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SORTERRO: while they grew

Texto de Juliana Notari



In March 2012, when I arrived at Rio de Janeiro for my theoretical/practical masters in Arts, I started feeling the urge of making some sort of work that directly involved my body and time. The choice of time is related to the masters having a set limit of time. I wanted to aggregate this factor as an element of the work. As for using the body, this has always been my main tool of the trade. This time, however, I wanted to and needed to create a work in which my body acted directly upon my subjectivity. For this to happen, I needed to have an intense, direct relationship between art and life. My personal life, tough, was in a very delicate moment. The consequence of a very painful experience, my body started to run out of energy and I felt, as the years passed, that I was becoming a constantly numb person, in many different ways. It was from this life energy deficit (from the élan), however, that the excess hair and body hair came to be.
After thinking about many other possibilities of working with my body and time, I decided that the artistic activity would come through the slow and daily process of the growth of hair throughout my body, because the work needed to develop from inside to outside, not in the field of the psychical but through the opaque truth of the body. Destabilizing my body as a way of experiencing new potency sources was needed. There was, of course, the risk of a generalized psychic unbalance, but the wish to meet new landscapes was bigger.
In this process, what I seek for is not necessarily the animalism of the beast, but it does involve the creation of an observation field of the human while animal. I cannot even bring myself to say that I seek rebellion against the current feminine beauty standards: if I do face such questions, this is because I am a social animal. The growth process of my body hair is tied to the need of destabilizing my body. By allowing my body to go natural, I end up making it unnatural. Such attitude cannot be linked in any way with gender politics or the search for the natural. Over the course of two years I recorded, periodically, the growth process of my body hair and as they grew bigger, new meanings and aesthetic choices emerged in performance, video performance, photography and drawing.
The hair growing lasted for two years: it was the necessary time so that the differences in the landscape of my body became actually visible and sensible. This process was catalysed during my residence in Belém (for a six months period, in 2014). After a brief trip to the city, I decided to leave Rio de Janeiro to go live in Belém. The potent cultural strength and the local welcoming energy arrived at a more than opportune moment. This way, I started to perceive the groupings of my work in two phases: the first period, works made in Rio de Janeiro, I named SORTERRO and the second period, works made in Belém do Pará, I came to name DESTERRO.
Through the body and these experiences, a force field and things to come are created, allowing for agencies that go beyond the imagetic. Such possibilities generate different perceptions, capable of producing new subjectivities. It is this way that art exerts the possibility of generating forces that conduct us to places previously unreachable upon myself and upon the spectator.