22.10.2022 – 15.01.2023
Curator: Valentín Roma
Opening: Friday 21 October, 7 pm
This exhibition brings together almost a hundred drawings, compositions and collages created by Jean Wyllys (Alagoinhas, Brazil, 1974) during his exile. It is a kind of log with which the artist narrates his subjectivity, his memories, his mythologies and his ways of taking the floor and politicizing existence.
Jean Wyllys (Alagoinhas, Bahia, Brazil, 1974) served as a federal deputy with the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) between 2010 and 2018. Since then he has been in exile as a result of death threats and homophobic and racist persecution based on fake news during the candidacy and subsequent presidency of the far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil.
A prominent LGBTI rights activist, during his time in parliament Wyllys played a crucial role in the repeal of some articles of the Brazilian Civil Code that regulated same-sex marriage and in the recognition of the labour rights of sex workers. He also proposed to legalize and regulate the production of marijuana, as well as to provide government funding for sexual reassignment surgery and hormonal treatment for transgender people.
The forced exile of Wyllys, together with that of other intellectuals and artists such as Marcia Tiburi, Wagner Schwartz and Débora Diniz, is part of the harassment of all ideological dissent encouraged by Bolsonarism. This harassment saw its most terrible expression with the murder in 2018 of Marielle Franco, a councillor of Rio de Janeiro and one of the most prominent voices in the demands for the rights of black women in Brazil. Today, Wyllys, Franco, Tiburi, Schwartz and Diniz represent a new political culture not only in Brazil but also on the entire South American continent.
After a period in Berlin, Jean Wyllys settled in Barcelona, where he is preparing a doctoral thesis on the creation and propagation of fake news as a government technology, with a particular emphasis on the last decade in Brazil.
De-exile presents almost a hundred drawings, collages and compositions that chart the artist’s daily life, including his memories, his opinions, his mythologies and his dialogues with what is happening and with his critical subjectivity. Including portraits of characters from popular culture, dissident allegories, nappies, paper bags, newspapers, coffee, wax and watercolours, Wyllys’s plastic work shows a drive to speak out, an urgent, untimely and unavoidable irruption.
The epilogue of this exhibition is one of the chapters of Resistances. Art and Words to Combat Political Defamation, a film series created by Francesc Badia i Dalmases and Jean Wyllys, directed by filmmaker Cristina Juliana Abril and produced by openDemocracy.