Marcelo Amorim's work can be seen as a revisiting and an 'acclimatisation' of the work of Gerard Richter, one of the established great masters of Modernism - and thus a Brazilian version of the strand of 'remodernism' with which globalised artists are updating the archive of 20th century art history. It is possible to note strong connections with Richter's photo-painting and his 'Atlas' project in Amorim's art, but the Brazilian artist uses a process similar to that of the German master's constant encyclopaedic and taxonomic research to investigate his own specific conceptual interest. That is: Amorim - in a manner aligned with Richter's selection for the production of 'Atlas' - chooses and accumulates images from the press, newspapers and book clippings, and other similar online finds to generate an iconography of the forces that have historically shaped the figure of the socially dominant and politically hegemonic white man.
This commemorative appropriation is done with the purpose of highlighting that the social hierarchy that perpetuates power in the hands of specific groups is linked to a well-defined panoply of behaviours, moral and ethical codes and other practices of defining, imposing and sacralising the dominant class, race and gender in the Western political-cultural pyramid. Thus acting, Amorim's work investigates the often aggressive and invasive construction of the kind of male identity destined to lead within white and phallocentric societies. The central themes of Amorim's work are 1) war/military education; 2) physical education; 3) school; 4) recreation; 5) conviviality. And they are all approached with astuteness and an inquisitive spirit to highlight that hegemony is a mode of social, political and cultural structuring in the West.
Contextualised within the highly counter-current and politicised art of Brazil today, Amorim's work represents an original counterpoint to practices that directly explore the theme of social minorities in a country where recent radicalisation to the right has resulted in new waves of racism, homophobia and discrimination against women. In other words, Amorim, instead of exploring the dimension of the dominated and issues such as the rights, the cultural histories and the need for emancipation of historically oppressed people, investigates - in an ironically caustic way - the ideology that shapes the ethics, the body and the vision of the dominant.
The conceptual rigour of Amorim's production is processed through a chromatic panoply and visual repertoire that brings the works closer to popular culture, street culture and the various branches of the world of so-called 'sub-cultures'. This stylistic inflection has undeniable aesthetic power, but at the same time reiterates the aspects of political resistance intrinsic to the work thanks to its explicit references to social categorisations such as those crystallised in the terms 'working class' or 'LGBTQ culture'.
Amorim was one of the artists nominated for the 2010 PIPA Prize. In 2019 he had a solo show at the Museu de Arte de Ribeirão Preto (MARP), and, Zipper Galeria, gave him a solo show in 2016. Other highlights in the gallery world were his solo show 'Intervalo' at Jaqueline Martins in São Paulo and his presence in the group show at Luciana Caravello Arte Contemporânea in Rio de Janeiro (2014). His work has been exhibited at Casa do Brasil in Madrid (2018) and in Brussels (2017), as well as at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati (2017) and at Kunst im Kulturflur in Berlin (2011).
By Kalinca Costa Söderlund