Deja Vu: The Galeria Marcelo Guarnieri exhibition revisits the emblematic installation by Guto Lacaz from 1986

Guto Lacaz, O Trabalhador (The Worker), 1994, cutout on metal sheet, electrostatic painting, 55 x 45 cm, edition of 12 / Courtesy Galeria Marcelo Guarnieri

After having organized seven solo exhibitions in 2021, the Galeria Marcelo Guarnieri in São Paulo closed the year with “Salão Nacional” (National Art Fair), a collective exhibition which runs until January 29 with works by Contemporary Brazilian artists such as Guto Lacaz, Alex Vallauri, Amelia Toledo, Carlos Fajardo, Claudio Tozzi, Dudi Maia Rosa, Fábio Miguez, Flávia Ribeiro, Ivald Granato, José Resende, Leda Catunda, Luiz Paulo Baravelli, Marisa Bicelli, Zé Bico and Boi .

Guto Lacaz, Paisagem com Navio (Landscape with boat), 1980, Acrylic on canvas, 142 x 142 cm / Courtesy Galeria Marcelo Guarnieri

The exhibition takes its title from its centerpiece, “Salão Nacional”, a miniature two-part historical installation from 1986 by provocative Guto Lacaz, whose hypnotic and humorous work has been vital for four decades. The piece is an invitation to browse a three-dimensional model (with our eyes) in an imaginary exhibition presenting the works of his friends. It was exhibited for the first time at the Subdistrito gallery in Lacaz’s solo “Muambas” (Swags) in 1987, with installations, low-tech objects, drawings and paintings. A pioneer company, Subdistrito broke with the limited art market of the 1970s, still present in São Paulo, and bet on a host of young artists, now mostly celebrated, many of whom are represented in the Salão Nacional . The legendary gallery opened in 1985 but closed its doors five years later when two of the four partners died of HIV-related causes, an emotional devastation for the crowd of close-knit artists of those bygone days.

Guto Lacaz, Salão Nacional (National Art Fair), 1986, mixed media, 110v, 145 x 38 x 12 cm / Courtesy of Galeria Marcelo Guarnieri

Guto Lacaz, Salão Nacional (National Art Fair), 1986, mixed media, 110v, 145 x 38 x 12 cm / Courtesy of Galeria Marcelo Guarnieri

Heavyweights of contemporary Brazilian art are represented in the Salão Nacional, now recognized as a visionary and seminal artist. For those who were part of the ’80s art scene, like me, this is an incredible déjà vu experience. From left to right, a litany of visual artists: a small circular room on the left wall by Flávia Ribeiro (born 1954); a vertical yellow painting by Dudi Maia Rosa (born 1946); an anonymous photo of a building; a characteristic striped painting by Cássio Michalany (born 1949); a photo of Leda Catunda (born 1961) in front of a vertical mirror work by Carlos Fajardo (born 1941) that reflects her attractive figure; a black and white photo by Marisa Bicelli of transvestite Argentine showman Patricio Bisso as Janis Joplin; an anonymous aluminum sculpture; a cover of Gallery Around magazine that deals with the concept of falsity, with a George Hurrell photo of Golden Age Hollywood starlet Ann Sheridan; 80s relief PVC graffiti “Frango Assado” (roast chicken) by naturalized Brazilian of Ethiopian origin Alex Vallauri, a pioneer graffiti artist (1949-1987); a Cara (Face) by Guto Lacaz (born in 1948) parodying the famous Cara series created by Luiz Paulo Baravelli (born in 1942); and hung on the far right of the “art exhibition,” a neo-expressionist painting by Fábio Miguez (b.1962), then a 24-year-old rebel member of the all-male art gang Casa 7.

Guto Lacaz, Rádios Pescando (Radios Fishing), 1986, plastic and metals, 80 x 105 x 100 cm / Courtesy Galeria Marcelo Guarnieri

Unleashing his rich imagination, after building the model, Guto collected the images from the pages of the daily magazines, then cut out and pasted the photos on the walls of his Lilliputian event, magnified by a hidden fluorescent light. To better understand the 1:20 scale model, there is a near-full-body magazine photo of a twenty-five-year-old Leda Catunda donning a miniskirt, which was all the rage at the time of its publication. Attached to the frame near the ’80s art muse, a rudimentary little button allows the viewer to flirt with the charming Leda by manually rotating her cutout figure. Guto always finds a way for his iconic cartoonish version of Dada’s quintessential masked in vintage pop culture. It’s Guto who is Guto.

Guto Lacaz, Hi Fi, 2008, graffiti, enamel paint on canvas, 200 x 100 cm / Courtesy Galeria Marcelo Guarnieri

The prophetic narrative arc of the play’s current falsity debate as well as the significant group motivated gallery owner Guarnieri to prepare the tribute. After collecting all the works he could find in the original model, he added other relevant names from the 80s, for a total of twenty-eight pieces. He learned that one of them, “Cara para Guto” (Face for Guto), refers to an old joke between friends Guto and Baravelli. In 1986, inspired by Baravelli’s iconic Caras (Faces) series, Guto produced a tiny Cara in his friend’s style, expressly to fit the 1:20 scale of the Salão Nacional. The current exhibition in his gallery presents a two-meter-high version of the work recently reproduced by Baravelli which below gives a stimulating testimony and has fun with the parody which comes full circle after thirty-five years.

