In Conversation with

Iagor Peres and the Mixing of Different Artistic Languages

Unafraid to experiment, the Brazilian artist casts his shrewd gaze on processes which go beyond corporality and live in constant change.

C&AL: How did you transition definitively to the visual arts?

IP: It was a natural transition. It grew out of what I had been doing. When I was a dancer and a video maker, I started producing video dances in Rio de Janeiro, and I noticed the possibilities of creating a work with hybrid language. To this day, the mixing of different languages, in such a way that it is impossible to dissociate one from the other, is found throughout my work. But, to come back to your question, it was video and video installation, more than performance, that introduced me to the visual arts, which I really started working with in 2016. That year I went to spend a week’s vacation in Recife, a city I did not know. I fell in love with the place and decided to stay. I established a strong relationship with the local art circuit right away, joined a dance company and joined CARNI – Black and Indigenous Art Collective. That was six years ago. Now, I live between Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Recife. But my lease is in Recife (laughs). I live in a house called Box Preparação (Preparation Box), which is also a culture point and one of CARNI’s headquarters.

C&AL: How has dance influenced your work in the visual arts?

IP: In many ways. With dance, I had contact with the kinesphere [a concept developed by artist, choreographer and theorist of dance, Rudolf Laban, in the 1960s], that deals with the personal space around the movements of our body. The idea is that by visualizing one’s movements in this personal space, the subject begins to understand his or her spatialized body structure and to redefine his or her relationship with the environment through movement. That opened my mind to a series of questions. I noticed that our bodies could occupy larger spaces than what they are destined to occupy. Additionally, with movement, we can modify, or not, oppressive atmospheres in which we are immersed. Thinking about these fields that extrapolate movement made me pay attention to processes which are not visual, which exceed corporality, and which are constantly changing.

C&AL: Is that the case of material skin, which is present in some of the works you have developed?

IP: Yes. After working between theater and dance, I was looking for another way to talk about the body. I didn’t want to be on the front lines anymore, with my body exposed. In 2017, I started mixing several materials in a bain-marie, on the stove in my house in Recife, until I achieved a resulting plasticity that I found interesting. I followed this mixture for a while: I traveled, I came back, and I was noticing the transformations it went through. Our relationship happened like that. It wasn’t necessarily planned, but it was conceived, the result of a desire to be absent and in that way still be present. From the beginning, I understood that material skin could not be only a sculpture or static matter. It was something that was alive which also danced and presented that performance over time. Material skin is, in a way, an extension of my body and leads me to a series of reflections. Among them being questioning the notion of race, a concept that precedes the invention of capitalism and which is used as a basis for its support and perpetuation, by taking the value of a certain body to make that body be considered worthless in order to produce value for other bodies. If the idea of race covers up and disembodies certain bodies, material skin also acts in this way. By covering up an object, it exposes its limit and at the same time deforms it.

C&AL: What have you been working on lately?

IP: Since last year I’ve been working on A segunda forma da ausência (The Second Kind of Absence), a series of monotypes that continues my research on material skin. However, in those engravings, I remove the material skin from the surfaces so I can deal with the remnants and the traces left by them. The third phase of that research process is the game When the matter is gone (2021), which I developed during the pandemic. In that work, my first in a virtual environment, I think about the different ways of dying and I do this through sonic bodies which I developed with Anti Ribeiro. Besides that, I am finishing Da frequência no tempo (Of Frequency in Time), a large-scale work with material skin for the Sculpture Park in the state of Espírito Santo. Finally, with Ariana Nuala I am coordinating the first artistic residency geared toward the twelve participants in CARNI – Collective of Black and Indigenous Art. We founded the group in 2016 and since then we had an external performance, seeking to open a space on the Recife art scene for Black and indigenous artists from the region. Now, we are going to take an internal look to reflect on our own poetic productions. But we will share our reflections with the pubic. Starting at the end of May, some online meetings are planned. The first will be with the philosopher Denise Ferreira da Silva and, after that, there will be a conversation with the educator and researcher, Mara Pereira.

Ana Paula Orlandi is a journalist with a Master’s degree from the School of Communications and Arts at the University of São Paulo.

Translation: Sara Hanaburgh