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Memorial for missing persons

April 15, 2009

R. Renno

Rosângela Rennó’s art–which I am still educating myself about–creates a dynamic relationship between institutional images, marginality, and what she calls the ‘universal archive.’ She appropriates state photography and often damages the surfaces of photographs. It is a radical gesture, without any of the exuberant and brightly-colored cannibalism apparent in certain trends of Brazilian art, namely Tropicália. I appreciate the mournful tone of her rereading of marginal histories, especially Imemorial, which recaptures images of Northeastern migrant workers that built the city of Brasilia in the 1950s. If there were any doubts about the fact that history is organic and living, and that capitalism necessitates the trampling of cheap bodies at the behest of more expensive ones,  just look at the current state of South Asian migrant laborers in Dubai.

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