An excerpt from Ana Mazzei discussion and interview with Terremoto’s editor in chief, Dorohée Dupuis, about politics of spectatorship in her work, public space in Brazil and how art’s independence vis-à-vis reality is actually what commits it the most strongly to the current affairs of the world.
Dorohée Dupuis: You made various sculptures installed in public space or at least conceived for it. I always think that outdoor art has a specific dimension in Brazil where I feel the public space has been damaged during the dictatorship, when, on the other hand, there is carnival and all this street culture and so on. Can you talk about these works?
Ana Mazzei: Here in Brazil we have the combination of a supposedly tropical environment, with the unreal use of the public space. There are aesthetic and ideological relationships associated with Tropicália and the political debates that took place in the 60s and 70s. However, it is in the tension generated by the dialogues between the aesthetic and ideological that one can glimpse the best gains for the history of contemporary art. I think the Brazilian public space was never properly used as a space for art. It may have association with the dictatorship, but the experiences of that period paradoxically seem to me more successful than many of today. Also, when I think of public installations or sculptures, I am thinking of the relation between the work and the viewer’s participation. The way people can deal with this relationship to the work creates a change of perspective, that might allow resistance to the concept of the work as a finished product, and keep the work connected with the idea of experience.