by Daniel Marques

I met Marcia Gadioli a visual artist from São Paulo. She is one of the founders of Casa Contemporânea, a space conceived for exhibitions, discussions and reflections on contemporary art and related themes. We talked about her own research which focuses on the memory and the passage of time represented in the urban alterations. 

Marcia, you told me that you started painting as a child. Only later you turned your attention to photography. Tell us about this transition. and what was your first approach to photography.

MG: I was about 10 years old when I started a painting course. I had a chance to experiment various techniques such as painting on canvas, fabric, plaster, ceramics, porcelain. - Later on, I studied communication design in a technological High School degree and I got closer to photography and the whole process of black and white processing and enlargement. At that time I felt enchanted by photography although painting still guided my choices. Also I did not consider art as a professional path, I was still looking for safer careers. I tried different things, made many mistakes before I realized that only through art I would be fulfilled. Then, I returned to that path, deviated a long time ago.

After taking courses at institutions such as MASP (Museum of Art of São Paulo) and Tomie Ohtake Institute, I joined the Visual Arts course at Centro Universitário Belas Artes in 2004. Through new experiments with different techniques, languages and researches, I understood that photography is the language that translates my thinking, and through which, poetically, I can communicate and express my worldview. In 2006 I had my first solo exhibition with the series 'Europa'. Black and white photographies, made with hypersensitive film (iso 3200) in daylight, for the most part. This was the first significant and representative set of pictures of the fluid moments of life in which I try to grasp and preserve myself. The exhibition took place in the Espaço Reserva Cultural a place in São Paulo, where, at the time, there was a special dedication to contemporary art and the presentation of new artists. Following this, the second individual exhibit took place in 2008 at the Salão Consigo de fotografia, São Paulo, with the series 'Ver(a)cidade', in which I explore other types of films, also BW, but with a totally focused view of the city of São Paulo. This exhibition was fundamental for me to understand my relationship with the city and places of cohabitation.

© Marcia Gadioli from the series 'Europa'

In the series 'Entre' (Between) you question this frantic changes that we live here in the city of São Paulo, as of an invasion in your home’s window view. Could you tell us a bit more about it?

MG: I was already reflecting about personal identity and the place of coexistence when I realized I was in the midst of an intense and accelerated change around me. In the neighborhood I was born and still live in, houses (which were not even old) began to be demolished to make room for new buildings. Many of these houses had emotional meanings because they belonged to childhood friends, were places where I used to play or, for one reason or another, I was not allowed in. Even those who belonged to someone unknown, had great importance, occupied a space, a reference of conviviality in my memory. Somehow I was able to access those houses again, both the ones I already had been into and the ones that were forbidden. I was inside them, I could see how they looked like from the inside, what the room, the living room, etc though they did not exist anymore. This series was selected at Salão de Arte Contemporânea de Guarulhos for an individual exhibition at Biblioteca Monteiro Lobato Guarulhos, in June 2009.

© Marcia Gadioli from the series 'Entre'

 © Marcia Gadioli from the series 'Entre'

© Marcia Gadioli from the series 'Entre'

On the other hand, in 'Constructions' you make cuts of places that in your childhood were points of reference and ceased to exist. Would these cuts be a way of trying to preserve your neighborhood's affective memory?

MG: I think the attempt to preserve my affective memory happened in the previous series, 'Entre'. At the time of the series 'Constructions' there was a certain outrage, a very great dissatisfaction. I felt invaded, disrespected, attacked. The photographies of these constructions are a protest, a denunciation of what bothers me, but they assume a poetic character. The beauty in them brings a pacification. After all, the coexistence is necessary. Photos from this series were part of the exhibition 'Impermanência' held at Belvedere Gallery in Paraty, from September to October 2013.

© Marcia Gadioli from the series 'Constructions'

© Marcia Gadioli from the series 'Constructions'

© Marcia Gadioli from the series 'Constructions'

In 'Containeres' you get the operational mode out of the object and show us its presence in all parts of the world, including housing purposes. Do you think this is a new urban landscape, as we in Brazil have the favelas and buildings that transformed it?

