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Celio Braga


"Liquescent"

- 1000 small cut-out drawings made of wax
- glass plate
- red glass beads on a string (365 meters)

Opening february 23th 12.00-16.00.
This exhibition is in cooperation with the identity seminar.

" In general my work deals with the fragility of the body and the vulnerability of life.
In my recent works and experiments I am working directly on the space in order to create situations which are ephemeral, flexible and open. The works are based on ritualized process of purification and protection, demarcation of space and emanation of smells."

Célio Braga's wax sculpture evokes a range of associations. Braga works with the mouldings of familiar forms, with words even. The installation amanates a sense of quiet, the lines forming linear, almost static patterns.
He has used open forms, the result beeing a playful variation on realistic and more stylized components. One finds hearts, manikins, pricks and organs, including bowels, stomachs and livers. Commodities too; small siccors, necklaces, (wedding) dresses, a hoe, a hammer,bottles and latticework resembling architectural drawings or parts of do-it-yourself kits. The viewer further more detects religious symbols, such as pierced hearts, a crown of thorns, a pyramid and sceletons. Some shapes appear repeatedly, such as the hearts and manikins. Others are ambivalent: what apper to the prics might also be scissors, or condoms; necklaces resemble chains. Upon inquiry, I learn that they are mainly medicine jars and perfumebottles, human organs, instruments of torture, and religous symbols.

The rectangular shape of the image turns it into a charnel field, harboring the remains of the faceless dead. The sheet of glass suspended above a section of the installation looks like a tombstone. The clouded sky hanging over the work, which is reflected in the glass sheet, functions as a third layer. Top and bottom are related, for the same forms recur repeatedly, often in mirror image. Are we dealing with the symbolism of upper- and underworld, the here-and-now and the hereafter? It is characteristic of Braga's work, which always servers to explore the theme of layeredness. He carves into paper to expose its underlying layers; he spreads wax and plaster ontowalls, sticking hairs into them. This skin-like approach gives his work a physical quality.

Everything in this wax sculpture refers to love, sexuality, illness, suffering, death, and religon. There even appears to be an explicity named person involved: Yours Ricardo, it says, in carved out, negative letters, as if the person in question has evaporated. More names pop up in the installation, names of deceased friends, lovers, and acquaintances.

The image is a contemporary memento mori, a frozen homage to the artist's dead friends, an allegory on the vulnerability of human life. As if Braga pierces through the futility of fashion and lifestyles, the facade of imaginary security, liquid as wax.