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" Curator does not exist, it is not a being, it is not a noun, a name... curator is a way of being! I do not consider myself a curator, I am a researcher and only sometimes I feel like a curator..."


Since we started our interviews, we have always found it essential to be able to alternate between moments of chatting reserved for artists and moments reserved for insiders. We believe that it is essential to hear all points of view in order to know and compare all the realities that exist within contemporary art in Brazil.

For example, we understood that, many times the figure of the curator corresponds to that of the artist and vice versa. A situation that here in Europe is quite rare, often (almost always I would say), the figure of the curator is totally separate from the artist and each, in parallel tracks, creates and produces by themselves.

The fact always remains that the curator is a creative person, living from research and also bringing to light important and essential messages for today's society. 

Allan Yzumizawa, is, as you have already guessed, a curator and researcher at the Sorocaba Museum of Contemporary Art, MACS.  A visual arts graduate from UNICAMP, he makes the choice to go live and work in a town within the state of São Paulo called Sorocaba.

"Many times I think that this choice of mine was totally wrong, because everything always goes wrong for me here...but it is still a choice of conscience...a bet!"

Sorocaba becomes an essential point of research for Allan, many times centering the basis of his works right here.


Corpos de Agua Vermelha:

When, after his studies, he returned to Sorocaba in 2018, he felt the need to get to know the city, beginning an in-depth investigation of the roots and stories that populate it.

One of the projects that comes to life from this need is "Corpos de Agua Vermelha." 

The research starts from the reading of a book that recounts the figure of the political and spiritual leader João de Camargo, a member of the quilombo* of Caxambu (São Paulo), and focuses on the need to understand the subjective complexity of bodies in the territory of Sorocaba in contemporary times. The territory is marked by the presence of streets with names of bandeirantes* burying, in this way, all the ancient indigenous ethnic groups who lived there. 

Through the discovery of a small church built precisely by João de Camargo, Allan rediscovers a different look at the city, which is not only the one left by the bandeirantes, but the one experienced by the quilombos and the indigenous people. From this discovery comes the idea of creating an exhibition of contemporary Sorocaba artists, with the history of João de Camargo as the basis for this current art. Thus uniting history with the contemporary.

"Looking at the history of João de Camargo and looking at the history of this little church, is like looking at the whole history of Afro-Brazilian culture, the whole indigenous culture, the whole white culture that João synthesizes, succeeding in this way to look at the culture of current bodies." 

Through this research work of Allan's it is possible to understand the problem of denial of one's origins that is depopulated among Brazilians, and that leads to the lack of culture and consequently the confinement of art within the territory, which is one of my biggest perplexities, to understand, precisely, why contemporary Brazilian art has such a hard time getting out of the borders.

Allan explains, that according to his vision, the Brazilian still has the idea that America is the place to aspire to, they must resemble the American in every way, forgetting the wealth they have at home. 

" The Brazilian, I am speaking in a general way, has what we call the "complexo vira lata* always wants to look like the American middle class, what I feel is that the lack of cultural education makes these people erase ( or pretend to...) their roots. Seventy percent of the Brazilian population has indigenous descent, and in this way, they end up erasing these roots and traditions. I think there is a lack of self-esteem in being Brazilian, and that is what I look for in my works. Caipira culture* (from tupiguarani: he who comes from the forest) combines indigenous and African traditions, it has a very ancient root, but here it ends up being a negative term, and so people deny their origins."


Fate sempre la differenza!.jpg

Proposed exhibition for nonhumans: Exercise Ka'a

Allan's most recent curatorial project is Exercizio Ka'a.

Working within a large museum institution like MACS, Allan perceived that he had little freedom to create; he is a curator of the new generation, who likes to take his research to the extreme in order to fully understand the result, and this is not possible within an institution.

"Within the museum I cannot do just anything, I have to answer, of course, to the management. I have a role in there ... but of course I can't be crazy!" 

Only outside this environment is Allan able to get to the bottom of what curating and contemporary art means to him. 

"I love culture very much, I like very much to reflect on culture, to look at this layer of humanity, but not the technocratic or rational part, but the cultural layer, which for me demonstrates our own form of existing and being in space and time, the result of this reflection, it will not necessarily be a critical text, but it can also be a video, an exhibition, a book...and that's where curating begins!"

Exerci Ka'a, understanding what curating means to Allan, began as a critique of the institution, which believes that art must happen and can only happen within the gallery or museum. The audience becomes central to the exhibition, becomes the focus within the exhibition, but a curator does not have to create an exhibition. From this basic idea, Allan created a provocation to the artists, enticing them to create in an environment that is not necessarily audience-centered, and the result was nothing short of fantastic.

" ...think in dialogue with the forest, in dialogue with animals, in dialogue with spirits.... From this perspective, all modern stereotypes that separate the notions of nature and culture are broken. In this way, curating stimulates the creative exercise to center itself in a different environment, and also to focus in a non-human audience."

Lucas Alves, La Ursa, 2022

Cris Peres. Matriz de Cabeça, Rito à Jacoca, 2022. Vídeo 6'38". Imagens: Paulo Pontes

Serge Huot. Presentidade, 2022. vídeo 2 canais. 1'11". Registro por Paulo Pontes

I really found this interview with Allan fundamental, for me and for my career, it opened my eyes so much to whole topics that I hadn't even thought about yet. Allan delicately and intelligently explains this whole world of art in Brazil that can give so much even outside its own territory, but still has to learn how to...

Of Allan we could write a text so many pages long, but then it would lose the point of this our chat, so if you want (and you absolutely must!) delve a little bit more into his work, you can visit his site.

Until the next interview...

*quilombo: a community founded by African slaves who escaped from the plantations where they were imprisoned in Brazil at the time of slavery. The quilombo constituted an important form of resistance to slavery.

*bandeirantes: were Portuguese and Brazilian colonial explorers who took part in "bandeiras," or exploratory expeditions.

*vira lata: is a mongrel dog that has no defined breed.

*caipira: inhabitant of the countryside, farmer

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