The poetic exhibit of Karola Braga - destined to not be visited due to the pandemic.
A result of her artistic residency, the installation “Life is not a sea of roses” (A vida não é um mar de rosas), presents in a poetic way the inherent imperfection of life in mobilizing affection and the power which lies in contact with the other.
Following a scent trail of roses which spreads beyond the space in which the installation happens, in the Flávio de Carvalho Gallery in the Cultural Complex Funarte SP, one is in the midst of her work’s atmosphere before even establishing eye contact with it, which evokes feelings that are more conscious. We are attracted by the involving smell, which invites us to enter, as if to dive in an ocean of tranquility, a striking contrast to the disturbance in which we live. Here the customary silence of artistic spaces has a reason to be upheld: it is as if the smell already says enough to occupy the space. It’s just a matter of feeling it.
With about 20.000 mini-roses of perfumed plaster scattered among the gallery’s space in varied rhythms, which allude to small waves, we find ourselves in front of a sea of roses - material and symbolic - presenting the falseness of this calm scenery with the statement of the popular expression (A vida não é um mar de rosas/Life is not a sea of roses). On the level of our eyesight, the sentence “eu sinto muito por isso” (expression in Portuguese which means “I’m so sorry” but which is literally translated as “I feel so much”) presents itself as something someone else says while sharing languish in an attempt to comfort, establishing a connecting canal, a way of mutually touching each other without physical contact: feeling is what unites us.
Interrupted together with the whole country's cultural programmation and destined to not be visited due to the pandemic, which exactly thwarts our breathing, Karola Braga’s olfactive installation requires the presence of the body to be fully carried out, it is to be experimented by one of our only senses which is not explored in digital medias.
However, this physical appeal contrasting with the work’s proposal amid the context in which it exists, make the insights which emerge as pertinent as ever. The suspension of physical touch - of the aroma inhaled by nostrils or of two bodies in a hug of those who go to an opening before social isolation - affects us all, and the solace of this tough reality which has impact on all of us is also mutual.
Limited to connections at a distance, presence, which ironically is uniquely carried out in non-physical forms, reminds us of what is sensitive and irreplaceable. And while we wait to be able to exert presence again in all of its potency, to smell the scent of flowers once again, to contemplate art and share moments of tenderness with those we love, we virtually take care of each other from our individual safe havens, repeating to each other in times which have been, are and will be moments of sadness: nós sentimos muito por isso (we’re so sorry/we feel so much).
Originally written in Portuguese by Andréia Rocha
Translated by Alexander Dejonghe
Andréia Rocha is graduated in Social Sciences from the University of São Paulo (USP) and has a postgraduate degree in Trend Research by IED-Barcelona. She was a researcher assistant-curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art of USP and currently works with creative research, trends and innovation for audiovisual and communication projects. She loves arts of the body, has classic ballet training and has also studied contemporary dance, flamenco, butoh and performance.
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