Current exhibitions

Pororoca – The Amazon at MAR

The continuous historiographical and geopolitical revisioning of art is a priority at MAR, in the fields of research, development of the collection and exhibition programming. In addition to the public presentation of the unparalleled Amazonian section of our collection, Pororoca – The Amazon at MAR is an invitation to debate the historical, social, political and aesthetic (in)visibilities of the formerly denominated green hell, in the words of Euclides da Cunha.

Pororoca, a Tupi word designating a rumbling sound, is a phenomenon of the meeting of massive river waters with the waters of the sea. With unique force, the pororocas sonorously announce their arrival and spatially leave tracks wherever they pass: these traces make the event visible days after their actual occurrence. Present at the mouth of the Amazon River and several of its tributaries, the phenomenon signals the dynamic quality of the nature and culture of Amazon and reveals itself as a powerful image to reflect on this region. This is the reason why this museum takes the pororoca as a metaphor for the formation of the Cluster of Meanings of the MAR Collection dedicated to production from the Amazon. In the noisy or silent torrent of Amazonian language, as the poet Blaise Cendrars described it, is where the intense encounter and visual thunder of the Pororoca takes place.

Pororoca – The Amazon at MAR is not organized as a chronological or thematic journey through the Brazilian Amazon region. Rather it proposes this debate in embracing as protagonist contemporary artists who live or work in the region, with occasional contributions from documents, cultural artifacts or iconographies from other historical moments. Choosing the voice of art echoes the singularities of the Amazon Cluster of Meanings within the MAR Collection, disobeying bourgeois taste and economy by provoking uncommon contaminations and conflicts. This is the case with the relational practices and with the Amerindian cosmological connections with video art and photography. The force of this production occludes the polarized notion of center and periphery because it operates with aesthetic and ethical force within its own circuit, constituting its own modes for the circulation of art and operating in fields where even the notion of “art” doesn’t exist, at least not in the sense it is commonly treated in the West.

With the intention to reverberate the voices and sensibilities of these artists, this exhibition takes the vibrations – sounds, at the same time aesthetical and political – as a mode of curatorial articulation. On the one hand, we have an eloquent voicing of social questions that demand to be heard. On the other hand, a possibly iconographic verbosity or exotic, modernist Macunaíma chatter gives way to a silent tension of language, a complexity that embodies the ineffable as the first and last frontier of art. These voices live with the pleasure and desire for silence and a phonetics that articulates a language that needs to be politically communicated.

Paulo Herkenhoff, curator


  • Photo: Thales Leite

  • Photo: Thales Leite

  • Photo: Thales Leite

  • Photo: Thales Leite

  • Photo: Thales Leite

  • Photo: Thales Leite

  • Berna Reale Portraits Series, 2011 Photographs Berna Reale Fund

  • Adriana Varejão Polvo Portaits (Amazônia), 2014 Oil on canvas Adriana Varejão Fund

  • Alexandre Sequeira Lucas, from the Nazaré do Mocajuba series, 2004 Silkscreen on personal object (bedsheet) Z Fund

  • Cláudia Andujar Marked for Death, 1981-1983 Photograph Artist’s Donation Galeria Vermelho Donation Orlando Nóbrega Fund

  • Éder Oliveira Light Brown, 2014 Wall painting Orlando Nóbrega Fund

  • Orlando Maneschy Untitled (fish eye), 2011 Photography, diptych Orlando Maneschy Fund

  • Melissa Barbery Low Tech Garden, 2004 Artificial light object Z Fund

  • Ivan Grilo When The Ground and The Water Become One, 2013 Photograph on cotton paper Luciana Caravello and artist’s donation