Curated by Lucas Albuquerque, “ARRASTO” features videos, performances, and digital arts by Akira Hell, Gui Mauad, Iryna Leblon, Organzza, and UNA, from October 14 on Bica web platform
With the proposal of mapping and disseminating the drag scene in contemporary art, Instituto Inclusartiz opens the virtual exhibition “ARRASTO” (Drag), presenting works by five artists of great relevance and from different backgrounds within the LGBTQIAP+ cultural segment in Brazil. Curator Lucas Albuquerque, who also coordinates the Institute’s artistic residency program, invited Akira Hell, Gui Mauad, Iryna Leblon, Organzza, and UNA to create new works, including videos, performances and digital arts, for the show on the Bica platform from October 14, 2022.
“During 2022, a series of meetings were organized to discuss texts, exchange artistic processes and talks with this group of artists. The works commissioned for this exhibition are the result of that monitoring process, which aims not only to debate meaningful topics for the understanding of drag performativity, including themes such as visual culture, gender and the body, but also strategies for insertion and circulation in the art market,” says the curator.
Over ten weeks, each of the projects will be shown on a dedicated page, along with a biweekly schedule that brings together individual interviews, panels and live streamings, in order to reveal how the drag scene has been rethinking artistic practices within this segment. In addition, the project intends to open roundtables with the artists and in-person events about their practices, which will be hosted at Instituto Inclusartiz. Divided into two stages, the exhibition, whose first phase was made possible by the FOCA public notice (Rio de Janeiro’s Culture Secretariat), intends to transform itself later into an in-person collective exhibition. This will feature other artists from the contemporary scene, seeking to establish a common thread from the practices pointed out by drag performativity and the way they relate to trendy issues in contemporary art.
THE ARTISTS AND THEIR WORKS
Rectification to the Body, 2022
Digital video and photography
Using the body as a place of metamorphosis and a laboratory, the work by Akira Hell is structured in order to highlight the birth of a new creature, where human and non-human meet. Constructed from video narratives and photographs, the project is modulated through the construction of this being: starting in the cocoon, passing to the belly, following through the jaw and ending in the bone structure formation. Reaching its final form, the artist makes the body roam through the streets in an attacking position, challenging the gaze of the other. The work integrates the artist’s research on the production of a dissonant body, in which she uses prostheses and objects as a way of bringing together distinct attributes and uses to human existence.
On Akira Hell
Layonel Piter, 26 years old, was born and raised in Duque de Caxias, RJ. From him comes the persona Akira Hell, a mutant creature that belongs to the night scene of Rio de Janeiro, where he seeks to raise questions about the body, which in his practice is understood as a laboratory capable of undermining structures and power relations that build contemporary culture. Her performance results in an approach that is both sexual and bizarre, where through prostheses, organic materials and clothing, she creates a personal creepy universe that allows her to create photographs, videos, and performances. The body is her object of research: strained in the search for its limit, the artist seeks to merge the figure of the human, the animal and the monster, presenting it as a device to instigate the debate about what is drag performance.
Bucolic is a video performance that presents two characters – a very busy, archetypal masculine beekeeper and his devoted female partner – who live in a relationship of dependence and illusion. The work mixes the phenomenon of non-verbal communication of a romantic couple with the surrealism always present in Gui Mauad’s work. The lines between the sensations experienced by the characters merge with their fertile imagination, which seeks to justify man’s inertia in the woman’s expectations. The video seeks to explore, besides the performance, the images developed by Gui’s hands when making the costumes, makeup and the conceptualization of the piece with his drawings. The artist lives both characters and brings the intimacy of both versions of himself into a dialogue with each other.
On Gui Mauad
Guilherme is an illustrator, painter, makeup artist and visual artist who brings Gui Mauad, his drag, to life, acting at an intersection between performance and theater. In the world of beauty, he has national and international recognition for his contribution to the Alien Avant-Garde movement (STATUS Magazine) and at UOL Universa. He is a makeup artist in training at CAMPI Makeup School and has illustrations published in the book “Quando Você Voltar,” by Michel Cambrona. He has performed on several stages in Rio de Janeiro, such as Teatro Rival, Fosfobox, Galpão Gamboa, and also in music and art festivals, such as the Saturnália carnival, at Rio Art Museum – MAR, and at the Sangra Muta party, in São Paulo. Gui Mauad is a resident performer at the KODE party, where he freely explores his performance art. In his work, he seeks to unfold his persona at an intersection between the alien and the botanical, creating a fictional universe that strains the possibilities of a body in constant transmutation.
In Algorithm, Iryna seeks to expose her experiences and anxieties involving the digitization of our relationships with the body. The term “algorithm,” popularized in these age of desire for engagement on social media, represents the way we mistakenly believe our choices about our bodies are totally free from surveillance in the real world. In the video, developed from 3D animation, the artist uses the repetition of information to build a narrative in which real-world existential issues find their echo on the digitized screen.
On Iryna Leblon
Iryna, 21 years old, was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro and is a student at the Visual Communication course at UFRJ. She works as a freelance graphic designer, and her projects mix from photography to 3D universes. Her works start from her experience as LGBTQIAP+, proposing imaginary and fictional universes through the image. For such, Iryna investigates the digital environment as a space of possibility for the construction of her persona, in which the ballroom scene. The movement was on the rise in the 1980s and has reappeared in the mainstream in recent years, mixed with an idea of “chewed” futurism, creating a universe where the historical resistance of social movements for diversity also provide other perspectives for the future.
What If It Was Carnival All Year ‘Round? 2022
Is it possible a reality in which other people’s judgment about expressions of identity and gender are cancelled, reinventing our social covenants? The project “What If It Was Carnival All Year Long?” is built from a series of photographs in which Organzza, a drag queen and visual artist, highlights spaces where social agreements act and can be questioned. Taking carnival costumes and drag performance to the streets, the artist provokes the way that public spaces are felt, inciting strangeness in making carnival allegories coexist with urban daily life.
Vinícius Andrade is an actor and costume designer from the Performing Arts school at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. He currently works as a visual artist and content creator with his drag character, Organzza, winner in the second season of TNT Drag. Her performance finds references in Afrofuturism, flirting with fashion and visual arts. Through photography and performance, Organzza seeks to work with figures whose references include the field of the sacred, fantasy and, above all, the universe of carnival, presenting them in the midst of the urban scenario. Moreover, her research intends to merge the carnival and the ballroom scenes, seeking the relationships that concern their allegories, visuals and resistances.
Metamorphosis started in 2020 as an audiovisual production, bringing together video, performance, 3D art and music production. The project portrays a relationship between the main character’s living, human body – UNA – with an unknown life form that takes over her body, little by little, in a symbiotic way. Making a coexistence of her body’s changes and its extension in clothing, Metamorphosis has become a live performance in 2022, at the Neblina party, and now it comes back to the screens in the exhibition, bringing a new act.
Eduardo is a publicist, 27 years old, and has moved between different forms of artistic expression during his formation. A few years ago, he found in the drag UNA a way to channel the inspirations that cross him. He uses both the physical and digital environment to carry out his projects. UNA addresses gender and clothing issues from the point of view of fashion, seeking the intersection between camp and androgyny through his “assemblage”. In recent works, the artist intends to elaborate the idea of mutation and transformation as a key to reading drag performativity, investigating different reading possibilities allowed by clothing.
ARRASTO – Drag
Curatorship: Lucas Albuquerque
Artists: Akira Hell, Gui Mauad, Iryna Leblon, Organzza, UNA
Exhibition period: October 14 to December 31, 2022
Support: FOCA: Fomento à Cultura Carioca e Prefeitura do Rio de Janeiro