Pour the Sun on My Tongue
29. May 2021 – 31. July 2021
Curated by: Tereza de Arruda
Opening: 28. May 2021 – 14:00 till 19:00
Kogan Amaro Gallery Zurich
Löwenbräukunst, Limmatstrasse 270
8005 Zürich, Switzerland
Pour the Sun on My Tongue is an important milestone in the recent and intense artistic journey of Rafaella Braga. It is her first solo Exhibition, presenting works developed between 2019 and 2021 in her studio based in’ Berlin, where she has been residing since 2018, including also a site specific installation in the Gallery Kogan Amaro in Zurich. She decided to leave her hometown of Goiânia, located in mid-west Brazil, for Berlin. She was ambitious to explore a certain socio-cultural context, that would enrichen her formation, development and recognition in the context of contemporary art. During her adolescence, she already looked for art as a way of expressing life and extending her existence. She entered art through graffiti. She started with tagging in a distinctive, cryptic style varying between classics and typography easily accessible and recognizable, by its lettering and calligraphy. The idea of belonging, conquest and demarcation of territory started with street language and was supported by groups and trends in this local scene. At that time, collective action eased the commitment and responsibility of a solo performance. What would be inevitable! She was first confronted with paintings with the intention to bring the street’s pictorial act into the internal space. At the start, she lacked inspiration and motivation to paint in a conventional way. She did not feel as though it represented her, while she felt an affinity to the graffiti people in their way of thinking. They attended and acted in the same space intending to show that human beings exist and would not be simply erased, which often happens with graphite that has its essence in ephemerality.
After this first experience with a strong collective streak, she was interested in experiencing an immersion in a more subjective and individual production. The street was, again, important in this introspective process, not as a showcase, but as a place to search for unusual materials to be used as a support for her artistic production. Urban waste such as wood, door, discarded canvases, fabric, remains of wall paint were re-appropriated by the artist to create her first works still in an intimate environment at home. When she started painting indoors, she explored the abstract representation with circles and organic forms as an exercise to loosen the line and at the same time extrapolate the fear of creating. It was at the local state art school between 2012 and 2016 that she gained the opportunity to explore other artistic practices such as clay sculpture, theater, dance and drawing, empowering and enabling her creative impetus. Between 2016 and 2018, she studied Art at the Federal University of Goiânia, certain that this was not the premise to satisfy her artistic demand and decided to move to Berlin.
Pour the Sun on My Tongue presents a selection of Rafaella`s first production in Europe. A symbiosis between figures and writing dominates her paintings in large scale. The dimension of the works makes it possible to experience another perspective in the world of giants in which the artist is involved. According to the artist’s testimony: “Writing is an annunciation of the figure telling how it feels. A sincere dialogue in which the writing gives some textual hints as a guide for the conception of the images. The artist as an instrument to perform a task. Writing as a form of projection, manifestation, repeats phrases that end up becoming a mantra, an anchor to support and guide the process of creation”.
Much of the pictorial conception comes from the vitality of the paint used. The colors refer to nature and memories of the sun, light, sky of her home. Goiânia is located in the Cerrado, the second largest Brazilian biome and is also covered by bands of tropical forest. The colors she uses, such as green, pink, turquoise, orange, black and beige, not only act as a background or image fillers, but act also as part of the foreground, pouring out fluidly as if it would cover the figure – a blanket of paint giving warmth to representativeness. The support of the monumental paintings remains true to the principles adopted by the artist at the beginning of her artistic experiments. She does not make use of a conventional screen mounted on a chassis. The surface she creates is a patchwork of separated pieces of canvas, fabrics and other elements that create a random, informal support impregnated with repairs from visible seams like scars from a body demarcated by wear and tear, re-use, re-cycling, re-vitalizing. The structural composition refers to several pieces of a body to be joined together like the construction of the self-based on several pieces like a patchwork of random pieces forming a whole human being.
The representation is dominated by a central figure. This can be seen as an auto-biographical character, but genderless. For Rafaella Braga her creative input and output is neutral, free to interpretation and immune to clichés and stereotypes. The lines, volume and shadow of its body are marked by a wide brush customized by herself. Static, falling, inclined, wrapped around itself this created being, refers to the immersion of the duality between artist-protagonist concentrated in her universe. The serene nuance of her feature is not confronted with the eye and the presence of the observer.
Rafaella Braga’s debut is essential, not only for herself, but also for the entire audience experiencing it as the pronouncement of a tip of an iceberg. Her journey to be carried out in the place of her choice is impregnated with testimonies from the main exponents of the arts and contemporary movements, such as postmodernism, neo-expressionism, post globalization and post-colonial discourse.
Pour the Sun on My Tongue marks the begin of a long journey!
Tereza de Arruda, Berlin
Learn more about the artist
Goiania, Brazil – 1998
Lives and works in Berlin, Germany
Born in Goiânia, Brazil, 1998. Rafaella Braga began tracing her own path in arts through graffiti and later finding herself in painting, exploring it freely and without any pre-conception. She has been developing and materializing her ideas mostly on large scale canvases, that can take up entire walls, revealing a physically intense working method.
Using the canvas as a diary, her practice has the body as primer matter, investigating the self outlined by her vulnerabilities and secrets, and revolves around the interplay between reality and fantasy, identity and time, offering a dreamlike alternative to reality.