Urgent Reports brings together works by three painters from Rio de Janeiro – Marcela Cantuária, Maxwell Alexandre and Victor Mattina – for whom narrative is a key element. The urgency in the title reveals a paradoxical relationship in their pictorial compositions: in an era of constant production and image saturation, their brushstrokes eternalize heated narratives on the canvas. As a group they enable stories and characters once marginalized, or not often present in the contemporary art scene, to emerge in a moment of political urgency and of rearticulating voices and narratives.
Marcela Cantuária (Rio de Janeiro, 1991) seizes different sorts of images – personal records, political photographs, and documentary film frames – to weave stories that articulate and depict female characters. These are powerful and empowered women who move between historical episodes such as World War I, in the painting Tudo que é sólido desmancha no ar [All That Is Solid Melts Into Air], to intimate scenes in the series Noite Vermelha [Red Night]. The latter is based on photographs of Vila Mimosa – a famous prostitution district in Rio de Janeiro that has been around since the 20’s – having emerged from the very encounter of Brazilian and Polish women, who arrived in the city without their husbands, escaping from World War I. The artist earned an undergraduate degree in painting from UFRJ’s Escola de Belas Artes. She has participated in group shows such as Que safra é essa?, at Centro de Artes Calouste Gulbenkian (Rio de Janeiro, 2014); and Junho de 2013 – cinco anos depois, at Centro Municipal de Arte Hélio Oiticica (Rio de Janeiro, 2018). In 2018 she had a solo show entitled Castelos no Ar, at Galeria Alfinete (Brasília); and in 2019 she will be included in the group show Pintura Contemporânea Brasileira at Instituto de América, in Granada (Spain).
Maxwell Alexandre (Rio de Janeiro, 1990) pictorially reproduces chronicles from his daily life in Rio de Janeiro and in the Rocinha community, where he was born and still lives and works. His vibrant visual vocabulary profiles scenes and characters usually made invisible, in times of discourse disputes and historiographical revisions. As well as paintings, the artist shows a work composed of thirteen editions of a popular newspaper from Rio de Janeiro open on the page that shows an ad for tires. Maxwell, who was behind the graphic design for these ads from March to April of this year, makes a media interference by gradually changing the color of the mascot’s skin from white to black. Having completed his undergrad in design at PUC-RJ, the artist emerged in the art scene after taking part in the project Carpintaria Para Todos (2017), an open call from Carpintaria, a multidisciplinary space from Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel, in Rio de Janeiro. Since then, he has had a solo show at A Gentil Carioca gallery (Rio de Janeiro), entitled O Batismo de Maxwell Alexandre, in 2018; and his work is part of the group show Histórias Afro-Atlânticas, currently in display at MASP (São Paulo). His work is part of collections such as the ones of Pinacoteca de São Paulo, MAR and MASP.
Victor Mattina (Rio de Janeiro, 1985) approaches painting in way that is similar to a fiction writer. The artist uses images from his Internet searches, softwares, old books and magazines as a starting point. With this compilation, he produces a kind of image atlas of characters from different backgrounds, from contexts that range from S&M to ethnography. His recent paintings investigate relationships between authority and alterity, paraphilia and rituals, highlighting characters that transit through deviation and dissent. He holds and undergrad degree in design from ESPM-RJ. He has held solo shows at Fundação Joaquim Nabuco (Recife, 2017) and at Paço Imperial (Rio de Janeiro, 2017). Stands out his participation in MAP’s Bolsa Pampulha (Belo Horizonte, 2017) and in group shows such as A luz que vela o corpo é a mesma que revela a tela at Caixa Cultural (Rio de Janeiro, 2017) and Mais Pintura at Parque Lage’s EAV (Rio de Janeiro, 2014).