“The production of Lula Ricardi transits between several media and supports, investing in the research of various languages (stamp, object, installation and collage), yet it is with the exercise of photography that it reaches the most powerful and poetic results. Moved by restlessness and the need to displace his field of work and his means of expression, the artist does not consider himself a photographer, facing photography as another visual resource that he can apply to his work to establish a dialogue to the world. However, his photographic production has grown and increased over the last four years, with the development of different series which were dedicated to investigating specific plastic and conceptual issues: the action and the human marks on space, the ruins caused by time, the relations between body and place – the body and the flesh, the awakening and the solitude.
Now with Hotel 66, Lula Ricardi puts photography at the center of his research, deepening his gaze, assuming a rigorous work methodology and producing images of intense plasticity and conceptual interest. Facing photography as a platform that allows him to perceive, to relate and to interpret the world, Ricardi combines the aesthetic concern with the documentary record, and thus, integrates himself to the expressive segment of contemporary production, which operates by redefining the conceptual contours of this category of photography. What he presents are images whose documentary aspects attest to the poetic subject of historical character, they are records of almost marginal places, made to be seen at night, chosen amid the chaos of the “paulista“ urban landscape.
The photographs that compose the Hotel 66 project are a record of spaces, which although public – are practically hidden during the day, lost in the heterogeneous sets of buildings of São Paulo. Taken during the night, the images concentrate on small hotel establishments, which remain mainly in places of more deterioration and disregard by the public power. The focus is on “anonymous” hotels that do not have trading names written on their modest facades, but only the word hotel to designate the function. Without identity, these hotels possibly cheat the rules of a formal economy by offering – at a lower price – basic services to low-income people, who use them as a temporary residence, a simple overnight stay or a cheap sex accommodation, since some of them serve this purpose exclusively.
They are hotels, which for some reasons, live in invisibility: their facades are lost in the confusion of information in which they coexist, within a dispute for space in the streets; devoid of identity, they are not listed in hotel catalogs or tourism sites; they serve the public that integrate the invisible layers of the population, the mass of people with no voice and whose identities are always at risk.
Hidden during the day, these are nocturnal dynamic hotels, which only appear when night allows – in the darkness, when the magic of lights comes into action – and when from the shadows, myriads of types of people, anonymous and marginalized, arise: workers exhausted from fatigue, newly arrived travelers, drunks and addicts, sellers and consumers of sex – all desiring a room with a bed. They are characters who are absent from the photographs, but arise when someone inquires about the use of those Non-Places. The presence of the customers is rare in the whole, but it can be perceived by means of a few signs: parked cars, a few open windows, other windows lit by television sets, a bathroom light and a few people at the reception.
A hotel is a type of human accommodation that integrates the category of a Non-Place, defined by Marc Augé (1992) as the construction of a physical and social space in which no one is part of does not have the feeling of belonging or the appearance of affective bonds to it; it is only a place of circulation, of impermanence, of solitude and of anonymity. With their lack of identities, these inexpensive accommodations, destined for quick passages or sensual adventures, are spaces of intense traffic and impersonal relationships.
The facades, especially the entrances (which are sometimes the only forms of contact between the hotel and the street, the link between the visible exterior and the imagined interior), are usually photographed with frontal frame, with occurrences of slight variations in the angle of the point of view. The darkness of the night, at the same time, contrasts with the lighting and values the dubious taste in communication resources and decoration – employed by these establishments so that they become visible. The set of images shows that there is a kind of visual code for this popular hotel accommodation to stand out in the urban landscape and to communicate with the social group to which it provides service.
A cheesy pattern, which results in visual compositions of intense plasticity, when recorded by the look of Ricardi. At Hotel 66, the night sky intensifies the visual power of the luminous signs, the contours and the applications of neon wires and colored lamps – recurring elements in the facades. The radiant luminosity reveals some elements of the architecture: the low-cost covering and finishing materials, either the walls painted with bright colors or dirty and pecked, the narrow and somber staircases and the receptions decorated with paintings from a street market. Everything contributes to the creation of a tense atmosphere in the situation, as if, almost in contradiction, these places destined to be a temporary shelter but also contained dangers and latent secrets. Using light and shade, Lula Ricardi creates a metaphor for the existence of the photographic image; of the passing of one to the other makes the fundamental subject and the subject of his work.
