Fabricio Lopez, the impure existence
Fabrício Lopez is one of the most important Brazilian printmakers, in addition to maintaining, with Flavio Castellan, a significant activity of teaching printmaking at the Acaia Institute, an NGO that has been developing very promising young artists.
His most recent exhibition, which runs until August 26 at Galeria Marília Razuk, displays qualities rarely found in printmaking exhibitions. It is not unusual, especially in metal engravings, for artists to be enchanted by the technical procedures – often complex – involved in these works and lose themselves in a virtuosity that seems to sum up all the limitations of abstract works of little quality.
Since the beginning of his more mature production, around 1994, Fabrício Lopez opens his figures in a frank and decisive manner, without being carried away by a technical refinement that tends to exhaust itself. In the current show, a kind of collage of images stands out, obtained by superimposing drawings from various matrices, as if it were a cubist operation performed by superimposing memories, gazes, and imagined things.
The simultaneity of events of a very different order, because they presuppose different relations with reality, can bring a diver, amphorae, and trees together. And a half-dirty but precise articulation manages to give the different images a status that allows the observer to experience them in their particularities. In fact, a tree seen differs greatly from a tree remembered or imagined.
The impure mixture of which our consciousness is made acquires in these works a sedimentary visual representation, a precarious (and plausible) organization of events that we assimilate in a totally unequal way. After all, the knife we use to eat our lunch and the one that wounds us, although identical, will be experienced in a very different way. Routine and time also deposit their sediments on facts and things.
What really makes these works effective to the eye – and not just another dull narrative – lies in Fabrício’s ability to visually reveal this impure alluvium that we are made of. And this resides in the very plot of his etchings, which are also a somewhat random deposition of images. For this reason it seems to me that painted matrices – which the artist calls “painted sculptures” – have a lower capacity to reveal our processes of formation. In them, simultaneity only shows itself due to the fact that the forms are arranged on the same surface.
The absence of the superimpositions gives the various regions a similar intensity, which is hardly plausible in relation to our experience of the world. I also believe that the drawings on acetate sheets fall short of the overall level of the show by reducing the complexity of our relationship with reality.
All this considered, we should remember that, in general, we are not all Frankensteins, although there is no lack of imbalances of all kinds among us. As in the engraving with dominant blue and light brown, some figures stand out, such as the two birds that seem to fall, shot down in mid-flight, or the branches on the upper part.
Happily or unhappily, we are not what we want. The will needs to operate in a world where there are other wills and a dense reality. There is a similarity between our formative process and the woodcut technique. The drawing that is traced on the surface of the wood is not marked by the gouge like a circle traced on sand.
Depending on the wood and how the wood plate was obtained (in woodcut jargon, ‘topo’ wood and ‘fio’ wood), the results in an engraving will be different.
I am convinced that the ability to depict the complexity of our bonds with reality comes very much from Fabricio Lopez’s own artistic training. It was not exactly in the university that he found his path, but in the collective work at Espaço Coringa, where he worked, among others, with Flavio Castellan and Ulysses Boscolo. In this studio, woodcuts were often made by 4 or even 6 hands. The effort to understand and give continuity to the work of others may in fact be the best way to learn to look generously at the world.