quarta-feira, novembro 13, 2013


Hilário Mertz*

 “Art is a lie that makes us understand the truth”

For those who believed art was dead, the time to review their concepts is now. Not only is art alive, but renewed. It resurges, thus, from the ashes, like a radiant Phoenix, animated in its core by the young multimedia artist César Munhoz, who brings us his alter ego as a character and makes him his truth. Sounds like a lot? It is still little and he can more, for he is the MITOMANOTM. My-tho-man-i-ac: my “the man I act”! Art, as it is known, is not only the magic of the appearing of images. Nor is it the quality of the good performance. We have lost the halo, in the past. Beauty has already been twisted by Expressionism. Vanguard has vanished. What is left? Globalized negotiations. The big art fairs. Business. And it is by desperately going all-in at the prospect of breaking through to the other side of the mirror that the artist’s narcissism reflects itself and inflicts itself harm, for there is no compromising the plunge into deep waters once the pool of water is always more accessible. The formula is simple and unlikely, one might say, even impossible: to merge GG Allin’s suicidal punk rock with mellow teen popstar Justin Bieber. Irony and cynicism. Narcissism and self-mutilation. “If it were to make sense, I’d join the army”, MITOMANOTM would say, always in the first person.

The first problem to be faced, then, before the circulation of the work, is that which takes into consideration the world’s surface. As a pool of water, mirror and culture. And, in this respect, César bears no guilt. He openly declares himself to be Pop, par excellence: “my influences are Madonna, Technotronic…” His performances speak for themselves. Gadgets that make effects melt into the beat of the tambourine to produce a love song dedicated to the overweight. Isn’t it cute? Have you ever imagined a cute mirror? The MITÔMANOTM has not only imagined it but also felt it! His performatic worries are post-modern. He knows that surfaces may shine. And, by reflection, make the light irradiate until it sets everything around it on fire. The important thing, however, is the transformation of this melting pot of references which are contrasting in language. And this, after the compulsion, can only be explained directly, as does César: “a damned fear of not being an artist”.

Hint: first comes the work, from it stems the theory. Therefore, at the same time he asks the spectator for reception, he also has fun with the booing. Cross the mirror, transcend? Nothing like that. Just like abstract painting speaks of itself, César’s art, speaks of itself, with itself, but not of the world. In the world.
The second point, here, belongs to the order of discourses. As Rancière puts it, in The Distribution of the Sensible, one needs to distinguish “fiction” from “falseness” and “historic construction” from “historic phenomenon”, bringing back the debate about mimeses, between Plato and Aristotle, who understood that such concept, in art, did not mean a copy of the ideal, because “the ordaining of actions of a poem does not mean the making of a simulacrum. It is a game of knowing which takes place in a given time-space”. Therefore, “to pretend is not to propose shams, but to elaborate intelligible structures” because “the construction of poetry is more of a game of language signs than an illustration”. This way, the MITOMANOTM’s monkey businesses are not gratuitous provocations, but a way of building in-the-flesh visual narratives where the use of video projections and authorial songs become the means where language operates. The fact that he uses himself as the protagonist of his plot does not mean a limitation of possibilities, on the contrary, his angels and demons evoke our own, as well. Hence the discomfort that his work may cause. Better, in these cases, instead of avoiding, it is more correct to notice how we are one and anyone in the other who speaks of themselves, of their own singularities.

A third issue to be dealt with about César Munhoz’s work has to do with the provocations put forth by the performatic act, leading us to think of whether he acts thus driven by the cruel desire of debauchery or of language? And, if it is so, how much of irony and cynicism there is in this act. For that, we must take the word mythomaniac for its dictionary definition: the compulsive liar. And what does the artist do? Rather: what the artist does! Yes, nothing exists and, all of a sudden, the spectator, the public, becomes the object of a plot from which they cannot return any longer without the acquired experience, incorporated to what they are. When giving himself as a loving, romantic being, what is given is with the body of the artist or with the evanescent body of art? A flirtatious doll substitutes the artist, but it is not him who is there any longer. It is the construction of a situation. The construction of a myth. Therefore, the artist plays an artist and takes us back into the game. We may consider that the reality is a precarious, ephemeral, and contextual construction, but not the game, because it constitutes who we are. We are always playing. 

And, because we are needy of love, we always play. It is the case of the performance “Eu não sei nada sobre a guerra” (“I don’t know anything about the war”). When declaring himself not guilty, immediately ceases to be it. When occupying, with a performatic act, the empty floor of the 28th São Paulo Biennial, which was meant to remain spotless, he brings the confrontation into the open. When finding allies to his subversive, unpredicted action, he invents an army. It all seems, this way, very elaborate. And it is. But it is all improvisation. A constant taking of risks that the artist puts himself to be able to expose his uneasinesses. To feel what is the limit between what is art and what he is behind a technical apparatus on the stage. In the end, it does not matter if it is art. The art label, by the way, may camouflage a confession of principles and hide the softness of the encounter between people and the world around th
em. This world is not mirror, as it is not a big museum. And the only thing that is guaranteed in this game is knowing that the possibility of the experience is unique. The uniqueness, while joining us, allows us to be what we are. That is, produces differences. It is neither much nor little. It is a way of inventing oneself for the desire of Being and be(am)ing. To shine like a star: that is the thing!

*Pseudonym of Rubens Pileggi Sá

November 12th to December 21st 2013
From Monday to Friday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Special times on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, check mitomano.com
Opening November 12th 7 p.m.

Shows and performances
November 12th and 15th
December 12th
8 p.m.

Catalog release
December 12th 2013 7 p.m.

Bicicletaria Cultural
226 Presidente Faria Street
Curitiba, PR Brazil
41 3153 0022
Free Admission

Project undertaken with the help of
Prefeitura Municipal de Curitiba (Curitiba’s City Hall)
Fundação Cultural de Curitiba (Curitiba’s Cultural Foundation) -
Programa de Apoio e Incentivo à Cultura (Program for Support and Promotion of Culture)

Character, performances, songs, stage design and videos created by César Munhoz
Curatorship Rubens Pileggi as Hilário Mertz
Curatorship of Process Rafaela Tasca
Direction of Production Luiz Roberto Meira
Audiovisual Production Harlequin Films
Production Assistant Gilmar Rodrigues
Graphic Design Jack Silva/katitu.com.br
Costumes Heroína – Alexandre Linhares
Guest musician Luiz Barz
Translation Brazilian Portuguese – English Raul Campos Satyro