Bruno Baptistelli: For a While
15-30 September 2017
Bruno Baptistelli poses important questions passionately like ”What is art?” and ”Who produces art?” He does so with understanding and ponderously rather than in a platitudinous style of pathos. The artist born in Brazil but right now living in Hungary started his career on the streets instead of art galleries. He transformed basic building materials and rubble – that you can find everywhere in the dynamically growing city of São Paolo - into temporary installations within the framework of a project documentated with a series of photos: the pile of sand was turned into a flight of stairs, the veneers of furniture were made into a constructivist statue, and the rubble scattered there assumed a geometric shape. The discreet and funny interventions established a serious order and lent a tiny bit of humour to the desert of waste. Baptistelli did something similar to the closed area also under construction located next to Artkartell projectspace: he transformed the lightning arrester and the corrugated board he found there into temporary works of art – entering into communication with the construction workers.
No matter how fast the universe is heading towards devastating entrophy, Baptistelli’s world is profoundly humanist and intellectual: he places the category of order defeating chaos triumphantly in the centre of creating artifacts, however, he does not claim to have the role of immortal Demiurgos as he connects everything to the category of time. For a while is like a still life constructed for a limited period of time using urban waste, which, as with artists of the olden days, reminds us of the ephemeral nature of life. At the same time it spurs us to discover the past of the city since viewers cannot help to try to find the real context of the truncated objects exhibited, for example, the past of the bearing bar of the igloo tent and the non-existent sense of the metal arch of the dustbin or past threads of the worn-out Turkish carpet mass produced in Bangladesh. The glacier’s advertisement stuck on the rotting cardboard or the pile of advertising leaflets of a hypermarket warn us of the fact that – through the eyes of foreigners not understanding the language – these scraps of paper have a very short-lived life beginning with someone’s setting their eyes on them and finishing with their ending up in dustbins.
Baptistelli also creates panel pictures in addition to the reutilised objects hung on walls of buildings or square-shaped scaffolding or unfolded on the ground. A few earlier paintings with relief-like geometric stripes fit monochrome minimalism into his own universe: the real painting material used instead of acrylic conveys the reserved gesture of establishing an order and creating artefacts. The newest series of paintings, a summary of the artist’s activity so far, was painted in Budapest and, the pictures bear the initials BP in runic letters. The painted white and beige base provides a background for smaller items of waste (from chains to a piece of rug) and to small pictures and photos similarly to the layout of a newspaper. The elements set up with one another for a short period of time – as the title of the exhibition suggests – binding the threads of past in assemblages compiled with the carefullness of a jeweller compiling his collection.
Currently Bruno Baptistelli lives and works as an artist in Budapest. In the past ten years he has had a number of individual exhibitions and has participated in several international collective ones. In 2016 he was an awardee of the ICCo/SP-Arte programme, which is the number-one art fair of Latin America recognising artists exhibiting their works in the framework of the São Paulo International Art Fair. The Hungarian audience had a chance to view unique-to-venue installations of the artist from Brazil at an open-air fine arts exhibition held in Dorottya Udvar a couple of months ago.