PROFANE SCULPTURE . PAULA BRAGA
Profane Sculpture by Paula Braga Nobody sculpts like Michelangelo or Bernini nowadays. Because in the mind of a contemporary sculptor, Rodin's figures are contorting, while those by Brancusi insist in the essence of forma, Picasso builds a bull out of a bicycle seat, and Henri Moore encircles emptiness with smooth sinuous curves. Thus, the figurative sculpture by young artist Flavio Cerqueira is made of bronze but can be read as an assemblage of art historical references, which the artist reunites without any modesty,very much in the post-modern manner.
No decency at all, and the artist does not blush when he pretends is porcelain that which he in fact molded in bronze and painted white in a sinful mixture of Rodin and Jeff Koons. And he follows in this line of free translation of the past into the contemporary when he studies the drapery of blue jeans or confers high heels to Bernini's Blessed Ludovica. Our age is blasphemous.
In the 17th Century Bernini spread throughout Italian churches his installations that united sculpture, lighting, and characters in religious trances, such as the famous Santa Teresa at the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, or Blessed Ludovica Albertoni at Church of San Francesco a Ripa, both in Rome. In both sculptures, religious ecstasy is represented by expressions and gestures that refer to sexual rapture. In "State of Bliss", Flávio Cerqueira explicitly states the sexual content Bernini used as a hidden layer in his oeuvre. Cerqueira's Ludovica is a small figure, reminiscent of a doll, and the metal is painted red, emphasizing the erotic atmosphere of his reinterpretation of the great Baroque Italian master.
The perfect proportions of Michelangelo's David receive a counterpoint in Cerqueira's piece that deals with the dwarf anatomy. Unlike David, Cerqueira's dwarf does not refer to the classical beauty of a Greek god, but takes the appearance of a pop superhero, with his flying cape, artificial smile and irreverent costume.
Like a child astonished at the fact that Greek-Roman sculptures have no arms, Flávio Cerqueira came back from his first trip to Europe and produced his "John no Arms " in bronze, in 2008. Recently he cast a pal for his Joe, "The Invisible," a generic companion with his face covered who can be anyone, like a Greek Kourus. Two white sculptures deal with the subject of love: "Ex-Corde" has a hole in the chest, and "Everything Between Us" embraces the emptiness. The appearance of porcelain seems to be an homage to Jeff Koons. But it deceives the postmodern eye: they are bronzes, made with the traditional technique of lost wax. There are still those who use it.