THE INSPIRATION TALK
HI CLARA, HOW ARE YOU TODAY?
Hi Lisa! I'm very good, thanks, and you?
I'M GREAT! I WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU! HAHA.
TELL US WHERE YOU ARE FROM AND IF WERE YOU ALWAYS PASSIONATE ABOUT ART WHILE GROWING UP?
Not really! I am from Rio, was raised here and lived abroad for two years before coming back for good. I love Rio. Sometimes I think about moving abroad again but then I miss so much everything about Rio that I can’t.
I like people and I’m curious, I always liked to read and write, so I went to college to study journalism and then my first internship was in a fashion and culture website called Radar55 but it doesn’t exist anymore. It talked about nice and cool things to do in Rio, what was going on in fashion, culture, like new brands, new hotspots, new restaurants… Then I started covering the fashion weeks in Rio and São Paulo, and wrote more and more about fashion for magazines like Vogue and Harper’s bazaar where I was given a column for two years to talk about what was happening here in fashion, culture and art. During that time I met Sergio, who is the founder of Santa Art magazine, and I just fell in love with the magazine. To me, there is nothing like it here or anywhere else in the world. Santa brought me to the Art world. I started writing in it and ultimately extended my columns in Bazar and Time Out to talk about the Arts. I finally gave away Fashion two years ago to focus on Art as I felt more inspired by the subject and started the Z42 project, a cultural space in Cosme Velho, leading me to my current job as a curator with its first exhibition “máquina do mundo”.
RIO IS RENOWNED FOR ITS STREET ART CULTURE, AND IS SLOWLY GETTING A LEGITIMACY IN CONTEMPORARY ART WITH ITS ARTRIO INTERNATIONAL FAIR EXISTING SINCE 2011. WHAT IS YOUR VISION OF THE ART SCENE IN RIO?
When we started Santa we didn’t have ArtRio and most of the galleries in Rio started between 10 to 5 years ago. So it is a young market here. It had its boom two years ago and is still growing. I personally think it has great potential to professionalize more. We have very good artists here, I think the city inspires creativity and art and the mix between the nature and the city works very well with art and the cultural scene. There are a lot of Brazilian galleries participating in international fairs like Art Basel, Frieze…
IT IS INTERESTING BECAUSE USUALLY SÃO PAULO IS SEEN AS THE CULTURAL AND BUSINESS REFERENCE IN BRAZIL WHEREAS RIO IS SEEN AS THE LEISURE PLACE; THIS COULD ACTUALLY HELP CHANGING THAT PERCEPTION.
Actually most of the artists live in Rio and have galleries in São Paulo, because it’s so much more inspiring to create here!
IN 2014 THE NEW YORK TIMES PUBLISHED AN ARTICLE ABOUT A STUDY HIGHLIGHTING THE GENDER GAP AT TOP MUSEUMS SAYING WOMEN RUN JUST A QUARTER OF THE BIGGEST ART MUSEUMS IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA, AND THEY EARN ABOUT A THIRD LESS THAN THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS; DO YOU FEEL ART IS STILL A MEN’S WORLD WHERE WOMEN HAVE TO STRIVE TWICE AS MUCH TO GET THE SAME JOBS OR IS JUST THAT WOMEN ARE LESS INTERESTED IN TAKING THOSE POSITIONS ?
In Rio we have many women who own art galleries and make as much as they sell, but I think that like in any other market the world is still very machist, so unfortunately I think women have to work harder, yes.
WAS THIS REFLEXION PART OF YOU WANTING A STRONGER VOICE AND CREATING YOUR MAGAZINE SANTART AND THEN TAKING THIS CURATING POSITION AT Z42?
I never wanted to work in an office from 9 to 5. I need to be free, I need to express myself, that is the reason why I fell in love with Art, with the magazine, with writing about inspiring people. I think it’s a way for me to express myself.
HOW WOULD YOU FIND OUT ABOUT NEW ARTISTS?