MG: The series of containers appears also because of the uneasiness to stumble upon them in a place, apparently, inappropriate, in the middle of my route in the city of São Paulo. I usually photograph what attracts my attention and only afterwards, I reflect upon it. This is how I established a relationship between the containers and the lining spaces of the city. More and more we are increasingly stacked and living in reduced spaces. There is a great similarity between them. However, instead of being static, containers travel, go beyond boundaries, establish flows of coming and going, dissolving territories and are generally recognized the same wherever they are.

As part of the reflection about the first photos I made of containers, I also found the pictorial aspect of colors, certainly influenced by my previous experience with painting. From that moment on, I went out to look for other containers, to continue exploring the idea of displacement, stacking and recognition in a poetic and pictorial way. This is how I visited and photographed the Pecém port, in Fortaleza, Ceará and Santos, São Paulo.

Different cuts of this series were selected and received honorable mention in the third edition of the Belvedere Paraty Award in 2012 and in the 13th. Salão de Arte Contemporânea de Guarulhos, in 2014, in addition to participating of the exhibitions 'Singulares' at Casa Contemporânea in 2015 and "Photography and Print", at Graphias Casa da Gravura, from July to September of 2017.

© Marcia Gadioli from the series 'Containeres'

You question the passage of time and memory in your essay 'Lugar Do Tempo Lento (Place of Slow Time)', and for this you quote the geographer and thinker Milton Santos: «The way of interpreting what is around me and The resistance by slow time». As for you, has this process of resistance and interpretation taken place in a city that does not give us this slow time?

MG: Reading some of Milton Santos texts helped me in my research about the city and the individual. It helped to enlighten me the importance to live together with the place, and the permanence time to perceive certain características and make assimilations (or not). Like any and all processes, I believe in the need for a time for development / maturation. Since I questioned the speed of changes as a discomfort to me, I noticed there the possibility to experiment another pace and I stopped, I looked, I understood. There are places where the representation of time is different and we can experience them through opportunities that the city itself gives us. Other paces that I experiment are through the possibilities that photography offers me. The film provides the slow time, between the processing and the enlargement. Somehow the decantation of the recorded images happens in the film as in my memory. So I explore different black and white and color films with features that bring me different results. Digital capture is not least important and has the immediacy as one of its qualities, the time is fast, as well as the changes that we experience in a city like São Paulo.

The development of 'Lugar Do Tempo Lento' took place at the time of the collective exhibition 'Tempo, espaço: lugares (Time, space: places), curated by Marcelo Salles, which led to discussions about the texts of the geographer - quoted above - for approximately 6 months. We would meet at Casa Contemporânea and then visit the city of Campinas. The exhibition took place at the Museum of Contemporary Art José Pancetti of Campinas (MACC), from September to December 2015. The square next to the Museum and the partially disabled train station were the places where I perceived the slow time.

© Marcia Gadioli from the series 'Lugar Do Tempo Lento'

Your work process is very diverse, I see that you use both digital and analog media, as well as various types of films and copies with manual revelation. In your artist's book 'Enciclopédia do Imaginário Ilustrado', you add another work 'Cacos de Memória' in which you use newspaper and paraffin images to speak about Brazilian literature classics. How does the process of selecting images and books occur?

MG: I find it very curious to analyze the different results of the resources that we have available. Despite the scarcity of films, we still find a good variety in the market, and exploring the characteristics of each one of them brings better definitions to work. 'Cacos de Memória' arose from the investigation of other materials to support photography. My intention was to take the image of the paper, together with it's sharpness and context. Paraffin gave me all that. I explored the various forms of presentation as a way for the public to interact and manipulate a variety of images. A large album of portraits exposed on a table allowed images to be manipulated randomly while questioning how much memory we can maintain and what is important to us. Yet the use of paraffin force the visitors to handle the images carefully, slowing down the process of perception. This presentation was made during the "Memoriar" exhibition at AVA Gallery in 2012.

