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Contrainte / Restraint

An exhibition produced by the Groupe Molior

Amilcar Packer, Video #15 (2008)

Amilcar Packer, Video #15 (2008)
Since the beginning of his career, Amilcar Packer has been exploring the relationship between the body and its environment, testing its possibilities and limitations by creating temporary assemblages formed by his own body and clothes, furniture and architectural features of enclosed spaces. His seemingly absurd, studio-based Naumanesque experiments initially resulted in photo-performances; more recently he has produced photographic and video works that take place in urban space.

The two-channel video installation Video #15 records Packer’s unwavering attempts to keep seated on a chair in an enclosed space without windows or doors. This image is simultaneously presented in two different angles to the viewer, who stands between the symmetrically opposed screens as if trapped inside the same room. We can hear loud rumbling sounds as the room quakes vigorously and the artist’s body is violently thrown against the walls. It is only after a while that we realize that the action is taking place on the back of a moving truck.

In spite of not making any direct reference to these themes, the installation suggests a range of situations linked to biopolitical power: torture, forced displacement or the smuggling of immigrants across borders. Both the work and the images it evokes are exemplary of some circumstances where the body is subjected to external forces or external control. But at the same time as exposing the fragility of the body, Video #15 also emphasizes its resoluteness, as the artist is constantly returning to his initial position.

Amilcar Packer was born in Santiago de Chile, in 1974 and lives and works in São Paulo. In 1999, he graduated in Philosophy from the Universidade de São Paulo. He studied with Eduardo Brandão from 1988 to 2001 at the independent art school Terceiro Andar. His recent solo exhibitions include Entre, Usina do Gasômetro, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2009), Polisemiose at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, São Paulo (2006) and Grave at Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo (2005). His work was featured in many recent group shows such as the 2nd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece (2009), ‘Tipos móviles’ in the 2nd Trienal Poligráfica de San Juan, San Juan, Porto Rico (2009), ‘Farewell to Post-Colonialism’ Third Guangzhou Triennial, Time Museum/Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China (2009) Interrogating Systems, CIFO Grants and Commissions Exhibition, Miami (2008), Geração da Virada, Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo (2006), Con los Ojos del Otro, Centro Cultural de España, Montevideo (2006) and the Sydney Biennale (2004).