Yuri Tripodi is a 23-year-old freelance artist born in Salvador (Bahia) who lives in São Paulo. During this past week in Brazil, Tripodi has caused chaos on social media channels as a result of the release of photographs of his performance “Ul-traje Para Ocasiões Fúnebres” which would translate to “Outrage for Funebre Occasions” if the artist hadn’t played with the word “ultraje,” since the Portuguese word “traje” means attire in English, his intent with “ul-traje” is to mean “Outrageous Attire for Funebre Occasions.”
Let me point out that Tripodi decided to enter the Sé Cathedral, the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of São Paulo wearing a woven black and transparent muslin, three feet of black tulle and military combat boots. The war of morals and thoughts was declared!
“The idea came from my observations from the experience of entering churches in Salvador and watching their events: the veiled hypocrisy, the immense castration of freedom and experimentation of the body, in the secular attempt but still existing to control bodies through illusions lacking potential. The priest’s sermon is full of violence and despair to keep a tradition long overdue for burial,” the artist explained without hesitation about the risk he put himself into.
His Facebook profile and page community was inundated with death threats and the Public Defender of Sao Paulo had to be involved. “For the most part, the standard way of thinking is intrinsic unconsciously to the subjectivity, so I believe that’s why the reactions were so strong,” Tripodi said, analyzing the furor sent his way from all corners of Brazil. “I simply wanted to be in a place that I think is public in an outfit that I consider to be appropriate for that building and analyzing their context. Taking pictures like anyone else who goes to the location. The Sé Cathedral is well known for it and by the events that keeps its relevance,” concluded the artist who has become accustomed to similar situations.
Earlier this year, Tripodi appeared at the Porto da Barra Barra beach in Salvador wearing a “’bikini quadradão — big square bikini.” The idea was inspired on the Brazilian writer, performer and artist Flávio Carvalho, who walked through downtown Sao Paulo in 1956 wearing women’s clothing.
Regardless of when, why and how, Yuri Tripodi is brave. Nudity is always a heated subject when religion is involved, and, no, I am not going to remind you that Adam and Eve were, for the most part, depicted nude. But most of the time, nudity was meant to be a representation of the shame, helplessness and depravity of man that Tripodi talks about — if it is not art or science for the purpose of a social context for it to exist, to some of us this perhaps unnecessary nudity takes us to a self-defense mode of entitled anger with layers of our own guilt, especially if placed it on a sacred place.
“How dare he do something like this here, where I come to free me from MY sinful acts and thoughts?” some might wonder. Well, let me also remind you that art and nudity can walk hand in hand with religion — unless you never heard of or seen the Sistine Chapel ceiling, of course I am not going to cite every nude I have seen on a church wall around the world. Some will say that Tripodi’s nudity in question can never possibly have nothing to do with the masterpieces created by Michelangelo or any other religious representation of it. But for me, everything is about the detachment of the mind. Clothes were created by mankind to protect and, eventually to a certain level, it distinguishes social classes, cultures and lifestyles.
So if Yuri Tripodi believes he has the right to enter a Catholic Church wearing tulle and muslin in an establishment already tainted with so many cases of pedophilia, who are we to judge? They who judge and scream so loud should be happy that they have not yet faced the reality that, in some places in the world, there are already people worshiping their God just like He made them — completely au naturel, just how they do in the White Tail Chapel in Southampton, Va.
Gazelle Paulo is a contributing writer for TheBlot Magazine. He also writes a column for NewYorkSPY.com. You can follow him on Twitter.