The word “balbúrdia” (confusion / racket, in English) accurately reflects the critical moment that culture and education are experiencing in Brazil's current socio-political context. Used by the present Minister of Education to discredit and restrict the intellectual and creative autonomy of Brazilian universities, as well as to justify a brutal cut to its financing, it ended up being embraced – in an ironic but not less serious way – by the democratic resistance to an extremist government that has aggravated the polarisation of the society and the country. Taken up as a new battle cry, balbúrdia has gained life in the public space, in the no man's land where Brazil's new culture war is being fought. If it originally simply described a chaotic situation, today it is espoused as an entropic catalyst to, from that very chaos, potentiate the creation of a new social organisation desired to be inclusive, tolerant, egalitarian, diverse, autonomous, creative.
Curated by the artist Marcelo Cidade, a native of São Paulo, this exhibition weaves a critical reflection on Brazil's current panorama from the work of four young artists from the same city, whose present practice stems from their street production – namely from the more extreme illegal graffiti scene –, highlighting the creative vitality of the use of public space in the construction of unique languages in the urban-inspired contemporary urban art scene. Brought up in the extreme urban and population density – in the balbúrdia – that characterises the Brazilian megalopolis, these artists' production displays a unique singularity in the way how, throughout the years, each developed through his own actions and visual language a social and political conscience that is expressed through his art, a means of protest much more conceptual than merely aesthetic.
Functioning like a wide-ranging and representative sample of the thriving visual creativity that emerges from São Paulo's streets, as well as a metaphor for the entropic transformation that is desired for Brazil, this exhibition unit establishes a free dialogue between the work of Coxas, who is inspired by the chaos and the elements that give shape to the city which are returned to us through objects and sculptures in a subversive pop style with an ironic and mordant reading; the work of Kaur, whose intuitive painting is inspired by São Paulo concretism in a way that extrapolates the limits of geometry in the physical space of architecture; the work of Sosek, who develops a practice of observational drawing with Japanese undertones that captures scenes of São Paulo's daily life imbued with expressions characteristic of the pichação culture; and the work of Thiago Nevs, who focuses on the development of typography and lettering of a vernacular nature, but also sculpture and works of marked political action, with significant reference to the traditions of Brazilian conceptual art.
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