A small amount of Weiwei’s photography collection and videos are hosted in 3 floors of MIS [Museu da Imagem e do Som] in São Paulo. The show is like a biography and begins with self-portraits and daily-life photos of his time living in USA. It evolves to people on the streets, friends, riots, marches, police, performances, Chinese people and China.
As a visitor you should be barefoot or cover your shoes with a white cloth cap, just like those in hospital surgery rooms, and therefore you hear no sound of people steps. While walking and seeing the pictures on silent white walls I forgot about the medium photography and immersed in the subject. I saw myself walking in another place but in Brazil.Weiwei claims for freedom of speech and as an activist he says that stories and dreams can be a way of expression. He took photos of a particular building being built and being destroyed. This building meant to be a studio the government offered him but demolished right after the construction. His pictures show the photography as index which makes me think about the illusion power of an image. One sees a landscape and a week later sees another one in the very same place. You see both pictures and you think “was it really there or was an illusion? Was it a Photoshop collage”? According to his images the authorities of that country constantly move villages, towns and people. In this changeable architecture the photography might be one of the few ways to avoid oblivion, the loss of belonging feeling, the connection with material culture and memory.The artist show arrived in Brazil almost in the same week as the Cuban journalist and blogger Yoani Sanchez. I saw something in common between the artist and the journalist; they are both concerned about the people of their country. Is this a positive feature of a socialist society? Maybe… I think we Brazilian have some lesson to learn from these visitors and their gestures anyway.Ah! It’s not allowed to take pictures of his photos. The only way I can prove I was there are these images I scanned and “Photoshoped”.