Maxwell Alexandre

b. 1990 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Maxwell Alexandre
Maxwell Alexandre, I saw things I imagined, 2020

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Maxwell Alexandre observes the forces at play in the Rocinha favela, Rio de Janeiro, where he was raised and resides. A diverse and densely populated neighbourhood, the structures of the evangelical church, organised crime, and state violence are constantly present. In the artist’s ongoing Pardo é Papel series he plays on the Portuguese word pardo, meaning ‘brown’, which refers to the widely available kraft paper that he uses as a support for his work, as well as to the census category used to describe Afro-Brazilian people and others of mixed race. The work I saw things I imagined is a churning scene from a music concert, with performers leaping and surfing on the arms of fans. Phone screens as glowing rectangles of warm yellow cascade down the picture plane, and what at first glance may look like gestural sweeps in the liquid shoe polish that Alexandre has used as his paint, turn out to be the outlines of individuals in the crowd, linked as a celebratory mass.