PRINT September 2020


THIS PAST SUMMER, Clara Ianni was set to open a solo exhibition ahead of the postponed Thirty-First São Paulo Bienal—a show now lost to history. It is an unfortunate, if oddly appropriate, fate for the artist, whose work in sculpture, video, and performance focuses on episodes forgotten and repressed in Brazilian history. The video Forma livre (Free Form), 2013, for example, tells the story of a little-known episode in the construction of Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer’s Brasília, when, in 1959, state police massacred a hundred striking workers. Like much of Ianni’s work, that piece reveals the intimate enmeshment of the aesthetic forms of liberal democracy—here, the modern utopian capital city—with the state violence that is its very undoing.

Her most recent work, Repetições (Repetitions), 2017–18, is a video shot in a black-box theater inhabited by a single actor. It’s

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