Banderas Rotas (Broken Flags), 2014

Basel 2016
Meyer Riegger, Galleria Franco Noero
Banderas Rotas (Broken Flags) documents one of Paulo Nazareth’s many conceptual collections, with which he registers the places he visits on his life-long walk across the world. This collection was made during the itinerant artist’s two-year journey, in sandals, from Brazil to the United States and contains flags from 19 countries. The flag itself is the consummate symbolic representation of national territory; it is a condensed, abstract image often representing religious iconography (the cross or the star of David, for example), ideology (i.e., the communist hammer and sickle), or other symbols (such as the moon, the globe, or a tree). Nazareth's Broken Flags are films of this national authority made undone by the subtle and constant force of the wind. In the installation, they are shown on low palettes scattered across the space. Effectively, the artist suggests the way that an invisible, natural force can undo signs of political authority – as the cloth loses its integrity, so too does the value for which it stands. By placing them on the ground, Nazareth withdraws them from the sky. Consistent with many works in his practice, Broken Flags suggests that all frontiers and borders are essentially artificial by invoking simple, natural imagery – the earth, the wind, and the sky.