Henrique Fagundes works mainly in the area of video art and sound, bringing his everyday reality and existential experience to artistic practice. In fact, Fagundes merges to his art production his work as a DJ and VJ for parties and events in the metropolitan area of Porto Alegre, and his performance as an art teacher for children from unprivileged and problematic areas of the capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul.
His work is the result of appropriations of audio-visual material found online, mainly on YouTube. This material is selected by the artist according to its relevance as a testimony of Brazilian cultural and social history, as an account of national social problems, of urban violence, and of Brazilian stereotypes (or those created abroad about Brazil). The material that Fagundes extracts from the digital world is used to generate politicised art. The focus of his appropriations is on certain harsh and controversial realities of Brazil, and on the exoticist vision and/or the prejudice that developed countries create from media descriptions of these very realities.
All this is done in an anthropological analytical key, with clear references to the Brazilian way of hybridising cultural practices originating in the great international centres of the West, such as the musical genres of Funk, House and Techno. And, clearly, highlighting this process of hybridisation also implies underlining that it is through digital platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and the use of the Internet in general, that the "global" reaches the Brazilian "local" dimension to inevitably create "glocal" cultural expressions.
While the audios of Fagundes' works create or explore the forms of musical hybridisation and syncretism produced in contemporary Brazil, the visual part of the works is dedicated to investigating the national production of Brazilian versions of pop culture, underground and street cultures as dynamics of assimilation and metabolisation of international trends.
Articulated in this way, Fagundes' work is interconnected; it transits through various domains of contemporary aesthetic production; feeds on the appropriation and re-codification of material resulting from the proliferation of images in the era of the digital revolution with a critical and resistant valence. Not only so, as it also juxtaposes the perversity and the degradation of certain Brazilian social realities with the vibrant colours and energetic melodies of popular culture in the era of globalisation.
Fagundes holds a BA in Fine Art from the UFRGS and is committed to local didactic initiatives in southern Brazil. He has been awarded several scholarships, such as that of the Mercosul Biennial Foundation (2018). He is active in the experimental art scene in Latin America and was part of the 'Crash' exhibition at Zipper, a leading contemporary art gallery in Sao Paulo.
By Kalinca Costa Söderlund