Michel Rein

Maria Thereza Alves

01 Feb - 29 Mar 2014

Beyond the Painting / Unrejected Wild Flora , Michel Rein, Paris, 2014
Beyond the Painting / Unrejected Wild Flora
1 February - 29 March 2014

Michel Rein’s gallery is proud to present the second solo exhibition of Maria Thereza Alves at the gallery after « ConstructedLandscapes » (2009). This exhibition will present a video work Beyond the Painting and a new serie of paintings Unrejected Wild Flora(acrylics on paper).

Beyond the Painting (2011) is a 24-minute video for which thirty womenreinterpreted postures of female nudes in French painting. One after theother, they enter the frame, position their bodies, freeze in the pose foralmost a minute, then leave the stage-like space to make room for the nextwoman. The presentation is sober. One or two lengths of dark blue velvethighlight the physical and carnal presence of the models. This videopasses through the pictorial history of the female nude from the 17thcentury to the 19th, and invites us to question representations of women’sbodies and the way they have contributed to a fantasized construction ofthe Other. It actually pays special attention to representations of the“indigenous” or “native” woman (like the odalisque—that virgin slave inharems), while at the same time establishing links with representations ofthe female nude in a more general manner.Beyond the Painting exposes the fact that sexuality, like the many differentfantastic configurations of desire, is a stage on which power is incarnated,circulates and is wielded in a precarious manner, redefining power plays,and territories of sexuality, re-signifying fantasies (hetero-racial sexualityoffering another version of the domination/submission fantasy) and reinventingidentities as identifications.”

Unrejected Wild Flora is a new series of paintings by Maria Thereza Alves,which joins previous projects focused on the amalgam composed bynature, history, and culture, such as Seeds of Change (1999-ongoing),Wake (Berlin 2000 and Guangzhou 2008), or The Return of the Lake (2012).Recently, a colony of wild plants (normally considered weeds) grew up inthe garden that the artist takes care of on a terrace. Some wereparticularly beautiful and, contrary to the usual customs, they were notexterminated right away, but instead stayed living there. Back from a trip, however, Alves found the plants uprooted and tossed allover the place: someone saw them as a threat to the other plants, with more “pedigree”, and had pulled them up without hesitation.This little incident, although apparently banal, is reinterpreted and transformed within the frame of Unrejected Wild Flora as arepresentation of the gradual alienation of nature upon which Western civilization seems embarked upon. Through a group ofpaintings and a photograph Alves reminds us of the reality of these punished weeds as well as enhancing their grace. Alves attemptsto maintain the delight that they give as well as their vitality by creating a work which addresses our insatiable anthropocentrism, andinvites to reflect on a destiny which will be shared, or won’t be.” **

Maria Thereza Alves (Brazil, 1961) has recently exhibited at the musée d’Art contemporain Marseille, MAC (2013), Taipei Biennale(2012), Serpentine Gallery (2011), Kunsthalle Basel (2010), São Paulo Biennial (2010), Lyon Biennal (where she received theFrancophonie prize) (2009), Guangzhou Triennal (2008) and Prague Biennal (2008)Maria Thereza Alves participated in dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (2012)

*Emmanuelle Chérel, director of the research project Pensées archipéliques (Archipelic Thinking) at The Nantes School of Art
**Pedro de Llano, art critic and curator, January 2014

Tags: María Thereza Alves