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Matheus Rocha Pitta

Stele # 21 (Agreement Window), 2021

For the second edition of Die Balkone, Matheus Rocha Pitta presents Window of Agreement, that focus on quotidian gestures suspended by the protective pandemic measures. His window is displaced to the Hof, but instead of the glass transparency one sees the opacity of concrete. A closer look reveals newspaper images of people hugging each other – the most immediate gesture of care. But one of each of the embraced figures was removed, the remaining ones are holding, literally and metaphorically, onto the brute concrete surface. One can also read on the same surface the words: AGREE WITH REALITY, that poses a paradoxical reflection to viewers. How can one agree with a reality that became an echo?

How to take care of a reality that, regardless of its brutality, remains disputable?

 “Reality cannot be changed unless you agree with it” said Thomas Hirschhorn once on Andy Warhol. “To agree means to confront reality as it is”.

With the protection measures against the pandemic, this ethos of agreement with reality seems to be suspended. Given the evident potential for contagion, normal gestures of expressing agreement and mourning, such as hugging, kissing or shaking hands, can no longer be performed. Less evident is the fact that such gestures do not denote any specific meaning, but instead produce realities such as failure and fame; they engender desires such as love, recognition and forgiveness and, ultimately,  they render death some meaning. Far from forming the repertoire of an outdated etiquette, they are gestures - coincidences between language and the body - that in the banal and automatic flavour of everyday life establish and regulate social life. 

The forced interruption of this auto­matic gestures could produce, due to the sudden shock of the pandemic, a snapshot of the current state of the world, which could lead to its assess­ment and overcoming. However, in spite of the initial optimism, what has actually happened is not an interrup­tion, but rather an acceleration of the digitalisation of social life. 

When algorthmised, reality loses its thickness and opacity. Yes or no, accept or reject, 1 or 0: the binarism of the code controls the messenger, rather than the message. Reality starts to inhabit the small circuit between the origin and reflection of this image of the subject. There is only a sign if it is appropriable: not even the dead are free from this, given that digital rites present themselves as another opportunity to capture attention for themselves, often an imaginary appropriation of the qualities of the deceased, paid for using the currency of gratitude and of likes. 

Any sorts of realism, as aesthetic programmes, come up against the ex­haustion of their own possibility: how to sustain an ethics of agreement and confrontation with a reality that became an echo?

-Matheus Rocha Pitta

Stele # 21 (Agreement Window)

concrete, newspaper clips, wood window

146 x 101 x 7.5 cm


Matheus Rocha Pitta

(born in 1980 in Tiradentes, Brazil) has spent much time over the past years investigating forms and perceptions of gestures. Focusing on the intersection of everyday life and art, he disconnects gestures from their individual biographical background and portrays them as deliberate aesthetic acts with a historical dimension. Rocha Pitta uses photography, video, and sculpture to identify and construct his own repertoire of gestures, which he activates in conjunction with the visitors and spectators of his works. He has created several series of works – Primeira Pedra (The First Stone, 2015), no hay pan (There Is No Bread, 2015), Assalto (Assault, 2014), Golpe de graça (Blow of Grace, 2013) – that display gestures to explore language, possession, and motion in a way that has far-reaching ethical implications.

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