CRAC Alsace (Centre rhénan d’art contemporain), in Altkirch, presents "Œil—Flame" [Eye-Spark] is Jonathas de Andrade's first institutional exhibition in France, curated by the Portuguese João Mourão and Luís Silva.
"Œil—Flame" addresses a fundamental aspect of De Andrade's work: the male body. Although critics have already pointed to homoeroticism as a keynote of the artist's work, this is the first time that an exhibition brings together the different ways in which the artist approaches the theme. In this sense, the show aims to reveal how the presence of the male body in the work can be much more than a tool that allows the artist to deal with different subjects.
“Eroticism for me is less a subject and more a temperature for more general themes, the presence of the erotic gaze challenges our relationship with the other's body and all the morality and fascination that comes within it. It is the body that keeps ancestral memories of a people's repression, but it is also the body that carries the chance to transcend, and release this burden in a full exercise of freedom”, summarizes the artist.
"Œil—Flame" has a dual focus. On the one hand, it addresses the role of men, of their bodies, investigating its entire erotic dimension, as we can perceive it in "The Fish" (2016), an acclaimed video, shown at the New Museum and MCA, in Chicago; and in "Posters for the Museu do Homem do Nordeste" (2013), in which the body is explicitly revealed. In other works, the approach is made by the body traces. "Working up a sweat" (2014) brings together 120 t-shirts used by workers from the most diverse areas, still carrying their scents and sweat marks, while the clay torsos of "Lost and Found" (2020) wear swimming trunks forgotten in a club.
On the other hand, the show addresses the spaces where these bodies connect, investigating how these secret meeting points helped in the construction of a homoerotic gaze capable of embracing nuances of a desire that can sometimes be conflicting and contradictory. Examples of this are "2in1" (2010), and "The Club" (2010), a photographic series that shows us a deactivated club, which has become a space for casual sexual encounters.
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