Maxwell Alexandre’s Debut at the Palais de Tokyo Considers Power Dynamics in Art Spaces



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In addition to disorientating spatial partitions, the suspended paintings combine real visitors with critical representations of a wide variety of museums, from school groups and couples to individuals. and security guard. These personalities view and interact with painted pastichés or silhouettes of famous works of art, many of which are recognizable contemporary art icons such as ‘s cruel A thousand years (1990), ‘s Decrease in Limbo (1992), or one of ‘s nilaslas Spatial concept works. Most, however, appear as unknown rectangles of beige paper painted representations of ornate baroque frames. The particular type of paper used is called paper I’m sorry and delivers an important double entenre: In Portuguese, I’m sorry It means “brown” and is a term still used today by the Brazilian census to designate Brazilians of “mixed race,” a trace of the country’s complex colonial caste system.

Alexandre’s work is known by his upbringing in Rocinha, the largest favela in Brazil, located in a southern Rio de Janeiro suburb. In these most recent works, he uses many definitions of paper pardo to address contemporary debates about identity and representation, lending his work a particular activist, political orientation. In fact, even the works on “New Power” can make heavy allusions to art history, it’s really about who is looking at art. The painted representations of the guests are all faceless, black, and blonde haired. As such, they seem to represent a completely mixed world, although hierarchies and power dynamics appear to still remain. Basically, the security guards at Alexandre’s imaginary museum is dressed like Brazil’s militarized state police force, subverting the small margin of authority held by museum guards to visitors to the more repressive and extensive state authority.

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