The bodies are the works

27.06.2017 - 04.08.2017

In 1970, at the opening of the 19th Modern Art National Salon at the Museum of Modern Art, MAM-RJ, the artist Antonio Manuel, undressed and catwalked naked through the space, presenting his own body as an art piece. Even though he was not selected by the jury, it remained as a protest against repressive actions of the military dictatorship – “an experimental exercise of freedom”, according to art critic Mário Pedrosa. Since then, many were the narratives created around “the body is the piece” – although very few of them mention that the artist performed side by side with another semi nude body: that of Vera Lúcia Santos, a black woman.

Meanwhile, across the street, the Public Entertainment Censorship Division, explicitly prohibited the participation of transvestites in theatre performances and carnival balls, amongst other repressive actions which were executed in order to guarantee the preservation of moral and good customs – reactionary values that are the foundation of the “christian Family”. At the same time, writer Cassandra Rios, had thirty six of her books censored and she was severely persecuted. The TV show ‘Denner é um luxo’ (“Denner is a lux”) was cancelled because, according to an oficial document – “it is toxic for the youth and lacks strength due to total absence of masculinity.”

Since then, a lot has evolved, but not so in many cases. In this encounter, we gather bodies that are consistently controlled by a dictatorial regime that never ceased to exist. Dictatorships that gain new forms, protected by the fallacy of a democracy that serves the white patriarchy. Bodies crossed by normative practices of a class-ridden, racial, patriarcal, chauvinistic, homo-lesbo-bi-trans-phobic society that insists in controlling our affections, pussies and arses.

Therefore, this meeting proposes a dialogue between some propositions of the 1970’s and 80’s and a generation of artists and activists in Rio de Janeiro today – working upon and re-thinking the idea of body- art pieces and art pieces-body as a political tool to destabilize norms and hegemonic discourses. The title of the exhibition, which pluralizes the name of the art piece to bring about this debate, provokes us to set an eye all the bodies made invisible by history – including those bodies not here represented by the way history is told to us.

An invitation for navigation among naked bodies, chronologies of freedom, newspapers, magazines, YouTube channels, street posters, nail boosters, manifests, paintings, banners and posters, necklaces, post-pornographies piracy, cordeis, body practices, self-defense techniques, naturism practices, performances and encounters for affection exchanges.

Through propositions that invokes the thought of dissent as powerful representations of aesthetic resistance – within a movement of (re)visiting oneself at the same time singularly and collectively – past and future make themselves present, in polimorphic proposals that confront and violate normative speeches as a decolonizing tool of one’s body: micro political actions of configuration of astray subjectivities.

Hurry up, please, it’s already late!

Guilherme Altmayer and Pablo Leon de la Barra

This exhibition was part of the second edition of Despina’s  Art and Activism in Latin America project, with the support from the Prince Claus Fund. For more information, click here.



Performance with Vitor Franco – Canal TransPosição.
Occupation Sertransneja with “Cordel” readings (popular narrative verse typical of the Brazilian northeast) and “quadrilha” (typical brazilian dance influenced by French Square dance) led by Coletivo Xica Manicongo.
Bankinha de pornopirata (Pirate-porn) with Bruna Kury.
Alimenta Docuvenda: salty snacks by Anitta Boa Vida and Odaraya Mello.
Pi Kombucha Tropical / donations reverted for the Programme PreparaNem.


Jul 1st 10:30 am
Muay Thai workshop with basic Thai self-defense principles. With masters Vagner Coelho and Fabio Coelho.

Jul 4th 4 pm
Performance: “Maiêutica”, with Raquel Mützenberg, at Largo de São Francisco. Female subjectivities: on the capacity of rebirth, of re-born.

Jul 4th 7:30 pm
Post-pornography: Despina Cine Clube (Despina Movie Club). Curated by Andiara Ramos, Nathalia Gonçales. Chat- Debate with Kleper Reis and Érica Sarmet.

Jul 25th 7 pm
Night of the naked bodies: naturism. Cine Clube Despina screens “A Nativa Solitária” (“The solitary native”), about Luz del Fuego, with Guilherme Altmayer. “Fuxicu e ioga do cu, liberdade radical” (Intimate Yoga and radical freedom) with Kleper Reis.

Jul 27th 7 pm
RAZOR: Manicure show with Ana Matheus Abbade, Uhura BQueer, Vinicius Pinto Rosa, Ventura Profana & Jhonatta Vicente, Frozen 2000, Gabriel Junqueira, Ricardo Càstro.



Exhibition “The bodies are the works”
Curators: Guilherme Altmayer and Pablo León de la Barra
Participants: Andiara Ramos, Ana Matheus Abbade, Anitta Boa Vida, Biancka Fernandes, Bruna Kury, Camila Puni, Carlos Motta, CasaNem, Coletivo Xica Manicongo, Eduardo Kac, Evelyn Gutierrez, Fabiana Faleiros, Fabio Coelho, FROZEN2000, Gabriel Junqueira,  Indianare Siqueira, Katia Flávia, Kleper Reis, Lampião da Esquina, Luana Muniz, Lyz Parayzo, Maurício Magagnin, Mayara Velozo, Matheusa Passareli, Nathalia Gonçales, Odaraya Mello, Raquel Mützenberg, Ricardo Càstro, Tertuliana Lustosa, Turma Ok, Uhura Bqueer, Vagner Coelho, Ventura Profana & Jhonatta Vicente, Victor Arruda, Vinicius Rosa, Vítor Franco, Wescla Vasconcellos e Xanayanna Relux.
Opening: 27 June, 7 pm (Exhibition continues until 4 August)
Visiting times: from Tuesdays to Fridays, from 11 am to 7 pm
Where: Despina
Free admission
Image credit: Eduardo Kac – Porn Art Manifesto


PICTURES GALLERY (horizontal scrolling)
by Raquel Romero-Faz e Frederico Pellachin