Beginning Thursday, April 1st, Fort Gansevoort will present My Kind Of Dirty, the gallery’s first exhibition with Brazilian artist Randolpho Lamonier. This online presentation brings together recent textile works in which Lamonier responds to his upbringing in Contagem, an industrial city in southeastern Brazil, drawing upon observations of hardship and inequality to create powerful expressions in vivid colors, word combinations, and raw images. The artist locates his inspiration in an environment where joy grows proportionally to misfortune and likens his work to diaristic entries. Rendered in deceptively humble handwork and fabrics, the scintillating psychedelic landscapes on view in My Kind Of Dirty celebrate “the exuberance of life that resists against the necropolitical agenda guided by the current Brazilian government,” the artist has said. In this way, Lamonier’s approach to representation acts as personal revolution, whereby the aura of possibility defines his blueprint for the future. My Kind Of Dirty is accompanied by the transcript of a conversation between Lamonier and fellow Brazilian artist Maxwell Alexandre with curator Raphael Fonseca.
Explaining the direction of his artistic project, Lamonier has said, “Around 2012, I first began to look back and reflect on my childhood in Contagem…I started to think more about the meaning of authority and the social structures that kept my community in an extremely vulnerable state.” Drawing upon these reflections of life in his hometown, the artist has grappled with the issues of accessibility, identity, bigotry, and exploitation in fabric constructions on view such as Incêndios misteriosos e especulação imobiliária (Mysterious fires and real estate speculation) (2021). The piece portrays the devastating “mysterious fires” that have erupted in Contagem’s favelas in recent years, displacing inhabitants and, not uncoincidentally, freeing up areas desirable to real estate developers. Focusing upon these fires as “the result of criminal acts that compel the poor to leave their homes,” Lamonier decries the cycles of violence that unspool in his country in response to the exertion of power and privilege by a wealthy minority. In this work, with its bright orange sky traversed by a helicopter under a blazing red sun, the improvised power lines connecting the small houses of a favela suggest the fragile ties that create community. Lamonier is compelled to transform the pain of inequality into an art of protest: “In this place that I hate to love, life and death go hand in hand and contradiction is in my DNA.”
Fragments of pedestrian life are expressed through the rich color and texture of Lamonier’s work; the pleasure of looking thus draws us into the stark contrast of materials and subject matter that render the artist’s work paradoxical. Raphael Fonseca speaks to this eccentric quality in Lamonier’s oeuvre, stating, “You never know what you’ll see due to his unpredictable way of composing objects, paintings, and videos. One thing is common: experimentation is essential.” In Aedes Aegypti (2019) plastic tubes are rearranged with rope and metal fasteners, creating circular forms that are layered onto a body of mismatched fabrics. Despite the title’s reference to the impact of dengue fever, Lamonier describes his appropriation of objects here as a means of building “a plastic materiality that, although abstract, suggests new possibilities for the interpretation of these images.” As a result, the anatomy of textures and fibers becomes a visual language of resistance and hope for the artist.
Randolpho Lamonier was born in 1988 in Contagem, Brazil and graduated from the School of Fine Arts at UFMG. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally at venues including Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; Museu de Arte do Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Mana Contemporary, Chicago, IL; United Nations Plaza, New York, NY; Fundación Pablo Atchugarry, Miami, FL; Museum of Israeli Cinema, Tel Aviv, Israel; and Hangar, Barcelona, Spain among others. His work is included in the collections of Museu Casa das Onze Janelas, Belém, Brazil, Museu da Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém, Brazil, and Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
Randolph Lamonier: My Kind of Dirty, an online exhibition in conversation with Maxwell Alexandre and Raphael Fonseca will be on view from Thursday, April 1st to Saturday, May 15, 2021, Online at Fort Gansevoort Gallery.