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Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro

Venue: Gropius Bau

Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro

Born 1996 in Vitória, BR – lives and works in Vitória and São Paulo, BR

Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro develops survival and healing strategies for bodies in constant flight, those of the Black and trans populations targeted by a state-sanctioned politics of death. Based on practices adopted from psychology and Afro-Brazilian syncretic religions, her work looks to resignify traumas and turn them into instruments of self-care. It fosters freedom from the violence of procedures authorized by state and capitalist health systems. Her practice also involves organizing collective situations for the purpose of sharing healing practices.

In No antiquário eu negociei o tempo [In the Antique Shop I Negotiated Time, 2018], she poses for a series of photographs that show her bare-chested, looking at the camera, her face covered by masks. The masks were found in an antique shop in Santos, Brazil, where they were advertised as African, even though they had been made with papier-mâché, fur, and wood during a workshop led by a friend of the shop owner. By using these objects on her own body, the artist exposes colonial discourses, foregrounding the exoticization of African cultures and the commercialization of the past. The practices of collecting and the curiosity cabinets that became popular in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries marked the beginning of a perverse justification of colonial looting and theft—giving rise to the modern museum. They cultivated the symbolic violence that defined the Other as difference and formulated the concept of race. They also created an ontological trap for the Black body, institutionalizing imagery of eroticization and control. Vitorino Brasileiro’s work presents her body—a Black, female body with male sexual organs—as a crossroads for knowledges. Hers is a body capable of incorporating spirits and thus able to liberate those that the West has classified in order to entrap.

Beatriz Lemos

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