Chão de Estrelas [Floor of stars], title inspired in the 1935 homonymous song by Orestes Barbosa and Silvio Caldas, names both José Bento’s (b. 1962, Salvador, Brazil) show as its main installation, composed of thousand of wooden objects interspersed by steel cables, or “golden threads”, tensioned from one side of the exhibition space to the other, almost at the point of rupture. The installation establishes a monochromatic plain that floats at the high of the artist’s navel, alluding to an horizon and creating a golden landscape.
The show also comprises works that represent the several artistic strategies deployed by José Bento throughout his career. The piece “Xadrez para Max e Marcel” [Chess for Max and Marcel], for instance, recreates, in wood, quotidian objects, in an approximation with hyperrealism, such as in “Banheiro Bento”, when the artist recreated soap bars and drain plugs, pointing towards what was already referred as “mitigated surrealism” in his production. In “Xadez para Max e Marcel”, the artist homages at once Marcel Duchamp and Max Ernst, revealing his liking for neo-dada and surrealist contemporary tactics. In a different room, a set of monochromes varying from red to yellow are accompanied by a wooden carpet turned towards Meca.
Between the formal abstract of constructivism and a discursive representation typical of surrealism, Chão de Estrelas will spread to the streets of SAARA – the Society of Friends and Adjacencies of the Alfândega Street. Approximately eight works will be camouflaged amidst the commercial landscape, in the stores and tents typical of the area.
A newspaper in tabloid format was produced to supplement and record the exhibition.