I go to exhibitions, to openings, I travel a lot and whenever I do, I visit museums, art galleries. Also a lot online, I am always searching the internet about new artists… Nowadays you can see the whole world from home through instagram! We also receive a lot of solicitations from artists who know the magazine, and more over since we won the best art magazine prize at the Premier Print Awards, Benny - Oscar of the global printing industry in Chicago in 2013.
WHAT ABOUT THE THEME OF THE EXHIBITION THAT IS RUNNING NOW : “MÁQUINA DO MUNDO”? DID YOU COME UP WITH IT OR WAS IT A COLLEGIAL DECISION TAKEN WITH THE RESIDENTS ARTISTS OF Z42?
For this exhibition it was Sergio and I. We are always exchanging through our intense work relationship, and two years ago this poem called “a maquina do mundo” from one of the biggest Brazilian poet, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, came up. It was actually elected one of all times best poem of the Portuguese language. We felt so inspired by it that we decided to make an issue of Santa after this “machine of the world” idea where we would bring artists to talk about Nature, Art, their vision on the relation between both, and when we finally came to this house to start Z42, we thought it would be a good idea to make an exhibition about it. So I brought my friend Fabio who is the collector and we did a selection together of the works from his collection which could work with this theme and we presented it to the residents who liked it. Every week we would gather around readings of the poem to brainstorm and exchange ideas and then the artists started creating the art pieces for the exhibition.
ABOUT THE QUESTION "WHY IS THERE NOT AS MANY SUCCESSFUL FEMALE ARTISTS AS MEN?”, MARINA ABRAMOVIC, ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS CONTEMPORARY FEMALE ARTISTS SAID THAT SHE NEVER WANTED CHILDREN BECAUSE IT WOULD BE A DISASTER FOR HER WORK: "ONE ONLY HAS LIMITED ENERGY IN THE BODY, AND I WOULD HAVE HAD TO DIVIDE IT, IN MY OPINION THAT’S THE REASON WHY WOMEN AREN’T AS SUCCESSFUL AS MEN IN THE ART WORLD. THERE’S PLENTY OF TALENTED WOMEN. WHY DO MEN TAKE OVER THE IMPORTANT POSITIONS? IT’S SIMPLE. LOVE, FAMILY, CHILDREN—A WOMAN DOESN’T WANT TO SACRIFICE ALL OF THAT.” ; DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT ?
I think that women artists can have a family life and be as productive as men. In the case of Marina Abramovic, she is a performer and has a special history from her country which makes her art even political, so maybe for her it doesn’t work with being a mom, but as for me, even if I’m not a mom yet, I think I want to have children one day, and I think that when it will happen it will be such a transformation in my body, my mind, my way of being, that if I was an artist this would add sense and inspiration to my work. I mean it is just like any other job, we cannot stop having children just because of work!
DO YOU FEEL THE MESSAGE HAS TO BE SHOCKING TO BE HEARD IN ART?
I think all kinds of expression are important. When you look at a Leonardo da Vinci painting it is simply beautiful. You don’t need to have one kind of message for art. It is nice to have political art, but also just beautiful art. Art that touches your emotions. You don’t need to be contextualizing everything. Personally, I like just simple and beautiful art.
YOU SEEM VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE CARIOCAS WHO ARE ALWAYS PORTRAYED AS PRETTY EXUBERANT AND LOUD. YOU SEEM VERY QUIET, CALM, COMPOSED, MAYBE EVEN INTROVERT. DO YOU FEEL DIFFERENT ?
I’ve always been like this, very different from all my friends who are talking loud and have neurotic thoughts (laughs). I’m just not like this, I’m calm. I’m more of an observer and I use it a lot in my work. I like to observe, to learn, I am curious and yes more quite. This dynamic of showing off and promoting oneself is not for me. I like to have my thoughts, to write, it helps me.
WHAT WAS YOUR GOAL WHEN YOU DECIDED TO JOIN THE CULTURAL PLACE Z42 LAST SEPTEMBER?
It actually happened very spontaneously! Sergio bumped into Hans (who is one our resident’s husband) in the street, and he told him that is wife Katia opened an atelier in the new huge house they moved in together, in Cosme Velho and that we should join in with the magazine. All the artists who are now residents were already living here actually with the idea of maybe doing something together but we gave the impulsion and made it official. That is when we proposed the theme “máquina do mundo” for the first project involving all the residents together.
