With its title describing a physical action, levar a cabeça aos pés brings together a series of new sculptures, which like most of the works by Vera Mota, revolve around the politics of the body. Although, as a subject of (non)representation, the body has occupied a central position within the practice of the artist, the strategies of its scrutiny and politicisation have undergone a gradual transformation throughout the past years. Stepping aside from performance as a medium and the performative act of production, best characterised by Mota´s studio-based compositions, her recent exhibition at the gallery, marks a major shift in the practice of the artist, materialising a new form of sculptural animism and a new agency, while shifting the instrumentalization of the performative into a series of coincidental and strictly conceptual acts.
The body has not vanished but has been dematerialised and reborn into a new materiality of anthropomorphic sculptures. The form of these sculptures, their context, palpable physicality and suspended function, operates as a continuous reminder of the bodily, which in fact, in many ways, affirms the presence of the body, through its obvious absence. On the one hand the display has been choreographed to perform the role of the figure, while on the other, to construct an arena for it to perform its labor. Through the final installation and the build-up of relations between individual sculptures and their parts, Mota addresses our present-day understanding of the dematerialised body, where its physicality, through the possibility of its interchangeability has been rendered secondary, feeding thus our understanding of the body as a (virtual) container, which accommodates the brain.
The obvious prioritization of the head as a re-occurring motive in the exhibition, despite its assumed hierarchy, is levelled with other elements through strategies of display, inversions and through repetition that suggests an interchangeable identity.
Photos by Bruno Lopes.
Vera Mota - levar a cabeça aos pés
Galeria Pedro Cera, March 8 - April 7