Thiago Rocha Pitta

Heritage, Brazil, 2007

DVD from 16 mm footage (Edition of 5), 11 min.

Courtesy of Andersen’s Contemporary, Copenhagen/Berlin

What is distinctive about Thiago Rocha Pitta’s art work is the aesthetic use he makes of nature and of time. Earth is the solid material that characterizes our planet, and water flows through it in a constant cycle of evaporation and condensation. The processes of the elements of nature are basic metaphors of work with secret internal and external energetic forces. Thiago Rocha Pitta seems to overturn the elements. In his film “Heritage” (2007), the land is out on the open sea, in a boat. In the film “Inland Shipwreck” (2008), the ship is buried in solid ground. It seems there are enough mysteries and wonders in the real world, and no need to seek the mists of the supernatural. Time as decay or as cyclical nature, entropy. Like Robert Smithson, one could call this “creative destruction”. Instead of collapsing and being destroyed after construction, these natural elements rise out of the destruction that precedes the construction. Since everything, in the end, aspires to a state of equilibrium, here we find a center that is justified and free of hierarchy.

Thiago Rocha Pitta’s work has a close connection with the writings of the mariner and author Joseph Conrad. Having witnessed the forces embodied in the sea, Conrad developed a deterministic attitude to the world, which he expressed in a letter from 1898: “What makes mankind tragic is not that they are the victims of nature, it is that they are conscious of it. … There is no morality, no knowledge and no hope; there is only the consciousness of ourselves which drives us about a world that … is always but a vain and fleeting appearance.”