An autobiography made with paintings, soft sculptures, drawings, photos and videos at the Brazilian embassy? The new edition of Bienalsur did. Since the beginning of this month, in the art space of the old Pereda Palace (Arroyo 1142) you can see Literature of the self, exhibition by Paula Parisot from Rio de Janeiro (1978), curated by María José Herrera. In addition to being an artist and perfomer, Parisot is a writer, a disciple of none other than the great Brazilian writer Rubem Fonseca (who appears with the artist’s children in one of the videos of the exhibition) and published The lady of loneliness, Hinges and screws and Depart. Through a tour of several “chapters” -distributed in the rooms- progress is made in Parisot’s family novel, which includes the learning of feminine traditions with his mother, childhood with grandparents, a drinking father, an abusive relative, a husband with serious health problems, a father-in-law linked to Lava Jato and two young children who represent the future and the continuity of history. Since 2016, Parisot has lived in Buenos Aires, where he has found a new love.
“The show brings together works that I have been working on since the end of 2016 when I moved to Buenos Aires,” says the artist to LA NACION. I narrate my life through different supports: soft velvet sculptures hand-sewn by me with the help of my mother and daughter, large-scale watercolor and India ink drawings, paintings, a video-performance that I did in 2013 on the streets of San Pablo and another event during the pandemic ”. His pandemic visual log includes fragments of his personal diaries and archive images, and was filmed with a mobile phone. “I build my autobiography, which is necessarily self-fictional, because I narrate it from my perspective. When I talk about myself, I am exposed and even if I use self-censorship in the video, I know that I can face judgments from those I accuse if they feel offended ”. On I pandemic the judicial battles of Parisot for the rights of his children, violated after the death of the father are counted.
For Herrera, taking care of the exhibition at km 1.4 of the Biennial, Parisot “frees the thread of the skein of its existence” and creates a first person narrative. “Those who precede us, the path from childhood, when we have not yet spoken, to the free expression of anguish, desires, successes and failures of adult life,” he writes in the catalog. With a voice deeply marked by her condition as a woman, Parisot reveals her social and personal destinies. Video maker and performer, he balances between the moving image and the movement of his own body ”.
Regarding the title of the exhibition, he is aware of the preeminence of the literature of the self today. “Many times it causes me a certain annoyance, because imagining and fabulating are two of the most absolute, indefatigable and admirable human attributes,” he points out. Until today I only published fiction books, never anything about my life, not even a disguised autofiction. I wasn’t talking specifically about my life; author and character were not confused. Since I was a girl I have been a fiction reader and I believe in literature, in invention and in the freedom of the author to fabricate family and social relationships, change gender, travel through time and space. The literature of the self seems to sin precisely from a lack of imagination”. Some of the titles of the works, such as The young lady finally understood that there are no guarantees and no free lunch, allude to a literature of the self in an ironic key.
However, while producing the works in the city of Buenos Aires and Tigre, she talked with her Argentine friends, the writers Cecilia Szperling and Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, and was making progress in writing her diaries, she wondered whether or not she should expose her life as visual form. He found the answer in the phrasing of Juan José Saer in The biggest. “One of my joys today is being able to read with pleasure in Spanish,” recognizes Parisot. Saer, between distressing commas, said: ‘Others, they, before, could’, something that we, now, can no longer. With his wisdom, he anticipated our contemporary anguish. They, before, could, and we, now, can no longer write books with unlimited freedom. Why the writer’s eagerness to talk about himself? Why be so attached to your own life? Why does fiction seem to bother us? Has imagination fallen into disrepute? Can speaking and writing for others be indecent and unethical? Talking about oneself is a narcissistic gesture? Or can the others be included? These are some of the questions that prompted your show.
The artist tells that she made performances, “a kind of residue from my fiction books.” “Performance was never for me a complement to the book, because I think literature is enough,” he points out. But why did I feel the need to put my body on? Why did I, the author, want to be present? My body is not fictional, my presence is not fiction. Just as reality is not fiction, no matter how many people insist and believe in the linguistic turn: I do not buy it. In fiction I can kill a character and resurrect him; not really. If I kill you, you die; if you kill me, I die ”. The presence of the body in Literature of the self It is expressed both in the sensuality of the materials used and in the tests to which the artist is subjected (the most extreme: crawling through the streets of San Pablo, in 2013, and recording the Stations of the Cross with a cell phone). “The pandemic made this clearer than ever: in reality there is the body.”
Do youLiterature of the self is it a feminist sample? “For me, feminism is a vocabulary, a knowledge and power to name, a dictionary that allows me to understand the social, economic, cultural and also aesthetic mechanisms imposed on women and feminized bodies throughout history and at the moment present -answers Parisot-. I can’t talk about feminisms without having access to her dictionary ”.
Only after an investigation that took more than two years to make the TV show A crucigramist-feminized America In 2018, together with her friend, the Colombian artist Jessica Mitrani, Parisot recognized herself as a feminist. Although he read abundant material about the different movements, the inclusive language generates doubts. “Because we live in a misogynistic and unequal society,” he says. We go from the assumption that the masculine gender is universal to the idea of a neutral gender: everyone. And the women? I ask myself the same question that I did when I wrote The lady of loneliness and she knew very little about feminist movements. When do we name women? When are we going to say all of them? Today we have inclusive language, but when are we going to have policies to implement this vocabulary in our reality so that we can live it with our bodies? ”. Regarding feminism and gender equality in her native country, she is emphatic: “It is the horror of horrors, with high rates of murders of LGBTQI people and women,” she says sadly. I felt a lot of emotion when abortion was legalized in Argentina, a very distant achievement for Brazilian women ”.
Literature of the self It can be visited until December 5, from Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the exception of holidays, in the art space of the old Pereda Palace (Arroyo 1142).