Irrealis Mood, 2016
Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin

View of the exhibition, Photos: Giorgio Perottino
Always and Again This Pathetic ‘If’, 2015, Foam, steel, glass, semi reflexive mirror, plywood, 55 x 68 x 31 cm
Uma Jornada Infinita de Sonhos e Descobertas, 2016, Ceramic, steel, wax, soil and painted wall, variable dimensions
The original display system designed by Lina Bo Bardi for the Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo in 1968 was abandoned in the 90's after a long dispute with political and ideological overtones between the directors of the institution. Composed by sheets of tempered glass stuck vertically into concrete cubes, the display system was a "counter-museum" critique on the linear and authoritarian guidance of museum walls. Its modernist ideal of transparency – an extension to the buildings' architecture also signed by Bo Bardi – and the freedom it allowed for visitors' navigation in space, over time, were betrayed by its material deterioration. The structures suffered with the humidity, light and heat from Brazilian tropical climate. The sheets of glass where the collection of paintings were hanging started to dilate, putting the preservation of the artworks in danger.

In 1996, after Lina Bo Bardi’s death, MASP built white plaster walls where the paintings were installed and put the displays in storage. In 2015, new versions of the display system marked the come back of Bo Bardi’s original project in MASP's painting collection. A patina of anachronism seemed to have grown on the structures after almost twenty years in storage. The current concerns are different than the 60's – instead of trying to translate Bo Bardi's critical attitude towards analogous contemporary museology strategies, MASP chose the less progressive path of consolidating a museum-of-itself, as an institution seeking its roots, anchoring itself on a project that was not at all about safety. The introduction text currently at MASP sets the tone of the reenactment. The title An infinite journey of dreams and discoveries is a quote from the definition of art signed by the bank which was the major sponsor of the project.

Uma Jornada Infinita de Sonhos e Descobertas, 2016, Detail
Borborema, 2016, Woodcut print on folded book dummy, stencil, offset posters, steel, magnets, 245 x 145 cm
What is Beautiful I Do Not Know, 2016, Plywood, formica, steel, painted cardboard, 94 x 68 x 40 cm
Charles Darwin’s Face On Banknotes, 2016, Concrete, ceramic, painted wood, glass, plastic bubble wrap, 180 x 110 x 40 cm
Sol Preto, 2016, HD video, color, stereo, 23 min.

The work selection presented in the show documents the ideological issues tackled by the artist in his exploration of the modern heritage, which he sees as declining. He talks about time, our time, as a suspended temporal dimension where skepticism seems to be the strongest conviction. Daniel Frota retrospectively focuses on specific events and references of in the 20th Century history of science, architecture, literature and art, using verbal language as the thread that interweaves all the elements in the exhibition.

Frota is interested in the notion of ucronia in relation to the crisis of modern thought. A subgenre of sci-fi literature, ucronia relies on the possibility to change an event in the past, and consequently to recreate a new, fictional present: the works on view all share this status as re-creations. In his sculptures and videos, Daniel Frota concentrates on the difference between history and stories: what happens to our designs when their ideologies fade away? What are ruins but nothing more than projects getting closer to their original floorplan configuration?

In linguistics, there is a term that describes a group of verbal moods used in situations of contingency and unpredictability. The term is irrealis mood, a set of grammatical ‘states of mind’ that includes, for instance, the subjunctive mood, which allows speakers to predicate something about things unknown, as yet unconfirmed, or unverifiable. It allows speakers to talk about their intentions and wishes, and it is on account of this ability that the artist has chosen this expression as the title of his solo exhibition.