The “Tropicália” series is Beto Gatti’s inspirational dive into the experimental forest of the great performance artist Hélio Oiticica, who coined the name of this movement so important to the Brazilian art scene.
Like Oiticica, Gatti always seeks new ways of representing the world and himself, running away from the conventional and, often, using the social and political character of art as a mirror in his works. As an immediate side effect, the objective is to bring forth questions surrounding the creation of the work. If successful, such questions will be decisive in changing the behavior of those who contemplate the art—art as a vehicle for ideas.
After participating in the creative process of the Beijaflor Samba School plot in the year the School got the title of Carnival champion, it flourishes in Gatti, as in Hélio Oiticica when he becomes a dancer at the Mangueira Samba School, the urgency of an artistic intervention with a face from Brazil. In a moment of polarization, not only partisan, but also social, racial, and environmental, a very particular language is needed to represent a country like Brazil, which is the fruit of non-peaceful miscegenation. It is in the midst of all this chaos that Hélio Oiticica’s speech rings current: “Be an outlaw, be a hero.”
In his photographic series of encounters and collisions, Beto uses and abuses his own conflicts with society, turning himself inside out in an attempt to bring into question not only the complexity of being Brazilian, but the “giantism” of being, in Brazil.
A gigantês do ser.
Divided into two parts, Beto Gatti reserves the first moment of the series to explore the giant that reflects the little one; a promise never fulfilled by a civilization marked by singularities. Gatti offers an eye-to-eye encounter with the contradiction of our underdevelopment.
The “country of contrasts” is very well represented by the artist, questioning the perception of the admirer of the work and what is his place in that reality. Through the fusion of elements, colors, structures and identities, the synthesis of art is achieved as an object of everyday experience. This work of opposition does not allow the camouflage of the unequal and is one of the great marks of the Tropicalist movement, which inspires it. “An aesthetic position in the face of things,” said Oiticica about Tropicália.
The immensity of messages and symbolisms explored by Gatti is readily apparent, both in its raw form and in subtle details and in the very way in which the works were designed. No space on the screen is overlooked or meaningless. The complete experience of interaction with art guarantees total immersion in that which is manifested, like a visual labyrinth that ends inside each one.
In the work “Mate o Leão”, for example, the artist takes advantage of the familiar figure of the Brazilian informal worker and places him in front of a thousand Cruzeiros banknote, where a white man printed with the note observes him, representing the selective monopolization of money and the devaluation of the working class. The use of contrasts generates, at the very least, discomfort, which, in turn, is premeditated and essential when we speak of art as the guiding thread of ideas and life.
In times of foreign invasion, Beto mixes the symbols of African, European and indigenous traditions in order to portray a story that the schoolbooks, for convenience, failed to tell us.