The Municipal Galleries of Lisbon are pleased to present You are seeing things, the first solo show by the Brazilian based artist duo Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca in Portugal. Comprised of two film installations, the exhibition showcases recent moving image works, both involving collaboration with groups of performers and artists from diverse backgrounds, and looking at how popular cultural expressions respond to socio economic conditions.
Wagner & de Burca have developed a practice centred on working with groups of artists performing within distinct genres of dance, music and other forms of self expression. In the case of this exhibition, the works focus on Brega music in northern Brazil (Estás Vendo Coisas, 16’, Brazil, 2016) and spoken word poetry in Toronto, Canada (RISE, 21’, Canada/USA/Brazil, 2018). In recent years, the artists have also worked with Evangelical singers, Schlager music performers in Germany, Frevo and Swingueira dancers in Brazil. They focus on creating moving image work which exists at the intersection of fine art and popular culture, documentary and fiction. In opposition to the idea of ‘giving voice’ to a particular group of people, Wagner & de Burca are lead by the ideas and work of the groups with whom they collaborate.
The first of the two films, RISE, is presented on the ground floor of Galeria da Boavista. The title refers to the acronym for “Reaching intelligent souls everywhere”, which is the name of a group of spoken word artists with whom Wagner & de Burca collaborated in 2018. The film presents the work of members of the R.I.S.E.
You are seeing things’ speaks of a world where music videos play a crucial role in the construction of voice, status and identity of a whole new generation of young popular artists. Brega is an informal term applied to a whole body of mass-oriented popular music produced since the 70’s with a strong association to the idea of bad taste. Rooted in a broader context of socio-economic phenomena, today Brega has incorporated sophisticated methods of production and distribution, giving account of the visibility of a burgeoning middle class reaching out of the favelas of Brazil.