Americas

Gabriel Borba Filho
Untitled (Nos)

Gabriel Borba Filho was aware of what was happening on the other side of the Atlantic, and Untitled (Nos) is linked to both the social and political climates in Brazil and Spain during the Franco period. The title Nos (Us) echoes this sharing of a situation of misfortune. He was particularly touched by the execution of Salvador Puig Antich, to whom this work pays homage, and also by the political assassination of one of his best friends. Salvador Puig Antich was a Catalan anarchist executed in 1974. After being tortured, he was put on his feet to suffer. He was the last political prisoner garroté of Franco’s rule. As by obsession it so is that the images remain in memory throughout the series; the same subject and the same photo is represented several times. What is especially interesting in Untitled (Nos) is that the subject is face to face with himself, with his own situation, in full consciousness despite the ordeal. Self-awareness is a way to affirm the strength of life and to free oneself from the adversities of the totalitarian state. The presence of this young body places us in a position between violence and sensuality. This work responds in the collection to the series of photographs of Pazos and the installation of Marta Araujo.

Gabriel Borba Filho is an important actor in the Brazilian art scene during the 1960s and ‘70s. Educated as an architect, he has been recognized as a pioneer in Brazilian video art for his role in the creation of an experimental space in the Museu de Arte Contemporana at the University of São Paulo. This experimental laboratory was the place where artists could develop new artistic practices in the context of a totalitarian regime. All of the artists’ works are to be thought of in the context of lack of freedom and lack of democracy. Borba Filho’s stance against violence and silence against dictatorship never faltered, and his practice as a visual poet continues to play the role of a significant commentary in today’s age.