Caixinhas (Little Boxes)



Little Boxes

My commentary


To the proposal to produce a book on what I've being doing, I considered that it should cause some astonishment as described by Cassia Eller singing E.C.T. from Nando Reis, Carlos Brown and Marisa Monte.

Here's the excerpt:


Tava com cara (I was with a Guy)

Que carimba postais (who stamps post cards)
Que por descuido (by carelessness)
Abriu uma carta que voltou (he opened a returned letter)
Levou um susto (he got so creeped out)
Que lhe abriu a boca (that wide openned his mouth)
Esse recado veio pra mim (this message was for me)
Não pro senhor (not for you, mister)


Recebo o crack, colante (I received crack, tights)
Dinheiro parco, embrulhado (spare money wraped)
Em papel carbono e barbante (in carbon paper and string)
Até cabelo cortado (even cuted hair)
Retrato de 3x4 (3X4 photo)
Prá batizado distante. (for distant baptism)

Mas isso aqui, meu senhor (but this here, mister)

É uma carta de amor” (is a Love letter)



It would be worth from the point of view of the registry, but impossible because of the cost with videos, facsimiles and so...


I flirted with this idea in the little box Carta de Amor (Love Letter) where I put things wich no one will never know. My Identidade Utópica, Urna II (Utopian Identity, Urn II) also plays with this idea on the sealed envelope.


Then I saw a work from Loreto Martinez Troncoso in São Paulo, a sequence of six small white volumes on the wall, with signs and sayings, which was Incisive and strong.

The sequence shows the narrative of the intimate positioning against the generic circumstance. The “living life”, so to speak.


Great way to expose the concern that occurred to me when looking for La Chute from Camus, to reread, and not finding in my somewhat disordered library. In the search I tried to recall the story of the lawyer Clamence who, drunken at the counter of an Amsterdam bar, lamented his omissions in face of facts that had affected his conscience…

Without success in finding the book, I incorporated the character to the mess of memories and thoughts that came to me in block, reconstructing the afflictions that took me to do what I have being doing.


Much of this is seen in O que Pode Ser Dito (What Can Be Said); NÓS (We, or Knots); corpo che cade, in fact almost in everything, as I declared in an interview with Francisco Salas, PM8 Galeria ....


"PM8: The strength and power of some of your projects of this period back in the 70`s lie in the tension one perceives when viewing these works, you were under a dictatorship and some of your actions were openly political and against the regime, weren't you afraid of the possible consequences that presenting these works and projects may have caused you?,  were you aware of the statements you made at that time?


GB: What I did and what I do should be seen as very intimate and subjective things related to the solitude of that moment just before THE moment. What could be seen as a provocation. But not many people has seeing it –I’m not so famous- so I felt safe despite my two sister, who lived with me, had to runaway because of their own matters, Sergio Ferro being busted, Flavio Imperio a little later and many others friends, very little happened to me and my family. You know, when I was chief of the Department of History in Santos I hired, as professor, one or another intellectual who was leaving  jail or being chase in his hometown.

In fact people misunderstand the period mixing up what was happening in Argentina, Chile or Uruguay, despite the enormous differences of force, violence and damage"


I determined myself to not reread the original until it was fixed up the emotions that the distortion of bad recollection brought me. And I made La Chute (abjection).

Four small volumes, a polyptych, with edited photos of criminal executions collected in the record of police reports -it worth to remember that there were close to 65,000 murders that year in Brazil.

Three anonymous bodies, tied to their previously announced deaths and a solitary shoe, as the sole inheritance of the violence. The image of the shoe already frequented other episodes. In this case I used the little boxes like in Carta de Amor (Love Letter), using the back of it as a support and the verse as a enabler to assemble them together on the wall.


I passed from these boxes to anothers.

O Poeta Encurralado before Empacotado (The Cornered Poet, previously Packed) came from the reading of the poem bandeira>cummings>dali from  Roberto Bicelli, Antes que Eu Me Esqueça, second enlarged edition, whose last verse is:


pode-se tentar tornar a Sorrento? (can one try to return to Sorrento?)


não, a única solução (no, the only solution)

é viver a vida (is to live life)

a sangue frio” (in cold blood)


Remembrances of passing through Sorrento enchant my memory. I called the poet and told him the coincidence and pertinence of his verse.

I had already wrapped the book in rags, tied with silk ropes.

From the conversation, the Packed Poet turned into a Trapped Poet, a package constrained in wooden boxes (four of them) pierced by sticks, in one of which it reads the last stanza.


Another little box denies Picasso's advice: "copy others, never yourself".

I resumed  two 1992 transparencies, Desenho (Drawing) and ou (or) that were damaged by the precariousness of the material (acetate sheets) and I refigured the idea in glass, inside of a wooden small box. It's not better or worse. It's the same thing, but different. From the conceptual point of view it is the same, from the aesthetic point of view it is non-committal in impact. It is the Espelho


Caixinhas (little boxes) reminds me Droguinhas (little drags) de Mira Schendel. Not by resemblance, but by nagging

Gabriel Borba, 2019

Conjunto da Obra

Caixinhas (Little Boxes)

Transparências (Transparencies)