São Paulo, 1972
The city plays a central role in Daniel Caballero’s investigations. To reflect on the individual and collective uses and occupations of the urban space, the artist collects materials from vacant lots and park or woodland, establishes partnerships, and proposes ephemeral interventions and environmental actions. At Frestas, he presents the installation Viagem pitoresca através do espaço ao redor da minha casa [Picturesque Trip through the Space Outside my House], underway since 2012. The project is a mix of materials gathered and interventions and environmental actions conducted—often in collaboration with artists, collectives and volunteers—in wastelands, squares and parks throughout Greater São Paulo. One of the aims is to recover the history and original species of an endangered biome, the Cerrado (tropical savanna), which predominates in the Brazilian Midwest, but with some remaining pockets in metropolitan São Paulo.
This environmental problem features in Caballero’s installation in the form of structures made out of building materials and scrap, naturalist drawings of the native flora, videos, books and travelogues, plants and transplanted vegetation. The artist weaves a narrative about a resilient nature and, in parallel, collates for a reflection on art documentation as a way of sampling events of everyday life, beyond the artwork and its museum spaces. In so doing, he underscores the inadequacy of thinking about art as something autonomous or confined to material objects. More than simply mapping endangered greenery, Viagem pitoresca… articulates a set of events, interventions and transformations. These gestures demonstrate the potential of art as a social and political act capable of triggering the futures—or at least the utopias—incubating in things and the world.