Laura Lima

by Julia Lima

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

ARTEQUEACONTECE spoke with the artist Laura Lima about her newest installation, tailoring, on display at the Pinacoteca, and about its individual exhibition at the Fondazione Prada in Milan.

The woman from Minas Gerais who is now based in Rio de Janeiro studied philosophy and also attended the Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage, having started her production in the 1990s. artist's body performing the actions. However, she is blunt about classifying what she does differently.

I joke that I'm not a present artist. I never called my works performance, they are matter. While performance itself is an extremely broad category, it can also deal with an artist's denial of it. I would even supposedly be the first artist that a museum bought a performance, but I never called it a performance even back then.“, she says, referring to the fact that MAM-SP acquired “Bala de Homem = Meat / Woman = Meat” and “Man’s Hips = Meat / Woman = Meat”, in 2000.

This ambiguous relationship between the absence of the creator and the presence of the executors of the work remains to this day. The artist is very involved in the preparation of the works, be it in the investigation of a certain subject, be it in the collaboration with specialists, be it in the dialogue with the actors who will give life to the “things” that she conceives.

Involvement in the 'pre' is both in finding the people who will participate in the project, but also in the organization with the institution”, says she, who was in close contact with the Pinacoteca and with Leonardo Carrijo, a stylist who has already collaborated with the institution and who carried out research on human material, fabrics and machinery. Lima also took special care in choosing the tailors who would work in the “Alfaiataria” installation, which brings sewing professionals to the Octógono da Pinacoteca in a daily job of interpreting Lima's designs on textile pieces. “We have a woman tailor taking part, there is also a Bolivian who is on the project. It is necessary to have a social delicacy, to observe the context in which the work is inserted. We focus on professionals who are able to translate the notes on each portrait with the engineering that is tailoring.“.

Talking about how several of her works focus on the importance of “dressing up” (like “Novos Costumes”, for example) the reference by Lygia Clark is an immediate counterpoint: “Lygia was interested in the subject's experience, I'm interested in another plan of action, in objects that are placed on the body.” In the case of tailoring, on the other hand, the main point actually lies in the translation of its designs. “We choose the fabrics together, they also give their opinion. There is no total freedom, you can't be whatever they want. I know who the characters are, even though they are abstract drawings“.

In the exhibition set up at Fondazione Prada, in Milan, Laura Lima also makes use of this same device of cooperation with specialists, this time with astronomers. But the artist does not distinguish the type of professional she works with, since what interests her is highly qualified and technical knowledge, whatever it may be. “I don't see much difference between tailors and astronomers. They lean over the fabric, the amount of possibility they have is an instrumental that is very close to astronomy. Generally speaking, there is no difference – when I talk to tailors, I talk to people who are going to solve my work in a place where I am already blind. I want something, I can explain what I want, I see it. With astronomers I also say, I don't want a class for beginners, I want the intense math they are already studying.“.

In common in these works there is also the fact that there is a lot of preparation but no type of test or training. “I never rehearse, there is no rehearsal in my work. I see my works for the first time together with the public“. There is in Lima's detached posture a brutal awareness of the fragility of art and its own production. In this sense, the artist recognizes that there is a certain danger in working with collaborators who could deviate and adulterate her projects. “It's a risk, there can always be a surprise. And I always say that, if you are going to invent on top of my work, it should be brighter – it has to be better than my work”.

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