Strange cut, abject print: itinerary
The eloquent shell of the heart. The black painted plywood boards could serve as a matrix to generate images on paper, but this was not their purpose. Denied their potential as a matrix, they are sterile as prints but fertile in terms of the ideas and associations they unleash. The set that opens the exhibition alludes to fragments of stories, truncated narratives, modules of time, shards of memories. Anonymous figures and displaced objects pass by – some moths, a roofed house, a wrecked boat. Darkness / Darkness / Blackest darkness over sad men, sings Jards Macalé on one of the tracks of the album Besta Fera*, released earlier this year. The barefoot wanderer roams for a long time without getting anywhere. Strange or familiar, the figures take refuge in the dry dark. Dawn never breaks.
Northwest. Might it dawn? The richness of the colors fill the eyes: green, blue, red, greenish yellow, pink. The facades of the large houses in Valongo, Santos’ old town, their ruins. The iron gate is still standing, but it no longer holds anything, only castor bean plants and voracious vines. The statue of a Buddha seen in a museum, a figure of some kind, a memory without a defined form, a dream almost remembered. Looking at the familiar as if we had never seen it. The engraved plywood plate is the mouth of images of the most varied origins, brought close to the harbor workshop, a meeting place of the cardinal points.
Mars. If things get much worse around here, can we escape to Mars? On the edge of the window ledge / On the edge of chaos, on the edge of the world / On the edge of a bottomless pit. In the title, the Roman god of war, or the blood-colored planet, the red star in the sky. In the image, tangled trajectories, an anonymous bust, a defoliated tree in the delirium of lines, death and germination. Bluish grays, pale greens and whites cross the black plain of the paper, like dried up rivers awaiting the next rain. A black sun emits rays in a straight line. What world are we in? Sun towards sleep / Shadows over the ocean / Cities covered in thick mist / Never to be ravaged / By sunshine.
Seven Greek Dogs. The story of young Actaeon comes from ancient Greek mythology. He was roaming the mountains of his father’s kingdom, hunting deer with friends. Meanwhile, in the valley, Diana, the hunting goddess, was bathing in a cave, surrounded by nymphs. Actaeon is separated from his friends, wandering aimlessly. Fate leads him to the cave and he unwittingly surprises the naked goddess. As punishment for the offense to her modesty, Diana transforms Actaeon into a deer. He runs desperately through the woods. The hounds spot the deer and chase him. Seven Greek hounds: Nape, Theron, Laelaps, Melampus, Pamphagus, Dorceus and Tigris. They kill their own master transformed into an animal, while Actaeon’s friends call his name, searching the woods for him to show him the conquered prey. Only then is Diana’s wrath appeased. The Seven Greek Dogs series is born from the combination of seven woodcut prints, superimposed. Each print is a unique combination of all the matrices.
The ass of the world. An unpublished work, recently concluded and shown for the first time in this exhibition. It bears the same title as a song by Caetano Veloso, recorded in the early nineties, but which could be of the present day. The goat wrapped in red strolls at ease, indifferent to the blue melancholy of the figure wetting its feet. Torso, hand or glove, color spaces and tears in the paper. It could be just the plywood plate on the wall, inked, like The Eloquent Shell, a strange cut. But the artist chooses another path, seeking a print that wishes to go beyond itself, loading the paper with ink, an etched painting (abject print?). A combination of paper and wood. The layers of colors, the layers of figures, spread through space and submerge into it.
Pantaneiras. The four prints in the series, recently printed from lost matrices, are results from an artistic residency held in July 2018 on the banks of the Paraguai River, in the Pantanal region of South Mato Grosso. The mixture of memory, observation and invention runs through and unites each of the colorful prints. An affectionate experience that brings description and abstraction together. The artist transports traces of the place to wood and then to paper – animals, plants, landscapes, colors. Not a swamp, but the Pantanal, the cradle of much life. Life that is made by sinking and surfacing again. We have reached the limit of the deepest water / I raise my gaze skyward.
* All verses in italics quoted throughout the text are from Besta Fera.