Galeria Luciana Brito

Nelson Leirner: Right you are...if you think you are

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Galeria Brito Cimino presents to the public one more selection of Nelson Leirner’s works in the exhibition “Assim é... se lhe parece” (Right You Are... If You Think You Are). The show opening on April 29 will feature 21 unedited works conveying bold criticism to world politics. This series on which Nelson Leirner has been working since mid 2002 seems to be making quite a timely appearance. The exhibition title–borrowed from a playwright as consequential as Luigi Pirandello–advocates irony above any sort of cartography. “Right You Are...If You Think You Are” comprises a number of “maps with spectator,” a series in which spectator engagement represents a contribution to the artist’s mapping endeavor.


In his map remaking, Leirner appropriated maps with which he vehemently interfered through by introducing imagery taken from popular culture. On his maps, the artist pasted stickers alluding to the world’s current political situation and its consequences. Some of the stickers feature Walt Disney cartoon characters; others feature skull and crossbones, the U.S. national flag, and other equally popular images.


The photo series comprises six works (metacrylate) measuring 120 x 198 cm, 120 x 222 cm, 180 x 120 cm and 120 x 218 cm. The cartography series includes 14 maps resultant from appropriations and interferences.


Nelson Leirner’s maps are meant to help situate spectators or, conversely, to misguide their perception. In these works, the cartography features publicly known symbols that, when brought together, render an accurate and intention-laden meaning. In travesty manner, somewhere between simulacrum and reality, the map series is an indisputably true cultural and political statement. The political issue that Nelson Leirner has been addressing in different ways since the 1960s is particularly evinced in these works.


By and large, the imagery Leirner used in his maps is childish and naïve; yet, viewers readily understand the symbolism it conveys. In these works, the artist presents us with aspects of globalization and colonialism/imperialism without ever resorting to pictures of hungry populations, thunderous war field racket, or fiery official rhetoric. Here, such cultural and social issues are communicated in candid manner by the masterful irony, humor, and subversive disposition of this artist who unfurls in his maps the world we live in.

29.04.2003 to 24.05.2003



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