Visible to La Machine du monde, currently at the Pinacoteca de São Paulo, Guto Lacaz, Homem na Escada (Man on a scale), 1986, enamel paint on wood, 322 x 152 x 3 cm. Silvia Velludo and Marcelo Guarnieri Collection, São Paulo

Guto, 73, is in full swing for 2022; he also has five works in one of the main current museum exhibitions, “A Máquina do Mundo” (The Machine of the World), a must-see at the São Paulo Pinacoteca. Among them, another parody is “Homem na escada” (Man on the Ladder), a three-meter-tall 1986 painting that plays Duchamp’s revolutionary 1912 “Nude descending a staircase (No. 2)”, in Guto Lacaz packed. style.

The following testimonies have been edited and condensed.

Guto Lacaz, Colar Volátil (Volatile Necklace), 1980s, Acrylic paint and golden pigment, 30 x 26 cm / Courtesy of Galeria Marcelo Guarnieri

José Augusto Ribeiro, curator of “La Machine du monde”:

“For his ability to combine invention, criticism and humor, Guto Lacaz is at the same level as Marcel Duchamp, Flávio de Carvalho, Alexander Calder, Jacques Tati, his friend Luiz Paulo Baravelli. It amazes me how rigorous it is and how it articulates different narratives, not only in the field of visual arts (painting, sculpture, drawing, etc.), but also in design, architecture, theater and performance. performance. Rooted in his experiences, there is an intelligent criticism that nods to the efficiency of modern life. His imaginative constructions defy expectations with concepts, images and situations that open up several signifiers. An example is his synaesthetic work, “Eletro Esfero Espaço” (Electro Sphere Space), a 1986 installation in the Pinacoteca collection presented for the first time at the São Paulo Biennale in 1987. He invites the viewer to parade on a red carpet lined with two parallel rows of standing vacuums with ping-pong balls in a gravity-defying experience. All supported by a haunting soundtrack, a looping fragment of Wagner’s Tannhäuser. Brilliant. “


Partial view of the collective exhibition Salão Nacional at the Galeria Marcelo Guarnieri, São Paulo / Photo Maurício Froldi. Courtesy of Galeria Marcelo Guarnieri

Marcelo Guarnieri, founder and director of Galeria Marcelo Guarnieri:

“Guto Lacaz’s work is an example of originality. One of its strengths is its ability to combine intelligence and refined humor. I have collected his work since I first saw it. Everything he produces is interesting and impeccably done. In Brazilian art, it is rare to find such an impressive production delivered with doses of humor, nuanced refinement and insightful commentary, as evidenced by its production of more than four decades. Guto is a master.


Luiz Paulo Baravelli, Cara para Guto (Face for Guto), 2021, acrylic and encaustic on plywood and string, 199.5 cm high, 96 x 9.5 cm / Courtesy Galeria Marcelo Guarnieri

Luiz Paulo Baravelli, artist:

“The artist’s social role is to communicate a certain degree of consciousness through something which does not exist but which nevertheless has a name. When a viewer observes a work by Guto, a certain awareness is shared. This empty mental space is called art. The “Cara para Guto” (Face for Guto), which I created for the show, is actually a two-way farce that began when he parodied one of my works by Cara in 1986 for the show. include in his model work Salão Nacional. Now, thirty-five years later, I have parodied with “Cara para Guto” in full size. “


Claudio Tozzi, Aviador (Aviator), 1986, acrylic on canvas, 120 x 120 cm / Courtesy Galeria Marcelo Guarnieri

Claudio Tozzi, artist:

“His interventions in graphic paradigms introduce new premises into the visual field through his ability to transgress the meaning of the image, thus determining new signifiers. He uses technological possibilities and designs unexpected physical spaces where the viewer is invited to move around and become part of the work while participating in the creation of the object. Despite Brazil’s current broken politics, Guto still finds a way to convey his distinctive sense of humor.


Dudi Maia Rosa, Untitled, 1984, polyester resin, 20 x 100 cm / Courtesy Galeria Marcelo Guarnieri

Dudi Maia Rosa, artist:

“He is himself. His works are immediately recognizable: it is about Guto! His creativity blends humor, graphics and aesthetic principles, wrapped in ingenious solutions with effortless grace. I feel privileged to be a contemporary of this excellent artist and beloved human being.


Flávia Ribeiro, Untitled, 1980s, asphalt and encaustic on canvas, 39 x 39 cm / Courtesy Galeria Marcelo Guarnieri

Flávia Ribeiro, artist:

“Guto swims against the tide, relishes his own independent thoughts, feels free to speculate on new ideas. His work is intelligent, critical, underlined by a humorous and questioning tone.


Marisa Bicelli, Untitled (portrait of Patricio Bisso), 1980s, photograph / Courtesy of Galeria Marcelo Guarnieri

Marisa Bicelli, photographer, painter and designer:

“Who is Guto Lacaz? When you think you know him, you’re taken aback, he’s unpredictable. To say that we are flabbergasted by his works is an understatement. In his 1982 “Óleo Maria à Procura da Salada” (Maria Olive Oil Searching for the Salada), a can of olive oil (with a mini motor hidden inside topped by a tiny rotating external radar system). round) spins and spins imitating a bumper car toy on an egg-yellow platter in search of the green salad. In my mind, the wacky system searches for words to define it. Cole Porter must have written ‘You’re the Top’ for Guto. ”

Guto Lacaz and Laurie Anderson at MoMA PS1 where he was exhibiting, NYC, 1987 / Courtesy of the artist

A Máquina do Mundo (The machine of the world)
Until February 21, 2022
Organized by José Augusto Ribeiro
São Paulo Pinacoteca

Salão Nacional (National Art Fair)
Until January 29, 2022
Marcelo Guarnieri Gallery, São Paulo

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