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Élcio Yoshinori Miazaki aka Élcio Miazaki is a Brazilian artist and architect who is somewhat atypical of the artists we have interviewed in the past.

Meanwhile, what struck me about him is his calm and gentle manner, which totally contrasts with his work.

Extremely tidy as only an architect can be, Elcio in his art projects tells about the body and everything to do with it, dealing with the themes of memory, the everyday, and the dependence of one on the other in order to exist.

His latest projects, however, focus on an accurate, terribly topical issue that also has a precise context that is very much felt by the artist, so much so that he meticulously researches the details. 

Born between the 1970s and 1980s, Elcio lived through the military dictatorship in Brazil, and this memory has remained deeply rooted in him, so much so that it has become the center of his research. But the dictatorship is not only seen by the artist as a political issue, but also as one that focuses on the archetypal male figure, the central point of the entire study.

Illusions is precisely about memory and the figure of the soldier: the main action is that of the artist's research, like an archaeologist digging through time looking for tools and objects from the military era. These objects are carefully placed in space and become other than what they were designed for. Thus we find, for example, a Phenachistoscope illustrating soldiers' training, or a military first aid manual evoking reflections. But also photographs of the military's playful moments, their uniforms and everyday objects. All carefully placed so as to create the illusion of what they could have been and no longer are.

But militarism was also censorship, and this is precisely what the work Batalhão is about: an installation of several white paper envelopes, those commonly used to send letters, which are carefully placed on the floor side by side, accompanied by a single vintage envelope placed on a wall, which bears the inscription "opened by censorship"; all other envelopes are empty and occupy the entire space of the room, preventing circulation. The main intent is to remember the countless letters that were violated by the censorship of the dictatorial era and prevented the circulation of information in the country.

What interested me most about Elcio's work, however, was the insight he makes through the militarism of the male archetype.

Art speaks very little about the male figure; it is inevitably seen as negative, but is that really the case? I've been wondering a lot about this lately: as a woman, when might it be important to delve deeper into the exploration of the male figure in art?

Men are strength and masculinity, they have to be otherwise they are labeled in another way and therefore it is essential for them to demonstrate firmness in their actions.

Elcio has done a wonderful work on this, it is called C.Q.D. (como se queria demonstrar), a video installation showing two pairs of men (one of former soldiers and one of normal men) reproducing the movements illustrated in military first aid manuals. The intent was to see if the physical reaction was the same as that illustrated by the manual drawings and how this reaction occurred between two people who had military training and two who had not had this type of training.


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What Elcio told me, with a smile on his face, was that the non-military couple put a lot of force and vehemence into the exercises, as if to show that being men they had to have this kind of behavior, when in reality, demonstrated by those who knew the training, very little force had to be put in, it took lightness and technique. But not only that, another factor Elcio observed was the distinction between "rescuer" and "victim." In the case of ex-servicemen, the one who acted as rescuer followed this role in virtually all procedures except for one, that of 'resuscitation' (or mouth-to-mouth respiration). In the video, the rescuer of the former soldier couple, who was of an age in line with the era when this breathing was no longer recommended, requested a role reversal. The other former soldier, as an older man, had undergone specific training in the army and was, therefore, able to simulate the procedure in front of the camera. The other pair of men, on the other hand, requested a relay in procedures that required great physical exertion. But it was not just a matter of physical endurance. The 'rescuer' of the first pair always tried to play the role assigned to him from the beginning, revealing a behavior in carrying out 'orders' without questioning them, while the other two did not...

Rigor, then, given by military training, also leads inexorably to persistence in one's role.

But to this day, for our men, how important can this rigor be? How deeply rooted is the vehemence a man must have to be treated and thought of as such? How important is the man's role and how much does society influence this?

You be the judge........

I would like to deeply thank Elcio for his time, his patience in telling his story, and his help with our project!

To learn more about Elcio's work, which goes way beyond what I have recounted here, please visit his site.

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