DANIEL LIE . LIE LIONG KHING . PAULA BORGHI
Pernambuco (Brazil) and Java (Indonesia) lie along the same degree of longitude on the world map. There is line connecting Garanhuns, in Pernambuco with Semarang, in Java. The two points in the life of Daniel Lie that determined this 16,000-kilometer-long line are named Iranlida Elias da Costa and Lie Liong Khing. With a Pernambucan mother and an Indonesian father, the artist is the outcome of this interesting tropical mixture. With indefinite features and a rare, aphrodisiacal nature, he lives in the city of São Paulo.
His roots are separated by a distance of 16,000 km and share a common history that transpired in the 1600s, when both Pernambuco and Java went through a period of Dutch colonization. This historical background is what ultimately gave rise to the subjective union that constitutes the Costa Lie family – a union that is represented in this exhibition in each object, element of nature and image appropriated by the artist. They are memories of a past that is felt in the present as a familial, cultural and affective heritage, conserved and passed down from generation to generation.
Just as the title of the exhibition bears the name of the artist’s father, the installation Guilhermina Esperança takes its name from that of the subway station where his grandmothers lived – both his maternal grandmother, Lindinalva (age 94), and his paternal grandmother, Eleonora (1924–1984). They are memories metamorphosed into art, being thus immortalized and made permanently current. This artistic procedure is aimed at eternalizing the fleetingness of things, even if symbolically.
In his work, Daniel Lie investigates the customs of the Costa Lie family, through the natural wealth of the birthland of his ancestors and their traditions. This makes the mango, for example, an iconic element in the artist’s production. This fruit of Indian origin was introduced to the countries of Brazil and Indonesia during the process of their European colonization, and today it is an important food crop in both nations. In particular, this fruit was always present in the homes of the artist’s grandmothers, in that of his parents, and, more recently, in that of the artist and his companion, Aline Tima.
Guilhermina Esperança is therefore an installation composed of elements in constant transformation, in various stages of ripening and decomposition. Guaimbe plants, bunches of bananas, mangos, pineapples, oranges and limes are some of the materials present in the show that bear a temporal aspect. Most of these foods are displayed inside plastic bags like a sort of translucent sarcophagus. And it is guided by this constant paradigm between death and life that the artist resuscitates his ancestors and honors his family members throughout the exhibition.
The series OPP – which can be read as Objeto Parede Pescoço [Wall Neck Object] or Objeto Para Pensar [Object for Thought] – presents objects of the artist that contain a symbolic and personal power, such as, for example, a photograph taken by his father, a pack of cigarettes from Indonesia, and his own baby teeth. Objects imbued with feeling are combined with synthetic elements (plastic tarp, reflective tape, and rope) and natural materials (stones, fruits and plants). This unusual combination achieves a balance among the aesthetic, conceptual and subjective charges in the works presented here.
The common thread of this balance is the representation of a line. A line able to connect Garanhuns to Semarang, Iranlida Elias da Costa to Lie Liong Khing, Eleonora to Lindinalva, guaimbe plants to bunches of bananas, baby teeth to mineral crystals, and so on and so forth… A living and throbbing line, which moves according to the transformation of the things and is lengthened with the passage of time.