The second solo show by Carmela Gross at Galeria Vermelho, Um, Nenhum, Muitos [One, None, Many], is organized around four segments: Figurantes [Performers] (2016), 13 Passantes [13 Passers-by] [(2015/2016), Darlenes (2014) and Bando [Band] (2016).
The panel lit by LEDs, Figurantes (2016), by Carmela Gross, installed at the entrance of Galeria Vermelho, resembles so many other such panels usually found in bars, stores and gasoline stations, bearing advertisements. But here, instead of products and services, the panel presents an extraordinary procession of dubious figures. They are those listed by Marx in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon (1852), as members of the Society of December 10, consisting of temporary workers, parvenus, ruined heirs, vagabonds and all sorts of shiftless people: pickpockets, ex-cons, swindlers, decadent ruffians and many others… The luminous redemption of this peculiar group of political activists, shown on the LED panel mounted by the artist, reactualizes other groups that came in the wake of that one, and points to so many more which circulate in the contemporary cities.
The gallery’s Room 1 is occupied by the installation Darlenes (2014), consisting of two parking lot gates. Usually such gates signal to the cars whether they can move forward or not. But not here. These are gates for pedestrians who can approach and manipulate them, if they wish, configuring other meanings.
The mechanical posts are remote-controlled by a device accessible to anyone going past. The movement of raising and lowering the posts unfolds and extends two shapeless swathes of red fabric, drawing a large X in the space. The posts can be moved again to return to their initial position, unmaking the drawing in red. This process can be repeated as many times as one wishes.
An adjoining room features the video animation 13 Passantes (2015/2016), which presents figures made of black adhesive tape on a background of graph paper. The figures move from one edge of the screen to the other. The fragile balance of their lines highlights and singularizes different ways of walking and crossing “the lighted stage” of the projection.
In Room 2, a set of 78 drawings displayed side-by-side form an environment suitable for imaginary projections of various sorts. They compose a multitude of animals, made of green splotches that looked like the outlines of animals, situated among grayish fields made of scribbled graphite. They surround, like a lurking horde, whoever is going through the room.