top of page


by Clarissa Diniz

Almost 40 years separate two broken pieces of Brazilian art: the project Da Quebrada (2018), by Gu da Cei, and the PN28 Nas Quebradas (1979), by Hélio Oiticica. Along with time, some of the language choices of each work are also distanced - such as the prepositions, pronouns and the singularity/plurality that indicate the Quebrada as the place to which one belongs (Da Quebrada) or as places where one passes (Nas Quebradas) -, evidence of the heterogeneity of the social contexts of the production of the two works.

In the 1970s, driven by the critique of bourgeois modernity, Oiticica's penetrable proposed a stony, narrow and skewed spatiality, informed by the architecture of the favelas ("favela architecture that is limitless/os tiozinho, Niemeyer dos madeirite", as he updates the rapper Inquiry). In turn, it is not the space, but the subject, that is the protagonist of Da Quebrada. While PN28 implied a non-specific body, albeit in a state of attention given the physically and symbolically vertiginous experience of the penetrable, Gu da Cei's project relies on the planar spatiality of photography to escape the adjective dimension of the periphery and, in another direction, point to its substantive character. Portrayed and later revealed in cyanotype, they are self-determined individuals, with names, bodies, faces and unique performativities (such as MC Debrete or Pietra Sousa), who, through lambe-lambes, permeate the streets: in particular, those of Ceilândia, largest city in the Federal District, the gorge from which they come or from which they act in this world.

The da Cei project politicizes the expressions of that place, occupying it according to its own interests and strategies. Thus, it points to the importance of reacting to the appropriation, exploitation and aestheticization of the other and the periphery, a constant risk of art in its urgency of engagement in the struggles against inequality and social violence. Such ethical and aesthetic precision is reflected in the other artists who, in this edition of TRANSBORDA, are also attentive to the challenges and contradictions of the "adversity we still live in" (HO): Alice Lara, Cecilia Bona, Cléo Alves Pinto, Diego Bresani, Hilan Bensusan, José de Deus, Kabe Rodrigues, Laura Fraiz-Grijalba, Raquel Nava and Rodrigo de Almeida.

His works do not, however, duplicate the agenda of social movements or even the struggle strategies of activism. Therefore, they bring to art not only the issues related to racialized and sexualized bodies that are the agenda of these movements, but also subjectivities, sensibilities and non-normative perceptual experiences that are equally violated by capitalism and that, sometimes, survive from their remains. The infixity between the human and the animal, the ordinariness or the vestige of consumption that is reinvented as subjectivity and ornament, the exercises of critical wandering, the analytical and fictional dimension of the digital universe and social networks, stand out. editorial thinking that cuts and reenacts history and intimate narratives: aspects that tension and elucidate social experience from untrained perspectives.

So it is that, in this intertwining of artists from the Federal District region, something seems to be moving shrewdly and slowly from place, forcing transformations in traditions and historical centralities - like someone who, from the broken, erupts and redraws edges: overflowing inward is not expand but occupy. As Hilan Bensusan warns us in The Wanderer on the Plane (2013), "the wanderer arrives, he's coming. He's paving the way, he's taking place. Everything that happens takes place. (...) The plan is a crossroads , an immense crossroads: As a crossroads of everything that happens. A crossroads of everything that takes place, the huge crossroads of the existing. (...) Everyone exists in some way at this crossroads. Everyone. Everyone. Everyone! wanderers! Everything there is."


bottom of page