Jonathas de Andrade lives and works in Recife, in Brazil’s northeast region—the first part of the country to be colonized by the Portuguese. The city is marked by a contrast between its peasant class and rural traditions, on the one hand, and its status as a quickly developing industrial center and film capital, on the other.The Uprising (O Levante) was made in Recife and captures a horse-drawn cart race in the city center, which the artist himself organized in response to a proposed ordinance that would ban animals hauling carts from the city streets. De Andrade was only able to stage the race by asking the authorities for a permit to make a movie. The horse owners, however, were invited to participate in a real horse race, giving each participant a different understanding of the work’s context. The video features an aboiador—a traditional regional singer who narrates the difficulties of country living, responding to prompts with improvised rhyming verse. This aboiador came to the event and was then invited by the
artist to his studio, where he responded to the horse race he had witnessed as if it was the beginning of a rural revolt, turning the events into a folk fiction.
Gallery label from Unfinished Conversations: New Work from the Collection, March 19-July 30, 2017.