Inhabiting the place/space of the studio as a procedure for the construction of the work – the drawing of space in the woodcuts of Fabrício Lopez
Abstract: This article is about the relationship between space/working-space/landscape and image construction in the poetic work of Fabrício Lopez
Keywords: landscape, drawing, woodcut.
The work presented here is based on a statement of the artist during an exhibition at the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo in 2009, which is: “the studio is an inhabiting, the nature of each and every thing”. This statement by Fabrício Lopez reminded me of a reflection by Anne Cauquelin in The Invention of Landscape (Cauquelin, 2007) where she notes the power of our experiences with landscape in our learning of reality, and also the strength of understanding the space of the landscape as a container for our moods and desires. To reflect, briefly, on the relationship between these two statements in the process of the construction of images by Fabrício Lopez is what is proposed in this article. Fabrício Lopez was born in 1975, obtained a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from FAAP in 2000 and a master’s degree in visual arts from ECA/USP in 2009. He lives and works between Santos and São Paulo, cities in which he participated and actively participates in the formation and maintenance of studios and spaces of collective production such as Espaço Coringa, Estúdio Valongo and Xiloceasa/Acaiá typography. These collective artistic actions, as artist and teacher, play an important role in his poetic construction.
1. Inhabiting: the studio space and the construction of images
The images in small and large dimensions (figures 5 and 6), born from cuts in the wood, from the impact and delicacy required by the medium, speak of stored objects (figure 8), people, spaces, and landscapes of the artist’s daily life. They mix mountains (figure 1), roads (figure 2), corners of the studio, flowers, trees, and also people who somehow inhabit these spaces. The possibilities of repetition and superimposition offered by woodcut printmaking are an instrument to add to the image the displacement of the artist through space, between cities and studios, thus adding time and depth to the image. The possibilities of superimposition, in this case, also add an intimate view of the spaces portrayed, loaded with the action of occupying and getting to know them. The spatial sensations constructed are intense, leading us to think that the encounter with the place, the space, the landscape are determining factors in the birth of the image.
On the occasion of his 2009 exhibition at the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, in an interview with Claúdio Mubarac, published in the catalog, the artist says:
“The studio is an inhabiting, the nature of each and every thing. I like to think of the studio as this place/space to be inhabited, where the work arises precisely from the relationship between the artist and each thing that surrounds him: the tools, the points of reference, the collections of objects, the landscape. For me, inhabiting this place is the first step in the construction of the work, where even on idle afternoons, looking at the images hanging on the wall, listening to the birds, the noises of the port avenue, I feel this time conquered and directed to a poetic action. A time that cannot be measured in values or productivity, because it refers to a non-linear, subjective, and to some extent self-referential construction. Referring, above all, to internal conquests, of the preservation of dreams and beauty, of the acceptance of oneself and the other.” (Lopez, Fabrício. 2009: 41)
The quote makes evident the intention that action in the studio is to be organized by a search that guides the forms of work, of drawing, preservation of the dream and of beauty. To inhabit this place seems to mean to fill it with these dreams, experiences, and references, or rather, to occupy it through the action that guarantees the preservation of this dream in the image.
2. The landscape: space, the container of our moods and daily actions
In The Invention of Landscape, Anne Cauquelin reflects on the place of cultural construction of landscape in our formative experiences, in our learning about reality. In a move to understand her own cultural references to the organization of an image of the landscape and thus question its “veracity” in relation to her visual experiences, she speaks of the power of learning that comes from our relations with the space that we organize, hierarchize, and call landscape.
“Landscapes seem to translate for us a close and privileged relationship with the world, representing, as it were, a pre-established, unquestionable harmony, impossible to criticize without committing sacrilege. Where would our learning about the proportions of the world and our own limits, smallness and greatness, the understanding of things and our feelings be, then, without it? It is the obligatory intermediary of an infinite conversation, the vehicle of everyday emotions, the container of our moods1. (Cauquelin, Anne. 2007: 28)
This observation, together with the understanding that our gaze on the landscape is also loaded with references left by our ancestors from their observations of the landscape, provides us with more elements to consider experience with landscape as a trigger in the construction of the image in Fabrício’s work.
The action of the artist who treats the studio as a habitat, the nature of everything and anything to be lived, kept, and poetically transformed is impregnated with the experience of space and the understanding of it as a means of comprehending the dimension of self and things in the world. The studio as an inhabiting, the nature of everything, can also be thought of as the landscape that is the vehicle of our emotions, the wrapping of our moods. In another line from the interview, which was given for the publication of the catalog, Fabricio emphasizes the power of his childhood experiences in the landscape of the beach and of his comic book readings and the production of stories as a fundamental source of reference for his work as an artist.
“[…] When I was about 11 years old, we would go fishing for crab on the beach, using a puçá, a kind of net and cage with a certain special bait. The youngest of the group, by free and spontaneous physical convincing by the elders, in this case me and other prizewinners, had to go to the poultry farm and fetch chicken guts. Sometimes we got lucky and just had to stick our arm in a tin full of scraps, or when the tin was empty, the only way was to stick our hand inside the recently slaughtered chicken. All this rite was worth every crab caught on the beach, in the days after a storm tide, grey days that would end at a friend’s house with a full pot. For me, training in a more integral sense is linked to this context, the beach city, the intense reading of all and any kind of comic book, solitary hours of drawing, and the production of my own stories.(Lopez, Fabrício. 2009: 37)
I return here to another of Cauquelin’s observations that speaks of the importance of affective bonds, formed by many senses and points of reference, of landscape experienced in childhood in the construction of the image that we later form of the landscape.
Lopez, Fabrício; Valongo: xilogravuras de Fabrício Lopez. Org. Claudio Mubarac. São Paulo, 2009.
Cauquelin, Anne; A invenção da paisagem. São Paulo, 2007.