Fabricio Lopez: bond and openness
Fabrício Lopez’s etchings on large plywood and planks possess a monumental scale. It is a work that does not address only the eyes, but the entire body and the surrounding space. Likewise, the handcrafted process of engraving and printing requires tremendous bodily effort. Large sheets of wood are laid out on the floor and the artist’s strength and tools are applied to them, literally plunging his entire body into each matrix.
The way Fabrício fixes the printed papers directly on the wall, assembled by parts and pasted with a brush, is analogous to the lambe-lambe posters so recurrent in large cities. However, his prints steer clear of references to mass culture and advertisements that encourage rapid consumption. On the contrary, his work demands prolonged and attentive contact from the public, as it is full of subtleties and has nothing immediate or disposable. Each of his woodcuts involves several layers and superimpositions of tones. Colors sustain the entire composition both in the landscape exhibited at CCSP as well as in other projects. From the colors spring evanescent images, icons that hover in the background and between the planes, that from time to time rise to the surface and come to the foreground. It is from the relationship between the surface of the image and its deeper layers that the complexity of the prints emerges. There is in his work an intense relationship with the great modern tradition of printmaking. Some of his works, incredibly, take up certain dark and dense environments like those invented by Oswaldo Goeldi, but on a completely different scale and with a completely different range of colors.
The work he produced for CCSP’s 2011 Exhibition Program draws, in a different way, from another great Brazilian artist: Marcelo Grassmann and his expressive drawings of the 1940s, that belong to the Coleção de Arte da Cidade. Grassmann’s imagery is full of shadows and fantastic beings. The artist took his place in art history not only for being a part of the nascent Brazilian graphic arts, but also for his references to Hieronymus Bosch’s hell and bestiary. His repertoire is linked to the magical, mythological, and medieval universe, populated by demons, hybrid figures, and other monsters present in fables and traditional stories.
The Grassmann drawings chosen by Fabrício indirectly converse with his landscape in the woodcut panel. Establishing links and provoking clashes with works by other authors is fundamental in this artist’s proposal. The project is the fruit of Fabrício’s research on the collection housed in the institution and, besides taking into account the formal and thematic relationships among the works, it also deals with technical conservation issues such as the amount of light, temperature variation, and security.
In Fabrício’s case, it is not only about using consecrated or institutionalized works as a reference or starting point for his process, even if the project assumes a tone of homage to a central figure in the graphic arts. On the contrary, the relationship between his prints and pieces by artists such as Grassmann is built a posteriori. This procedure is close to the role traditionally assumed by a curator. Each work, when juxtaposed to another, acquires and gives meaning. This happens because works of art are open totalities, they are enough in themselves, but they dialogue both with their surroundings and with those who see them. This is why the public can establish a series of possible connections with what it contemplates, not just passively receiving information, but assuming an active gaze.
Fabrício’s woodcuts are not closed in on themselves. Instead of the artist claiming some autonomy, constructing a neutral space, or trying to isolate the internal meanings of his work, he is interested in the links that the print can establish with the space in which it is exhibited. Fabrício Lopez fits into the tradition of Brazilian printmaking, not only by taking up the history and the work of great masters, but also by opening the way for other experiences, his own works and those of artists yet to come.