Letícia Parente (*1930 †1991, Brazil) was a visual artist and a professor with a PhD in Chemistry. She was a pioneer of Brazilian video art during the 1970s. Her video pieces are documentations of politically, corporeally and conceptually charged actions that emphasise the multiple interactions between the artist’s body, the video camera and the Brazilian socio-historical context. For “In” (1975), Parente hangs herself by her shoulders on a dress hanger inside a closet. In another video,”Tarefa I” (Task I, 1982), she lays down on an ironing board to have her clothes ironed by the hand of a black woman. In “Preparação II” (Preparation II, 1976), the artist gives herself four injections of vaccines labeled “anti-cultural colonialism”, “anti-racism”, “anti-political mystification” and “anti-art mythification”. Parente’s video actions can be seen as manifestos against oppression in a historical period when torture was a widespread practice used by the military regime against its opponents. They are also manifestos against everyday discrimination based on gender, race and class prejudices; they are performative acts for decolonizing the body.
In Preparação I (Preparation I) Letícia Parente prepares herself to go out. In front of a bathroom mirror, she places bandages over her mouth and eyes, draws eyes and a mouth over the bandages, fixes her hair, takes her bag and leaves the room. This masquerade becomes a political commentary about the female gaze, voice, modes of interaction, sociality and corporeality in Brazilian society during the 1970s.
Courtesy André Parente