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This brief essay, by Wolfgang Pfeiffer, is the introduction to Simulacros, the exhibition of works by Regina Silveira. Pfeiffer describes it as “serious, honest work, with unusual scope, based on extensive research in the field of visualization.” He discusses Silveira’s use of light, acknowledging her contribution to perception and her experimentation with the methods and means of perception, and mentions her ties to a renaissance of scientific thought and her interest in the works of Marcel Duchamp. Pfeiffer specifically refers to the fluctuation that compares intellectual associations with optical perceptions. In his essay, he discusses the exhibition which, according to the artist herself, provides a parodic (and subversive) commentary on the codes the works project: linear perspective, the theory of shadows (stereotomy), photography, and topographic design. There is an emphasis on the manipulative and artificial nature of images, as well as a transgression of a presumed loyalty to visual perception. The artist sees her work as a simple visual play of silhouettes and flat projections. She quotes Leonardo da Vinci, from whose writings she takes the idea of simulacro [simulation]. And she explains the development of her work whose origins can be found in her other series: “Enigmas” and “Anamorfas.”    

Leia esta sinopse em português

Regina Silveira apresenta sua exposição denominada "Simulacros". Explica que se trata de comentário paródico e subversivo dos códigos projetivos da perspectiva linear, da teoria das sombras, da fotografia e do desenho topográfico. Enfatiza o caráter manipulativo e artificial das imagens, e a transgressão à fidelidade da percepção visual. Considera seu trabalho um jogo plástico sobre as silhuetas e as projeções planas. Cita Leonardo da Vinci, de cujos escritos retira a noção de simulacro. Relata o desenvolvimento do trabalho e suas origens nas séries "Enigmas" e "Anamorfas".

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The German art critic Wolfgang Pfeiffer (1912–2003) emigrated to Brazil in 1948, where he became involved in the art world in São Paulo as a result of the different professional positions he held. He was, for example, Technical Director of the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo from 1951 to 1959, and played the same role at the 3rd and 4th São Paulo Biennial. He was the Cultural Attaché at the German Consulate in São Paulo (1960–77); he was chairman of the board of the Goethe Institut (1970–82); he was Director of the Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo (1978–82); and he held teaching positions at universities in Greater São Paulo. From the very beginning of his career, he focused on a trenchant reading of baroque art (in its European, Brazilian, and Latin American versions); he also studied the twentieth-century historic avant-garde, which made him ideally suited to comment on the work of Regina Silveira. 


“Simulacros” was held in November-December 1984 at the Museu de Arte Contemporánea, which is part of the Universidade de São Paulo. The exhibition in fact consists of the thesis that Regina Silveira presented to the Escola de Comunicações e Artes (ECA-USP) where she had been a teacher since 1974.


The series “Simulacros” is undoubtedly a development of the earlier idea of dematerialization (that had emerged in Argentina in the mid-1960s). There is an article by Professor Walter Zanini, “Regina Silveira e as novas poéticas” [doc. no. 1110655], that discusses the “art-games” that encourage the viewer to get involved in the work of art; the artist also analyzes various visual language codes, reclaiming and restructuring images drawn from the field of mass consumption or, in this case, the history of art. It should be noted that the title of the series is powerfully evocative of the impact created by the French theoretician Jean Baudrillard who, in 1981, published his philosophical treatise Simulacra and Simulation in which he explores the links between reality and the symbols of postmodern society.  

Regina Silveira (b. 1939) began her career as a painter, printmaker, and draughtswoman in the 1960s in Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul. A trip to Europe sparked her interest in the potential of geometric forms. As a teacher in Puerto Rico in 1969, Silveira was torn between the development of local handcrafts and her interest in modern means of technical reproduction. During her stay on the Island of Enchantment (Puerto Rico) she also became interested in the so-called “dematerialization” of the object. On her return to Brazil in 1973, she settled in São Paulo. During the 1970s she produced her series Destruturas Urbanas [Urban Destructions], Executivas [Women Executives], and Brazil Today, that use books, albums, and other elements to explore the environment, bureaucracy, and power. For additional information on the artist, see Silveira’s text “[In absentia (M.D.) é uma reflexão]” [doc. no. 1110654].

Leia este comentário crítico em português

A exposição "Simulacros" foi realizada nos meses de novembro e dezembro de 1984 no Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo. Trata-se da tese de doutorado de Regina Silveira, defendida na Escola de Comunicações e Artes da Universidade de São Paulo, onde a artista leciona desde 1974. O catálogo traz também texto de Wolfgang Pfeiffer.


Ver também: SILVEIRA, Regina. In absentia (M.D.). São Paulo: Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, 1983.


k- Emancipação do desenho. Reduções gráficas.  Grafia e códigos de representação visual.

k- Escritos e linguagem dos artistas conceituais. Poema objeto. Livros de Artista.

k- Intuicão semiótica

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Marco Andrade
FAPESP, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Reproduzido com o consentimento de Regina Silveira, São Paulo, Brasil
Arquivo Multimeios do Centro Cultural São Paulo