WHICH WOMAN DO YOU ADMIRE ?
Many!! In Art, I like Adriana Varejao, Marina Abramovic, Frida Kahlo, Berna Reale who is also Brazilian whom I discovered a few years ago and I think she has a really strong work, she comes from Amazonia and participated in the last Biennale de Venise. But also Maria Lynch, Gisele Camargo, Ligia Clarck, Tomie Ohtake, Marcia de Moraes, Julia Kater, Lenora de Barros, Vânia Mignone, Ana Elisa Egreja, Leda Catunda, Ana Holck, Luiza Baldan, Janaina Tschape, Lucia Laguna, Vivian Caccuri and many others...
And then extending to people who inspire me or some how have marked a time of my life I could say Clarice Lispector, Fernando Pessoa, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Monteiro Lobato, Cecilia Meirelles, Jorge Amado, Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso, Roberto Freire, Charlie Chaplin, Mahatma Gandhi, Woody Allen, Bob Marley, Nietzsche, Martin Luther King...
DO YOU FEEL Z42 WILL HELP A YOUNGER, LESSER KNOWN, AND MAYBE LESSER CONNECTED GENERATION OF ARTISTS TO GET AN EXPOSURE AND A VOICE?
Yes definitively! With Santa we always feature well-known artists along with younger ones who are just starting out.
WHO INSPIRES YOU IN YOUR DAILY LIFE?
I could answer with all the artists that we have at Z42 but also and above all people that are close to me like my mom. She is a teacher. I really like the job she does with education, it is something that really touches me because it is genuinely beautiful. I could say Sergio (the editor of Santa Magazine), he is an artist, he is creative, he is persistent and always finds creative solutions to please the artists we are working with…
WHEN I DISCOVERED INHOTIM, THE AMAZING OASIS DEDICATED TO ART IN MINAS GERAIS, I FELT LIKE I WAS IN A DREAM. I THOUGHT IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL INITIATIVE ALSO TO MAYBE DEMOCRATIZE ART IN A REGION FAR FROM THE CULTURAL HUBS OF THE COUNTRY. BUT I WAS SURPRISED NOT TO KNOW THE PLACE BEFORE ACTUALLY LIVING IN BRAZIL. DO YOU THINK THE BRAZILIAN ART SCENE IS STILL TOO “CONFIDENTIAL” TO INTEREST AND ATTRACT A WIDER AUDIENCE ?
Inhotim, which is the biggest open-air museum in the world, is quite known in the Art world and also features a lot of international artists, but it is true that it is not a place really promoted to tourists and people out of the art community. But it’s a shame because it is like Disneyland for adults, I think everyone would love it!
WHAT IS THE FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
I think it’s to get to know people and their stories. Most of the time when you see the work of an artist it has to do with who they are and their lifestyle. The messages they want to pass across their art are normally related to the point of view they have on life and I like being part of knowing their process and intimacy to come up with these creations.
IT’S TRUE THAT WE DON’T TALK TO PEOPLE ANYMORE. I GUESS THAT ART IS A WAY TO CONNECT WITH PEOPLE THROUGH GENUINE EMOTIONS. I LIKE THE FACT THAT YOU ARE TRYING TO SET UP A PLACE TO RECONNECT WITH YOUR EMOTIONS HERE WITH Z42.
It was actually an idea that Sergio and I always had, and I guess meeting and connecting for real with the artists who were already in this house made us do it. And also something that we always do in Santa, is to try to connect the texts to the images in order for people to relate to both. That is why we chose this poem: everyone could relate to it in some way because it is a very popular poem in Brazil and it inspired the artists to create a visual interpretation for it. "Visual" artists connecting with "Word" artists. And during the process we discovered that this poem was actually a text Drummond wrote to dialogue with another Portuguese poet, Luís Vaz de Camões, who also wrote about « machines of the world». So the project definitively created genuine connections and emotions and I hope it will continue for a long time!
WE HOPE TOO! THANK YOU SWEET CLARA! x