SCALE OF VALUES
In Latin America, contemporary art practices steadily gain more ground and distance themselves from the Western traditions that had always influenced a large portion of the creators of the New World. At present, we can appreciate craftsmen that manage to express universal traits with authenticity and uniqueness. Brazil, starting with the creations of the 1922 Modern Art Week, initiated a modern stage in the different manifestations of art. It was the decisive moment when they took the artistic vanguard of the continent.
There have been many outstanding artists whose names are essential to analyze the visual practices of this South American country: Ivan Serpa, Lygia Clak, Helio Oiticica, and Adriana Varejão are some of the creators that spring to mind. They are all deeply related to the process of change and progress in Brazil and display signs of being at the vanguard in all their pieces. These aspects are also well represented in the productions of Alexandre Frangioni (São Paulo, 1967).
With Alexandre, we have to keep in mind that, in the universe of visual arts, he is self-taught. He is a professional engineer, but started working with painting in 2005 as a way of disconnecting from the stress of his profession: “I was looking for an activity to dedicate myself to after retiring and found an easy way to manage my time and space with painting. In addition, it was directly related to drawing, which I have enjoyed since I was very young,” he says.
Thus, Frangioni’s art evolved, and starting from the two-dimensional perspective he kept experimenting until he found the way that currently distinguishes him. His point of view had always been focused on traditional and modern art; however, situations and problems in his country made him question the manifestation that he worked with – painting – until his medium began evolving and became three-dimensional, a modus operandi that is related to his profession. That is to say, Alexandre not only practiced his creative side but also his engineering skills through the planning, development, and execution of his work with advanced technology. That is how he started using 3D and lenticular printing, which are part of a more object and process-centered process.
Two highly significant exhibitions for him, which were turning points in his career, were the ones he displayed in the Art Museum in Blumenau (2015) and in the Campo Grande Contemporary Art Museum (2016). Both are loaded with ideas and exercises that defined his style, and he was able to use the space as an important and supplementary factor for his pieces. Likewise, the series Éxodo grew and improved within the exhibition space.
Alexandre speaks about memory and time, two aspects that are tightly linked in his proposals. Likewise, he reflects about and analyzes the values (social, commercial, political, economic) that exist in contemporary societies. The economic value – central axis – is transformed into the raw materials of his thoughts, and therefore his discourse is based on maintaining the memories of the economic hardships in Brazil with hyper-inflation in the 80’s and 90’s. We emphasize, and so does he, that “it is not done as a critique of his society but as a way to bring to the forefront a cultural fact and the social values dictated by certain events within his culture, that is to say, oblivion.” Êxodo, thus, approaches the way in which money is accumulated, transformed, and its impact on different societies. The use of the piggy bank, each with its own currency, is a selection with a very strong universal semantic charge. His iconography is easily interpreted by the public. I believe that he is not interested in making the interpretation of his objects difficult for the viewer; he likes direct messages without superfluous codes. Each piggy carries different currency depending on the country of exhibition, as the nomenclature of money in Brazil is different from that of the United States, a country that is a superpower. The piggies even gather around or follow the Charging Bull of Wall Street, a business central where the stock exchange determines the high and low stocks of a company.
Alexandre Frangioni understands how to use codes, symbols, and universal iconography to move and reflect about the message he wants to convey. His originality makes him the owner of a unique and different production in the context of Brazilian art, due in part to his engineering skills. The memory and the past of Brazil is visualized through this creator’s activities, who – through his self-taught techniques – represents his country in every exhibition, fair, and event he participates in.
Daniel G. Alfonso. Teórico del arte (Cuba).
AAL Arte Al Limite Magazine