Matheus Rocha Pitta
B.O. Boletim de Ofertas (Offers Bulletin)
Rio de Janeiro, 2010.
30 x 24,5 cm.
Impressão em offset.
Publicação realizada com apoio do XI Prêmio Funarte Marc Ferrez de Fotografia. 2010
Saiu artigo na revista Artforum a respeito deste artista, o texto comenta o trabalho mostrado acima.
Rio de Janeiro–based artist Matheus Rocha Pitta’s most recent work—B.O., or Boletim de Ofertas (Offers Bulletin), 2010—takes shape within this delirium of convertibility. A fourteen-page flyer officially launched this May at SP-Arte, Brazil’s largest art fair, B.O. is modeled on the coupon circulars one finds stacked near supermarket entrances and stuffed in the postbox with the mail. With their florid colors, cheap newsprint, and jostling, last-minute appeals, such circulars stage the built-in obsolescence of the commodity in a familiar parade of glistening produce and crisply geometric packages whose contents are subject to the volatility of inflation, expiration, and decay. In the pages of the coupon circular, products merrily proclaim their use-value at the same time that they broadcast their commodity status with the shriek of ninety-nine-cent deals.
Stripped of the busy chattering of advertising copy and photographed individually against a dense felt ground, the foodstuffs, sanitary products, and household items pictured in Rocha Pitta’s B.O. are left to act out this drama of solicitation on their own. Like those in the coupon circular, the identity of the commodities pictured in B.O. is conveyed primarily by the formal conventions of packaging: stackable tins of sardines with their thin metal lids, columnar tubes of cream-filled cookies, round discs of cheese. Yet in Rocha Pitta’s images, the enticing containment of the packaged product—all surface, buoyancy, and the promise of future reward—gives way to a pathos of bodily affect (a ham sweats with condensation, a wedge of cheese droops under the weight of its own rind). In addition, the external surfaces are breached and reconfigured to create a series of fundos falsos (false bottoms)—concealed receptacles for drugs (or other contraband goods) that have themselves disappeared. Thus, a six-pack of yogurt containers holds smaller, similarly shaped foil voids invaginated within; a roll of toilet paper is splayed open to reveal a hidden cavity; a sausage is sliced in half and hollowed out, its interior lined with protective plastic wrap. These are vessels that appear to have exhausted their role within the circuits of consumption. Ruptured and repurposed, their use-value migrating from the advertised content of the packaged foodstuffs to that content’s ability to package and conceal yet another value—that of the absent drugs—B.O.’s emptied commodities are consummate images of depleted value. And it was precisely as images that the products were introduced into yet another circuit of consumption, that of the art fair. Here, in a market designed to convert images from symbolic to financial value, B.O. enacted one final displacement, since the circular itself was distributed for free.