Mabe Bethônico (Belo Horizonte, 1966) works with the limits between documentation and construction, showing how information can be constructed and reworked continuously, observing how institutions operate by storing and circulating information. The transmission of knowledge has always been present in the artist's work, and for her new exhibition at Galeria Marília Razuk, she refers to pedagogical materials such as blackboards, school slides and the book, while alluding to the teacher himself. In this new series of works, in which she assumes pedagogical supports as vehicles for revisiting colonial history, Mabe also reflects on current means and discourses. The result of this work can be seen by the public starting this Saturday, April 2, at the show Lessons of Another World.
Artist, researcher and teacher, Mabe Bethônico is part of the generation that grew up during the Brazilian military dictatorship, and saw, as a result of this period, the school, formal education, being used as an effective ideological device to hinder critical reflections. In addition to thinking about the brands and discourses of this period, analyzes are added on what it is like to experience the political and educational scenario that the country is going through today.
In the series Educating Through Relations (2022), made up of 22 photographic prints, Mabe brings together slides of didactic support on various topics such as history, geography, botany, and others - and gives the material a new meaning. Alluding to the reconfiguration of knowledge, she creates slides that can facilitate challenging and necessary lessons on the complex relationships between humans and other animals, plants and geological elements. In the video Betty Bloomsfield (2019), a collaboration between Mabe Bethônico and Hannah Stewart, a puppet takes the place of a teacher and, based on appropriate and reconstituted texts, elaborates, not without difficulty, on anthropocene issues. For the video Mountains Thrashing Out (2019), the artist cuts out the smoke printed in a book about volcanoes. The paper becomes a strange support for this material, which is in turn reincorporated into the book, as the video is shown in reverse, the smoke being repositioned by the scissors.
“By reinterpreting various forms of institutional language associated with teaching and learning, Mabe Bethônico brings out counter-narratives. She gives voice to stories that dominant institutions have excluded from historical, scientific and cultural discourse,” reflects French-Italian curator and art critic Théo-Mario Coppola in a text about the show.
About the artist
With a master's and doctorate from the Royal College of Art, London, Mabe Bethônico is a member of the artists and theorists' project World of Matter. Her work is exhibited internationally, such as at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2021, at the 27th and 28th Bienals of São Paulo, at MAM and MIS in São Paulo, Museu da Pampulha, Center Pompidou, in Paris, at the Center de la Photographie, Geneva, Museo de Antioquia - Medellin, Kunstverein Muenchen - Munich, HMKV Dortmund, Kunsthals Aahus, Nottingham Contemporary, among others. She has works in the collections of the Canton of Geneva, the Pampulha Museum, MAM and Pinacoteca de São Paulo, MALBA - Buenos Aires, Alkazzi Foundation, among others. She has developed fictional/documentary institutions, such as the museumuseu, the Museu do Sabão and the Museu dos Assuntos Públicos.
In an important part of her production, the artist deals with issues related to the memory of mineral extraction in Brazil, with an interest in the history of environmental and social destruction historically caused by mining industries.
Théo-Mario Coppola (born in 1990 – non-binary – they/them/their) is an independent curator and arts writer. At the intersection of empathy and activism, their curatorial practice engages with research-based, experimental, narrative and political forms. Théo-Mario Coppola founded and curated HOTEL EUROPA, an annual series of exhibitions and programmes (Vilnius, Lithuania in 2017, Brussels, Belgium in 2018, and Tbilisi, Georgia in 2019). In 2018, they curated the third edition of the Nuit Blanche arts festival at Villa Medici in Rome, Italy. In 2021, Théo-Mario Coppola was the curator of the eleventh edition of the Momentum biennale in Moss, Norway. Their texts are regularly published in catalogues and art magazines.