Renowned for their characteristically exuberant interventions in public and private spaces, galleries and cultural institutions around the world, and the unique collective experiences that come of these, for their first UK solo exhibition Brazilian collective OPAVIVARÁ! prepares to transform Tate Liverpool’s top floor gallery into an immersive environment – or ‘hive’ of social activity.
Part of Tate Liverpool’s ‘We Have Your Art Gallery’ series, OPAVIVARÁ!: Utupya will be quite unlike any traditional exhibition experience. Visitors will be encouraged to play an active part in the animation and interpretation of the work – taking a seat in a giant hammock designed to initiate negotiation and collaboration between strangers, to a backing track of traditional chocalho rattles; or coming together around a communal tea station to enjoy a free brew made using medicinal herbs.
The exhibition is being developed in conversation between OPAVIVARÁ! and various community groups from around Liverpool, partly in response to the city’s history of migration and contemporary debates around borders. Yet perhaps these themes also touch upon a wider, global need for more moments of genuine, unconfined interaction in a time of unparalleled connectivity yet heightened levels of social atomisation.
Utupya (a title derived from a combination of ‘utopia’, and the generic term for the native Brazilian ‘Tupi’ tribes) is an ongoing project led by the four anonymous members of the OPAVIVARÁ! collective, which sets out to provide a positive framework for examining the hybrid, mixed nature of contemporary culture. Indeed, this refreshing emphasis on positivity lies at the heart of their work, which pivots upon encouraging people to ‘unlearn’ their habitual, taught relationship to the world around them, and instead operate in a more curious, questioning way, underpinned by the core values of pleasure and affection.