Wagner Malta Tavares

Come With The Wind, por Fernando Aq Mota

Text by Fernando AQ Mota


Once in every generation a hero comes along. Someone who has a significant influence on other people’s ideas, transforms the environment and becomes a legend among society. Often though, heroes are the ones who share their experiences in an inspiring way, even if just with a single person. These are the heroes that truly make a difference, the ones whose legacy might not affect all of humanity, but have the power to change a few human beings. In contemporary art, heroes can take many forms; Wagner Malta Tavares is an artist constantly revealing the invisible aspects of which ordinary heroes are made nowadays.

The ability to make artworks using different media and still create a coherent body of work with one or more solid messages or questions is quite rare. Wagner Malta Tavares is one of those singular artists whose practices are harmoniously related, visually appealing and strongly efficient. From sculpture to video, photograph to installation, passing through performance, his output is imaginative and full of sense of humor, similar to Francis Alÿs. Tavares is very interested in mythology, literature and comic books/films; the way he manages to link fiction with reality in his production is original and intriguing, and definitely one of his superpowers.

Recently, the artist has made a series of works with one central element: the air. A video shows a house on a cliff without windows and with five white curtains swaying in the doors. Abandonment? Emptiness? When a door is closed, a window is opened...but what if there are no windows? In another work, a fan and a red fluttering cloak resemble the tales of almighty characters. What are the solutions for mortals who cannot fly, and which are the flags we chose to wave? Three photographs from different angles show a wooden chair left on a beach, with a white sail attached to it. Every situation can be seen from various perspectives -- it is a matter of turning the wheel around and exploring the possibilities. Some journeys can be deeply lonely and the

hope of better winds are always encouraging; it is always good to have a place to sit down when things get monotonous though. With playful and lyric methods, Tavares subtly uncovers the identity of the contemporary

man: ambitious, yet melancholic. Willing to save the world, but barely able to rescue himself. In Brazil, these verses especially apply to old habits of people: often complaining about the present, despite merely acting for a greater future.

These are times of change; in economy, politics, culture... things are transforming into other figures as fast as a flash. To stand still without knowing from where the wind will blow is a heroic act already. The ones who can use these breezes as platforms from which to jump, are intelligently brave. Wagner Malta Tavares discreetly points out the cave where the secrets are kept: our souls. Ironically, man’s most intimate place is the hardest one to get to. How to reach it remains suspended in the air. For some, it comes as a gift from the Gods, while for others, it might be an arduous conquest. Virgil once said “fortune favors the bold”; in the 21st century, the bold are the ones who dare to dream, and luckily, make their own fortune.



In this exhibition, the public can see Wagner Malta Tavares in the essence of his work. The title Uma diversão, um tormento, uma ocupação, according to the curator, was taken from the book The Shadow Line by Joseph Conrad - ‘It was amusement enough, torment enough, occupation enough’ - and it represents the artist’s feelings throughout the process of making his art. The video is a compact pill of time, life and everything that happens in between. The artist, the house, the curtains, the cliff... everything in scene flows in its own rhythm with the wind. Perhaps, from another perspective, this could even be the house described by J. L. Borges in the Aleph.