Solar Exuberance

July 9, 2015

In some recent international art exhibitions and catalogues, 'Brazilian Modernism' has popped up as a new colonial zone for brazil-euro-centric discourses. This, of course, reflects the practice of many artists who chose to recycle some formal traits of modernism (which I personally find terrifically boring). Playing on the ruins of the modern has been an international tendency that mainly affects and recolonises ex-peripheries like Eastern Europe and Latin America. If one decides to follow this trending topic, the art world quickly retreats and becomes melancholic, absorbed in a sort of mourning over a promising past that could no longer go forward (hence the nonsensical idea of unfulfilled or incomplete modernities). It is in this context that the idea of the ‘tropical’ in art resurges today with a paradoxical morbidity. That is, the ‘tropical’ becomes something experienced as a realm of safe alterity, duly registered and licensed by art markets. However, this market-oriented ‘tropical’ is only a necro-kapitalist spectre of the otherwise radiant and explosive SOLAR EXUBERANCE that affects all life forms on earth.

So I propose that we leave the jargon aside for a moment and consider the importance of the SUN and the tropical climate in the plots (and plot holes) of important works of cinema, visual arts, poetry, and other aesthetic experiments that attempt to tap into this flow of telluric and cosmic earth-sun energy. [For the sake of unruliness, I will refrain from listing examples here.]

A rebellious perspective of SOLAR EXU-BERANCE has to do with the construction of other economies, ecologies, theologies, myths, mysteries and technologies. It has to do with a neo-materialism (both historical and speculative) that is concerned with the incessant production processes of the earth itself—OR, Land Art—all happening in our newly realised geological timeframe: the anthropocene.

In the recent past, i.e. twentieth century, Latin America (and maybe more specifically Brazil?) has provided us with plenty of incredible examples of highly experimental art practices that promote a SOLAR EXUBERANCE as source of creative force. These experiments are a departure from specific geopolitical conditions of the colonial/oppressed towards a radical re-rooting to the earth through autonomous and insurgent practices that, consequently, have left future generations grappling with synthetic and programmatic formulations. They are non-conclusive and non-self-explanatory aesthetic formulations that are light years away from the sad ‘tropical’ mimicries that we encounter in some art displays of today—which is probably why a radical perspective of SOLAR EXUBERANCE remains at the margin (as potency) in relation to historiographies of art that reduce the influence of the SUN and the tropical climate to a sort of mannerism.

If you are in the tropics, look straight at the sun and shout out loud, now:


Agarro o SOL com a mão!

Agarro o SOL com a mão!

Agarro o SOL com a mão!