The art of Hudinilson Urbano Junior (São Paulo, 1957 – 2013) emerged in the late 1970s, when Brazilian cultural production was stifled by the military dictatorship, and the avant-garde Concretist project of blending art and life had been appropriated by the bohemia. In a context in which the very few extant museums and galleries were presided over by the establishment, and the only interventions in public space had to assume the posture of a guerrilla action (Hudinilson Jr was originally part of the collective 3NÓS3 who, among their many performances, bagged monuments around the city), the artist turned to the intimate domain of his own body: by using a Xerox machine he accessed, reproduced and learned about every single detail of his anatomy. “Already from the beginning, the topic of my work was the body,” says Hudinilson Jr in one of his last interviews. “If a person is alone with a Xerox machine, what is the first thing this person will do? […] I first Xeroxed the hand, then the face — but then also all the rest. […] I would close the door, undress and continue my explorations.”
The exhibition at the Flash Art NY Desk brought together a constellation of works, mostly from the 1980s, which all insist on Hudinilson Jr’s obsession with the male body. Collages, photographs, found objects and sculptures, along with the trademark Xeroxes, allow for a scrutiny of the traits of virility, from clichéd representations of gay pornography to abstractions that result from the feverish process of enlarging, reframing and collaging together pictures of the artist’s own body. The narcissistic afflatus, which Hudinilson Jr always intuitively recognized as the thrust of his practice, can also be recognized as an empirical exploration of his queer identity — an impending onanism that exhausts the political gesture by imitating a sexual encounter that can only be nonproductive: hence, the artist’s posição amorosa, his “sex position,” fosters little more than the “exercise” of reproducing the self.