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Appropriations

Tadeu Chiarelli Santander Cultural, Porto Alegre, 2002

Prominent among the bizarre collection in attendance at the Appropriations/collections exhibition are Walmor B. Corrêa’s dioramas and small-format paintings. At first sight, these works seem to hold little or nothing out of the ordinary. On the contrary: they are typical naturalistic paintings of animal life. In principle, the only unusual thing worth mentioning is that these apparently educational works ( they seem made for biology classes in the past) are to be found in an exhibition of contemporary art. However, when standing before these meticulously painted images, we slowly realize, they are not quite naturalistic representations of wild animals found in the forests of Brazil.

We also realize that the truth suupposedly inherent in naturalistic aesthetics is no more than a myth and it is open to being challenged by a most perverse talent. As if imbued by the spirit of a 19th –century European or U.S. travelling artist who had completely lost his mind over the exuberance and splendor of Brazil’s natural environmet, Corrêa paints improbable beings that, however, have a spine-tingling familiarity about them.

The artist’s creatures are hybrid mammals and insects, birds and fish, mammals and birds, mammals and fish. They point to a whimsical world and represent the taxidermy of a fantastic widlife that boggles our mind, all the more so because, in today’s world, they are no longer mere artistic hallucinations, but actual scientific possibilities. …this archive of metamorphosed wildlife represented in Walmor Corrêa’s painting challenges our faith in th e truth of natural aesthetics. As we have mentioned, it points to a nature transformed into sheer artifice and arbitrariness.