create new worlds. Playing is developing a healthy and reassuring fantasy. Making bead jewelry is child’s play. Microelectronics accounts for the everyday lives of adults connected to mobile phones and computers, and is at the heart of 21st century toys, which prepare children from an early age for the web of consumption and technological piracy.
Much of Luiz Hermano’s work from his other series is related to the architecture of temples, which the artist visited on his extensive travels around the world. In Thailand, in India and in China, Hermano found Buddha statues in age-old buildings, erected in accordance with sacred geometry, and was enchanted by the mandalas, which map out the universe. But he also wandered the streets bustling with the trade of plastic bits and bobs, fake toys, computers of a somewhat suspicious origin. The sacred entangled with the profane. So he built large mandalas and heavenly horses with power capacitors, he recreated the outline of the sacred statues grouping supermen and other toy heroes sold for 1.99 per kilo, and now brings us these huge plastic stone brooches.
One of these giant adornments is Banda Larga, a simple mesh made of silver colored chain links, the name of which reveals its relationship to the artist’s 2007 works, which referred more explicitly to technology. Beads, we can agree, have always been connected to the idea of transcendental communication. When holding a rosary in his hands and reciting Hail Marys and The Lord’s Prayer, the Catholic is following a code of conduct for communicating with the saints, via broadband data transmission, which begins by logging in with the sign of the cross.
Contando estrelas features two pendants which are significant to interpreting Luiz Hermano’s work: the globe that the artist tirelessly travels around and that which is perhaps the only god which performs miracles: chance, here represented by a revolving drum containing numbered balls, like those used for lotteries and bingo. In Polinésia, the color of the sea, which Luiz Hermano recently visited, forms the backdrop of a delicious profusion of pearls, organized in a rounded and inviting shape like a satin cushion. Roda synthesizes the themes of technology, toys, divine perfection, finitude with no way out, weaving everything in shiny concentric circles. Falso brilhante, which lends its name to the exhibition, is a wall relief, which looks like a huge, odd earring. A pity, because an odd earring is a useless object of regrettable solitude, like the human condition, which is bearable only when we cover ourselves with a veil of benevolent falsity, which distracts us, enchants us, as we use it as the building bricks for our heaven on Earth.
Aparecido, covered in its fake metal mantle, warns us that living requires a suit of armour of illusion, the veil of Maya, woven with technology or beads. Believing in a necklace or in a saintly statue fished from a river are the veils, which are confused. That is why I never go out without a pair of earrings on and why I check my emails compulsively: some special message, from a god or an astronaut, might bring me the annunciation one day.