12 May - 18 June 2022
Paulo Nazareth

STEVENSON presents BIRDMAN, Paulo Nazareth’s first solo exhibition in the Netherlands.

Conceptualised as a miniature artist-survey, the exhibition combines installation, drawing, painting, sculpture and video spanning from 2011 to 2022. This selection foregrounds the ways migration has been a central and evolving motif in the Nazareth’s oeuvre. He says:

BIRDMAN is about the act of spreading the seeds of fruit trees and flowers along the ways I walk…the seeds are thrown in the hope that they germinate and become trees that can feed the TRECHEROS/wanderers who come later.

The metaphor of the bird, from which the exhibition takes its title, is central to all the featured works. In the video Encantando Pajaros (2011-2012), the artist is seen feeding airborne flocks as an articulation of the manufacture of dependence and the ways danger can take on the appearance of generosity in contemporary conditions.

INITIAL STUDY FOR A COMPARATIVE MORPHOLOGY BETWEEN BIRDS AND PEOPLE, Nazareth’s most recent series, continues to probe this set of allegories. Rendered in chalk, the contents of the simplified drawings range from questioning the psychological effects of captivity to a playful engagement with the existential consequences of doubt.

An installation first shown in Nazareth’s 2021 Johannesburg exhibition, INTAKA ENDALA EPHEZU’ KOMKHOMBE OMHLOPHE, comprising maize, a taxidermied flamingo and wild bird seed further highlights the paradoxes and ironies at the heart of the artist’s works. Through this ongoing work, titled INTAKA ESEFESTILENI,  the artist offers another view of concepts such as permanence and preservation for both living and non-living subjects of time.

Untitled [Luzia - Indigenous Land] (2020) of engraved stones, was first work created by Nazareth as part of his presentation in the 22nd Biennale of Sydney. Here, the artist smuggled found stones from his home state of Minas Gerais to Sydney in an effort to retrace his family history, following genealogical research that suggests his ancestors were part of the first wave of people to move from Africa to Asia, and then Australia before finally settling in South America.

Across BIRDMAN, Nazareth focuses on the relations between human, animal, and earth, examining how these have been shaped by migration and capitalism.

The exhibition opens Thursday 12 May.