Sunday, 15 April 2012


press release:
Dois Reais
Matheus Rocha Pitta

A solo exhibition by Rio de Janeiro-based artist Matheus Rocha Pitta, at Paço Imperial, sponsored by Secretaria Estadual de Cultura do Rio de Janeiro and curated by Sérgio Bruno Martins.

The installation occupies the entirety of Paço Imperial’s large terreiro [yard] room and uses film, sculpture and photography. Dois Reais can mean both two instances of reality or of the real and two units of the Brazilian currency (the Real).

Dois Reais departs from the urban and architectural transformations that the city of Rio de Janeiro is currently undergoing. It undertakes an archaeology of the present by mobilizing a poetic and critical view this important historical moment. Paço Imperial’s temporal presence in the city is subverted. What matters here is not so much its status as historical heritage or as a relic of another epoch – it is rather the way in which it can be said to persist in the present and to act, ever since its foundation, as a gauge of the historical changes in Rio. In Dois Reais, the Paço building becomes an outpost for grasping the present.

The show brings together two subjects: 1) the demolition and sale, for 1 real, of all the debris that resulted from the demolition of part of UFRJ’s university hospital to a company named Britex; and 2) the future demolition of the Perimetral flyover highway, under which a weekly flea market takes place. Rocha Pitta’s videos and sculptures short-circuit those two extremities of the same urban landscapes, as if they were two sides of the same coin, two ‘realities’ of the same city. And two different scales as well: the unlikely affinity between the ever finer gravel and the seeming irrelevance of the objects that circulate in the flea market – both in the borderline between commodity and waste – reveals how different dimensions of the city are exposed to the same economic processes.

A catalogue, co-edited by the artist and the curator, will be launched in May.

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