Opera Hominum is not an accelerator of emotions, but the living process of interaction between a collective history of the workers of a sugar and alcohol mill and a personal experience of the artist José Rufino. An installation can be an ode to employees who have spent part of their lives as sugarcane cutters, truckers, smelters, all employees of the Santa Terezinha Plant. Located in the middle of the forest of Pernambuco, in the municipality of Água Preta, now deactivated, but not transformed into an artistic center of art, from the playful posture of its former owner Ricardo Pessoa de Queiroz, although it is not the same. The entrepreneur opted to resurface a space, now active for young artists.
Raised in an imposing way among hills of cane fields, a mill is steeped in history. The administrative area keeps some treasures of the Brazilian worker as payrolls of the workers of times. With this documentation, Rufino invites some of them to integrate his Opera Hominum, leaving his hands “printed” in monotype, on these leaves yellowed by time. Rufino appropriates objects from the obscure bureaucratic universe to incorporate them and transform them into a living body.
The world may be familiar to him, who was an ingenious boy, great-grandson, and grandson of Paraiban colonels, powerful landlords, slaves, and militias. The subjectivity of the work takes place without frontier field with an artistic transposition of a social experience. When deprivatised, these documents are welcome to the public and private and adhere to Dadaist linguistic occultation through a historical reality, is not reduced to mere chronicle. The installation consisting of 70 archaeological panels stands out as the hands of 20 workers and a single woman, an administration official.
The entire production of Rufino, who has just received the prize from the Brazilian Association of Art Critics, BCA, as the best contemporary artist of 2016, is inspired by the articulation of objects collected from his family legacy, such as furniture, letters, documents, Photos, in addition to episodes of the political life of his parents, left-wing militants. By adopting the pseudonym José Rufino, his grandfather’s paternal name, protagonist an oligarchic past of the Northeast, which he continually puts in check.