Rodrigo Braga‘s sensibility originates in his adolescence, marked by an unexpected encounter with a dog dying in the street. This traumatism is evoked in one of his first works in which he literally transplanted dog’s head into his face. This experience also induced the main theme of Braga’s work: the complex relationship of man to nature, on the edge between communion and battle, love and rage, in an eternal cycle of life and death.
Braga’s relationship to nature is deeply personal. In the videos and photographs that record his experiences, he appears alone, naked, in a cathartic ritual trying to renew with the world of the wilderness. Both performance document and a pure pictorial image, his work tells the story of his immersive trips to Amazon rainforest, the desire to escape civilization, to get lost and dissipate into the nature.
Son of scientists in biology, Braga’s work appears at intersection of different disciplines of knowledge: anthropology, literature, sociology and philosophy. Abundant in symbols and metaphors, his images demonstrate the limits of language. For example, water, omnipresent in his work, symbolizes the universal link of everything on Earth. The jungle, the ocean, the plants, the animals, the man – everything contains, absorbs and renders water.
Water is also a metaphor for the energy flow that allows the transformation of the biological and chemical matter. This cyclical metamorphosis is another important subject of Braga’s work. Nature is for him a universe where all elements are equal and interchangeable. Each form can be freely transformed into another: the water into a fish, a fish into a leaf, a leaf into a feather, a feather into an egg and so on… The nature of all things is conditioned by an eternal transformation of elements, a universal resemblance, dissolution of the boundaries between beings – yet another way to understand biomimesis.
Inspired by nature, Braga also draws his references form art history, such as Dutch 17th century still lifes, romantic landscapes, surrealism, land art, performances of Ana Mendieta, or those by Joseph Beuys, rocking the dead hare.
Questioning man’s anthropocentric vision and his power relationship to the nature gives Braga an opportunity for reconciliation. His photographs and videos are picturesque visualization of existential questions. Their poetic world testifies artist’s extremely intense and passionate relationship to nature, creating a powerful metaphor of human existence on Earth, in a search for Paradise Lost.