The End Begins at the Leaf
Thursday 9 December 2021 5 - 9 pm 9
December 2021 - 15 January 2022
The End Begins at the Leaf, an exhibition by Antonio Tarsis in artistic dialogue with Anderson Borba. Curated by Mara-Johanna Kölmel.
The show invites visitors into an immersive environment that begins and ends at a leaf.
Systematic deforestation alongside illicit mining operations in the Amazon pose a major threat to Brazil’s complex ecosystems. With the current administration supporting deforestation and mining in areas formally protected by law, land has been stripped of vegetation, waterways have been polluted, and the protection of human rights and the environment have been undermined. Tarsis’ and Borba’s works in The End Begins at the Leaf approach this devastating constellation through a poetic reflection on materials and processes that relate to these disputed territories.
Mara Johanna Kölmel, curator of The End Begins at the Leaf comments: The ‘leaf’ serves as an aesthetic departure point and thinking device through which the show explores larger interrelations. These expand from the exploitation of land and people to the transformation of natural resources into commodities and their circulation in a global market economy. The artistic dialogue between Tarsis and Borba thereby reveals a multi-layered narrative of transformation, subjection, inequality and power.
Represented by Carlos/Ishikawa gallery in London, Antonio Tarsis (b.1995) is a self-taught artist from Salvador, Brazil. Using the city itself as his laboratory and source of research, Tarsis collects various materials, including medicine bottles, revolver bullets, matchboxes, industrial packaging and electrical components. He combines, recontextualises, and subverts the notions of these materials by transforming them into new compositions, objects, collages, paintings, and installations. The essence of his work constitutes a critical view of subjects like environmental devastation, colonisation/decolonisation, the black body and the genocide of the black population in Brazil.
Spread across the 3-stories of ONEROOM Gallery, visitors are transported to an imaginary rain-forest setting that oscillates between mine and forest. Tarsis has created an immersive charcoal wasteland with sounds of bird song, swaying leaves and rippling water permeating the space. Matchboxes, colourful cardboard drawings and a collage from Tarsis’ 2019 Colored Export series reference memories of the artist’s precarious upbringing in Brazil’s largest black community of the African Diaspora whilst also hinting at the circulation of Brazilian commodities in a global market economy. The suggestive title, Colored Export, not only meditates on the exploitative labour structures and environmental damage underpinning such economies but also links the goods’ journey back to the same colonial trade routes once used for trafficking millions of slaves.
The matchbox is a central motif in Tarsis’ practice that recurs throughout the show. Fascinated by the purple colour and haptic materiality of these hand-assembled, yet mass-produced matchboxes, Tarsis interrogates their semiotic quality as found objects from the streets of Salvador’s favelas. They not only carry the imprint of the city’s everyday life but also act as a seismograph for its social disparities.
Spread around the exhibition are the arrestingly tactile sculptures of Brazilian artist Anderson Borba (b. 1972), which tell complex stories of transformation from the perspective of foraged wood. By recognising this material’s richness sourced from the streets with all its scents, nodes and layers of time, Borba aims to communicate its essence. Oscillating between abstraction and figuration, fragmentation and representation, destruction and construction, his works close the cycle of the exhibition (and the conversation between these two Brazilian artists) that ends and begins at the leaf.
Sunday, December 12
3pm: Artists and curator-led exhibition tour of The End Begins at the Leaf
4pm: Panel discussion: Choreographies of Transformation - The rainforest and beyond with Antonio Tarsis, Anderson Borba, Julia Sauma, Renan Porto and moderated by Mara-Johanna Kölmel.
Notes to Editors:
For press enquiries contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Exhibition Info: 09 December, 2021 - 15 January, 2022
Private View: 09 December, 5 - 9pm
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 2 - 6pm and Saturday and Sunday 12 - 6pm Closed: 23 - 26 December and 31 December - 2 January
ONEROOM GALLERY, 9 French Place, Shoreditch, London, E1 6JB
Nearest stations: Shoreditch High Street (5-minute walk), Old Street (10-minute walk) & Liverpool Street (15-minute walk).
Antonio Tarsis (b. 1995) is a self-taught artist from Salvador, Brazil. Select solo exhibitions include: Symbolic Genocide at Carlos/Ishikawa, London, UK (2021), Colored Export at SET Dalston, London, UK (2019), and Symbolic Genocide at the ArtRio Brasil Contemporary Pavilion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2018). Select group exhibitions include: O rio é uma serpente (The River is a Serpent) as part of the Frestas Triennial, São Paulo, Brazil (2021), Echoes of South Atlantic at the Goethe-Institut in Salvador, Brazil (2018) – which was also exhibited in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Any Direction Out of the Center, Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2018) and Anti-Tropical Fascism, curated by Pablo de La Barra, at the White Cubicle Toilet Gallery, London, UK (2018).
Anderson Borba (b. 1972) is a London-based artist from Santos, Brazil. The human figure is a central subject in Borba’s practice with its representation leaning towards abstraction. He uses methods of assemblage from reclaimed wood to explore its physicality and texture. Borba’s approach favours the construction of form and uses a diverse cultural vocabulary to investigate sexuality and identity (queer/otherness) through tactile connection with the material and how those issues can be communicated through crafted objects. He is represented by Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. His most recent exhibitions include a duo show with Alex Canonico at Kupfer Gallery in London, UK (2021) and the group show Canto do Bode with Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel in Lisbon, Portugal (2021). He is now working towards exhibitions at Union Pacific, Beuys Open Source at Belmacz Gallery and Lamb Gallery in London, UK.
Mara Johanna Kölmel (b. 1989, Karlsruhe, Germany) is a London-based curator and art historian. Her practice is dedicated to identifying the gaps of a white Western art canon and unlocking it as space that comes with response-ability – the ability to respond to its architectures of power and to think with, to care for those it chooses to forget, erase, and leave behind. Mara has performed international curatorial roles for Akademie Schloss Solitude, Kunsthalle Hamburg and the Biennale of Sydney, also realising exhibitions with the curatorial collectives Approved by Pablo at Somerset House and The Silver Building in London and peer to space in Berlin. Mara obtained her MA in Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She is a co-editor of the forthcoming anthology Dada Data - Contemporary Art Practice in the Era of Post-Truth Politics (2022) for Bloomsbury and is the co-founder of SALOON London, a network for women in the