poetry exists in the facts


museum is the world


The French Revolution, the royal family’s move to Versailles, and the encyclopedic spirit of the Enlightenment all enabled the creation, in 1793, of the Louvre, in Paris. The former Palace, the residence of the nobility, became a public place, opening up the royal collection to society. In São Paulo, in the 1950s, the Louvre building was designed by João Artacho Jurado. Each apartment block received, at its inauguration, the name of an important painter in Art History: Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Velázquez and Renoir.

Alluding to the Parisian museum, the Louvre Building displays a reproduction of the Mona Lisa in one of its foyers. The back apartment block, in turn, was named the Pedro Américo [Brazilian painter], which does not appear, however, registered in the space.

The museu do louvre pau-brazyl arises between these two Louvres. Facing the building as a ready-made museum, it created a franchise-fiction. We were interested in playing with the movements of global museums and the process of opening franchises, such as the forthcoming Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi. The museum’s official discourse defines it as a product of the eighteenth-century European Enlightenment. This position endorses the desire of a center of power to influence the way in which its periphery considers itself aesthetically, revealing the strength, as well, of imperialism and cultural colonization.

In Brazil, a landmark of the imposition of European aesthetics and expressive forms is the arrival of the French Artistic Mission in the nineteenth century. Its function was to “culturally develop” the colony, which had become the capital with the arrival of the Portuguese Court. Antropofagia and Tropicália are the two foremost movements of the twentieth century that presented complex reactions to external influences in Brazilian cultural production, without defending a nationalist notion of identity, but instead the imminent miscegenation of aesthetic constructions. The combination of the primitive with the vanguards as our originality.

We were also interested in questioning the place of Artacho Jurado in opposition to the great museum architects. Today, so-called “starchitects” are inseparable from the conceptualization of global museums. The architecture is chosen prior to the choices that emerge from the paths of research and curatorship. This suggests a consideration of the feelings and effects of the architecture selected for museums; and how to rethink the image of Artacho, excluded from the pantheon of modernist Brazilian architects, now a star architect of a “Brazylian” museum. The common areas of the Louvre building, particularly the mezzanine, serve as the platform and base of the project, a physical and critical space that provokes inquiry into how and why a building homonymous with the Parisian museum can serve as a living environment for considering the institutional limitations of art.

The subtle gesture of provoking the possibility of establishing a branch of the Louvre in São Paulo recognizes the existence of another Louvre, where the exhibition takes place, proposing an exercise in movement in an attempt to undo the imperative of an institution as a neutralizing agent of the tensions of art, without denying the catalyzing environment and its many contradictions and powers.