Q&A/ Edu de Barros
Ana Carolina Rodarte
Life post-apocalypse by Edu de Barros
If the world is in ruins, the artist Edu de Barros, also known as “prophet”, has been raising his helping hands to calm everyone down and say that there is life after the sound of the seven trumpets. With a recent visit to Galera Sé, in São Paulo, Edu, who lives and works in the favela of Rocinha (Rio de Janeiro - RJ), composes a sacred liturgy with paintings, drawings, sculptures, performances, installations and films. He was one of the founders of ANoiva, the Kingdom of Art Church, created by artists who believe in the artistic process as a way to access the divine. Check out below what he shared with us about his process.
Three first words and two primer numbers:
Edu de Barros, 27, Rio de Janeiro (Brasil – RJ), "Contemporary art"
What motivates you in Art?
My creative process is a response to the present. It’s like I’m an antenna, catching ideas. I try not to predispose my work towards specific expectations, especially in the process of painting; my political and cultural intuitions and interests, and sacred knowledge (symbolic and occult) that guide the result. My personal motivation is to challenge and eventually surprise myself with every single step of the work or project I’m in. In the macro political aspect, living in Brazil, my work and ideas are contaminated with thick political and social aspects, with which I try to deal when reading, between the lines of common actions and objects, the sublime and metaphysical aspects of it. For me, the process of understanding Brasil and the world in general, exists through magic, and in a country - which is sold under the illusion of a tropical, cheerful and diverse place - burying the colonial problem, I see that the dystopia that is in fact our reality is increasingly evident . That is why I seek, through enchantment and fiction, to create parallel realities in Brasil. This became a strong aspect of the work to achieve a historical distance from the present moments and to be able to think better about contemporary issues, as if a fictional liturgy were being projected in counter-proposal to everyday events.
What’s your main research?
Since 2017 I’ve been developing a research that I call “the green and yellow apocalypse”, in which I’ve combined esoteric and religious elements with the political climate of Brasil. My work penetrates my surroundings symbolically and semantically, from ordinary characters and objects that are natural to my daily life to viral internet content to denser historical and demographic relationships - which, perhaps, by analyzing the dystopian present and the colonial past, have outlined a prospect of the future . As the engine of the fiction of a geotagged heterotopic territory in Brasil, in this process of aspiring - and even claiming - the country as an aesthetic invention that advocates the scripts of its end since its beginnings (apocalyptic prophecies).
Do you have any sort of references? Which?
My references are pretty much coming from the music universe, mainly from versatile artists such as Solange Knowles, Cardi B, Sevdaliza, Rosalía, Björk, JOCA, São Lucas, Urias, Linn da Quebrada, Baco Exu do Blues, Jorge Ben Jor, Pabllo Vittar, Frank Ocean, Tyler the Creator, A$AP Rocky, Kanye West e Travis Scott. Few directors as well, such as Alejandro Jodorowsky, David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino. Occultist books such as “Caibalion” (Três Iniciados), “The voice of Silence” (Helena Blavatsky), “Bhagavad Gita” (Krishna Dvapayana Vyasa), “The Prophet” (Khalil Gibran) e “The Way of Tarot” (Jodorowsky). Classics from Disney. Internet memes. Biblical passages. Contemporary artists such as Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Mamma Andersson, Marina Abramović, Eduardo Berliner, Paulo Pjota, Nídia Aranha, Maxwell Alexandre, Marlene Dumas e Kerry James Marshall, and many others.
Where can we find your work online?