Paulo Sergio Duarte
Óbidos, Portugal 2005
In A Casa, published by Francisco Alves Editora, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2006
The house is not a house. It is a box from which objects are spit out. The house-box spits out beds, chairs, tables. We have seen a realistic version of it in the State of Paraná. The object was a real house and it spat furniture. Another, wonderfully fashioned version and which for that very reason resulted in an installation-arrangement – it was a mere exercise-, took place at the Paço Imperial (Imperial Palace), in Rio de Janeiro.
In this new version, Bechara takes his experience in pictorial representation and transports it to sculpture. It is a form of monochrome performed in space. These aesthetic aspects, however, in light of the desire for the vertiginous are so small, they are negligible.
Its appearance is less important in light of the force that is powerfully expressed. Who is it that ejects the furniture and objects out of the house? The desire for emptiness, the absent subject, or is it precisely the opposite? The overwhelmed beaten down subject acts in the production of emptiness in a world crowded with objects. Yes, that is surely the way to conceptualize the house that spits objects.
We learn that objects are themselves a construction of the subject. The subject acts through the invention of the structures that constitute objects. This invention-apprehension motivated a marriage: subjectivity and reality hand in hand during the entire construction of knowledge. One day collective forces were faster to act. They had been organized into the social division of labor: raw materials taken from India or Brazil processed in Liverpool by machinery made in Manchester. While, at the other extreme, the enterprising individual was dissolved into technical management structures, and capital accumulated itself in work savings to create shareholding companies.
It was in this history that subject disappeared to give way, instead, to the virtues of language. That language that precedes us, in which we are inscribed regardless of our own volition, without previous consultation to any of our desires. The poor vanished subjects were relegated to small desirous forces: bedside powers, the power of the corner policeman and the bureaucratic stamp, shantytown drug-traffickers, gangs of those born well-to-do. Everything against the micro-powers. While a new power was coming into being: the speed of circulating capital irrespective of any boundaries. That type of physical labor, distant from intellectual labor, that does not produce value, that cleans the streets and washes clothes, cleans houses. Residue of the surplus value excluded from production, looking toward the house for the reason of its empty existence.
It’s the desperate individual, conscious of his existence, trapped in the web of language that in its supreme power produces its own space. A place secured between four walls with nothing to occupy it with. No bed, no chair, no sofa; a house that is a mere habitat. Dwelling place of the being that is sufficed in that which he has to say. That is why this force expels what we see, so we may still dream with the strength of what is yet to be.
Paulo Sergio Duarte is art critic and professor at the School of Visual Arts of Parque Lage and Candido Mendes University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.