© Marcia Gadioli from the series 'Cacos de Memória'

© Marcia Gadioli from the series 'Cacos de Memória'

© Marcia Gadioli from the series 'Cacos de Memória'

© Marcia Gadioli from the series 'Cacos de Memória'

Since memory is valuable to us, I later explored other forms of presentation. This time, more resistent, with wooden frames and acrylic box. The first time I thought of this work as a book, it was for the exhibition "Livros de artista: produção, pesquisa e reflexão" curated by Luise Weiss, when I made the 'Enciclopédia do Imaginário Ilustrado'. My proposal was to provoke the spectator to relate the chosen title among the classics - anticipating that the story would already belong to his imaginary - with an image published in the newspapers a few days before. At that moment, there could be a totally disconnected apprehension on the part of the viewer or an update of the meanings between that image and that title, bringing the novel to the present day, for example. The activation of memory from two different sources was my motto.

© Marcia Gadioli still of 'Enciclopédia do Imaginário Ilustrado'

Besides your photography work, you also coordinate the Casa Contemporânea in São Paulo, tell us a little about what this space is and how it works.

MG: Casa Contemporânea came when we were looking for a bigger space for our studio. We chose the neighborhood of Vila Mariana for its friendliness, tranquility and hospitality, qualities that we wanted for our space. We found a house built between the late 30's and early 40's that seemed to be waiting for us. It already had all these characteristics and its size allowed us to broaden our idea of not only being atelier, but also, having the circulation of other artists and professionals of the area to converse with. So, since it's inauguration in 2009 groups are the most widely practiced activities in which artists come together to discuss contemporary art subjects as well as their own productions. We conceive it as a very enriching opportunity for the production of artists who need to meet with others and discuss doubts, mistakes, chances around his/her work. We also offer some courses that propose to present techniques to beginners or to improve it to those who are already experienced.

The exhibition space was also thought from the beginning, given the importance of this moment for the trajectory of the artist. Showing the work to the public brings new issues to the artist and feeds his production. Thus, we held several exhibitions (approximately 40) with new and renowned artists. These projects were created by us or other curators / artists. We also take notice of the market, selling the works produced by the artists we keep a track of, presenting them to young collectors, critics and curators. In this way, Casa Contemporânea has been known as a place that complements the artist's training and prepares it for the market.

Can you tell us a little about your upcoming projects?

MG: At the moment I'm participating in the exhibition '(des)limite(s) livro(s) de artista(s)' at Casa Contemporânea, curated by Fabiola Notari. This project was made possible by collective funding and was developed by 18 artists, bringing a great new learning in the area of management, marketing and relationship. For this exhibition I created the book 'Limiares' based on my research about memory, a common subject in my work. From observations of the urban changes caused by man, I perceive influences on the behavior of people, as well as on how to relate to others and to their space of coexistence.

The construction of the identity happens from the references and experiences lived in the course of life. At the moment these references are displaced or destroyed, the individual's orientation in time and space may be jeopardized. Most of the time, this compromise manifests itself in a subtle, almost imperceptible way, since people have the capacity to adapt. However, the experiences are cumulative and bring different results for each one, which can lead to disorientation in space, temporal confusion, relational disconnection, memory loss. This book was made with photos I took (between 2008 and 2017) from places that are characterized by interpersonal interactions and are going through considerable spacial changes. It is through the disconnection between the photos that I intend to represent the state of instability caused by urban changes.

Next, I start working on the elaboration of another book that will participate in the project 'Libro de Artista - Libro Objeto: Al CUBO', from Instantes Gráficos Editor in Buenos Aires. This will be a new challenge because it will result in a three-dimensional object. For October 2018, my participation in the "Horizontes Internos" collective exhibition is scheduled at Lasar Segall Museum curated by Vera D'Horta with the participation of the photographers Vera Albuquerque and Rosa Esteves. The main subject is to discuss the memory and the past's creative rise and the construction of a near future. A cultural interest recognized theme, treated in different spheres of knowledge, such as art, history, psychoanalysis and philosophy.

© Marcia Gadioli still of 'Limiares' artist book

In parallel to these projects, I work on the production of Casa Contemporânea’s next exhibition: 'Dissensos', opening on November 11, showing works from the artists group “sem nome (por enquanto)” which have completed one and a half years of activity at Casa.



Marcia Gadioli
Casa Contemporânea
urbanautica Brazil