The editing procedures adopted in the book result in rich dialogues between the images, through the sequence in which they are organized and the pairings that highlight similarities between the architectural elements, the choice of colors, the lighting patterns, the sign insertion locations and even the frameworks adopted by the artist. The presentation of Hotel 66 in a book format is a way found by Lula Ricardi to catalog these anonymous establishments, a way to give visibility to what had previously remained hidden. In the end, it raises a capital question: of everything that there is in the world, what are the percentages of what we see, of what we want to see and of what they let us see?”
Divino Sobral, 2017
Born in 1968
Honours Degree in Architecture and Urbanism.
Development of studies in photography, collage, objects, digital prints and drawings.
MAIN SOLO EXHIBITIONS
Hotel 66, Photographs and Photobook. Museum of Image and Sound (MIS), São Paulo, Brazil
Despertencimento (Unbelonging), Photographs. Goiânia Museum of Art (MAG), Goiânia, Brazil
Brave New World, Photographs, digital prints and installations. Mato Grosso do Sul Museum of Contemporary Art (MARCO), Campo Grande, Brazil
MAIN COLLECTIVE EXHIBITIONS
Antilogies: photographics in the Pinacoteca de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
New Political Art, Lauro Campos Foundation, São Paulo, Brazil
On Men and Mice, Aura Gallery, São Paulo, Brazil
Sorrowful Tropics, Mezanino Gallery, São Paulo, Brazil
Paraty in Foco, Paraty, Brazil
Desvenda Art Fair, Signs of Primitive Art Photograph Nº 2, São Paulo, Brazil
Nuvem Gallery, São Paulo, Brazil
Prize for Best Photograph at the 4th Autumn Show of Latin America: Memorial of Latin America (SOAL), São Paulo, Brazil
15th Marc Ferrez Funarte Photography Prize: Documentary and Photobook Project: Hotel 66
Honorable Mention at 4th Master Luiz de França Photography Contest, Ex Orixás Photography – Museu da Abolição (Abolition Museum), Recife, Brazil
Acquisition Prize at Art Exhibition of Mato Grosso do Sul, 2014 edition, with the project Bureaucratic Schemes
Acquisition Prize: Temporary Exhibitions – Brave New World Exhibition, Mato Grosso do Sul Museum of Contemporary Art (MARCO), Campo Grande, Brazil
Finalist in the 4th Edition of the RM Ibero-American Photobook Contest with the art book “The Flesh Which Serves Us”, Mexico City, Mexico
MAIN ART SALONS
8th Itinerary Exhibition Artists Without Galleries, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Goiânia, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
42nd Salão de Arte de Ribeirão Preto (SARP), Rupture and Blockage, Photographs at Ribeirão Preto Art Museum (MARP), Ribeirão Preto, Brazil
48th SAC – Piracaba Exhibition of Contemporary Art – Post-capitalism, Photographs – Pinacoteca Municipal “Miguel Dutra” Art Museum, Piracicaba, Brazil
44th Luiz Sacilotto Contemporary Art Exhibition – Rupture and Blockage Photographs, Santo André, Brazil
4th SOAL – Autumn Show of Latin America: Memorial of Latin America, São Paulo, Brazil
47th SAC – Piracaba Exhibition of Contemporary Art – Bureaucratic Schemes
Objects, Miguel Dutra, Municipal Pinacoteca Art Museum, Piracicaba, Brazil
14th Guarulhos Modern Art Exhibition – Despertencimento (Unbelonging) Photographs, Municipal Centre for Education, Piracicaba, Brazil
Mato Grosso do Sul Art Exhibition – 2014 edition, Bureaucratic Schemes, Objects, Mato Grosso do Sul Museum of Contemporary Art (MARCO), Campo Grande, Brazil
Londrina Art 3, Unbelonging, Photographs – DAP – Visual Arts Division of the House of Culture / UEL, Londrina, Brazil
39th SARP – Ribeirão Preto Art Exhibition – Despertencimento (Unbelonging), Photographs, Ribeirão Preto Art Museum (MARP), Ribeirão Preto, Brazil
Mato Grosso do Sul Art Exhibition – 2013 edition – Photographs: “Why I can perceive you visually yet not see you, Mato Grosso do Sul Museum of Contemporary Art (MARCO), Campo Grande, Brazil
12th Jataí Art Exhibition – Photographs: Dream Study I and II, Jataí Contemporary Art Museum, Jataí, Brazil
Art Museum: Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Four photographs in the Project HOTEL 66, São Paulo, Brazil
Mato Grosso do Sul Museum of Contemporary Art (MARCO), Object NO, from the Bureaucratic Schemes series, Campo Grande, Brazil
Mato Grosso do Sul Museum of Contemporary Art (MARCO), Untitled, photograph from the Brave New World series, Compo Grande, Brazil