PGU 666 ou Artista Profissional

PGU 666


Professional Artist

My commentary


6th JAC, Young Contenporary Arte, Museum of Contenporary Art of the University of São Paulo, 1972, was a rethinking of the regiment of salons with museography in its own pattern: there would be no jury, classification or awards. Walter Zanini and Donato Ferrari exchanged their ideas and composed an event totally unrelated to what was usual


Zanini thought it was inappropriate to judge the artists and classify them among  their peers, but insisted that each one should reflect on everything he did. Responsibility, anyway. 


The freedom to get rid of norms and to express oneself  "as it were" was, it is said, the yearning of those times and could not be linked to principles of a known standard. Patterns that made up the classification criteria that should be abandoned. This condition generated innovations: precious things and some preposterous ones all together. It allowed, for example, the acceptance of the "art medium" as fine art, which was in the air and was practiced outside known circuits: Mail Art, Video Art, Performance, Installation and the rest gained, with time, their status under the heading "Conceptual Art". Personally, I preferred "Conceptualism."


It should not be said that the "system" with its tentacles, has co-opted the new mode as feared at the time. No. What happened is that the new mode imposed itself on the system and started to be studied and evaluated with criteria drawn from it.

The 6th JAC was the moment for São Paulo and other artistic centers of the country. The classificatory judgment was replaced by lottery and the enrollment by presence.

It was produced a drawing  dividing the space into numbered lots and a table for annotations and reflection on occurrences. Printed on two-sided, front and back, it  was the event poster.


Among those present - a crowd - lots were drawn and each winner would take care of his creation and, responsibly, write down the development of his work on the table.


I had no luck. I stayed out. Radha Abramo, a very active critic at the time, was indignant with my bad luck and announced that she would buy me a lot, which she did from someone present who just passing by and had been drawn. In turn, I asked for a document of Selling and Buying Agreement; receipt and copy of the check for payment; and donation term. I authenticated the paperwork and began to enrich a folder with the documentation that the exaggerated bureaucracy used to demand. I put there attested of moral suitability, certificate of residence, of vaccine, and tables filled in bureaucratic places of the city. The Traffic Department was the richest relief facilitated by the number of dispatchers who tingle in the vicinity and inside, who in exchange for a tip, would do something without looking at what they had in hand. It just had a resemblance to the documentation to which they were accustomed to. Similarity achieved with the application of rubber and "LetraSet" in the right places. Some distrusted and threatened. They were usually brutes and acting as if they were cops and lawyers at the same time in a strange but compelling mix.


I organized the paperwork in a folder that made the caricature of the folders I saw in the hands of those people, using as a structure the piece The Exception and the Rule of Bertold Brecht, structure that also guided me in the ordering of actions and the search for material . As it grew fat, the folder was displayed on my lot in a conventional sculpture display.


At the end, one last document made me a professional artist, with a Identification Card and everything else. Ten copies, numbered, were taken in photocopy. The reproduction resource of documents of the time, photocpy.


Having written on the cover of the folder "Professional Artist", many people catalog the work with this title. In the copy number 5 I pasted the label that numbers it next to another with the saying "A Brecht" (To Brecht).



Years later, in 1980, the Cooperativa de Artistas Plásticos de São Paulo (São Paulo Artists Coopeative) reprinted the folder as a "Book of Artist", in addition to a brief history and a form to be completed that made possible for anyone who possesses it to become a "professional artist", through my signature and a critical text to be obtained later. The book went on sale in three editions with different values: SL (Super Luxury), SL (Semi Luxury), SL (Sem [= no] Luxury ) There was nothing different between the one and the other and the buyer would chose what he wanted to buy as someone who takes a stand. All copies sold were priced as SL (Semi Luxury) .


Later, in 1985, arranging drawers, separating production files, annotations, lay outs, paste up, photolithography, I noticed that there were in PGU 666 ramdon images –stamps mainly- with visual quality related, in structure, with the collages I had been making, slowly, for years. Travel Memorabilia.


I separated six of them and dated them by giving them titles that seemed to me suggestive, somewhat related to what was read or seen and which, at the same time, referred back to its bureaucratic origin. It was no longer the Exception and the Rule, but, always, Unified General Record.


Of the new version of PGU 666, format A3, six pages, were made three copies, in envelopes like the album Em Quatro Desentende-se Melhor (In Four it Disagree Better).

The matreial is reserved for printing on demando of limited numberes copies.

Gabriel Borba, 2012



Conjunto da Obra

PGU 666 ou Artista Profissional