The Singing of the Birds or The Forbidden Song
I observe each print made by Fabrício as the birdsong of his childhood. A song hidden in the trees that surround his parents’ house at the top of the Santa Terezinha hill in Santos. They are sound paintings that lift or adorn our spirit not only by the size of the images offered by him as an attempt; a winged desire to embrace the entire shore, the entire panorama of Santos in a privileged and total view of the city’s geography; of the impact caused by the estuary that cuts in the direction of the Serra do Mar and divides the Port into two small colonies: the coffee colony located near the Stock Exchange and the longshoremen’s colony, in Vicente de Carvalho. Like a vulture gliding gently on the top of the hill following a current, the artist finds a kind of industrial geometry that spreads all along the waterfront; all over the horizon formed by cranes and gigantic warehouses; buildings and houses as familiar as the ship’s horn; small, dark streets similar to the paths he cuts in wood; all in full observation of the vastness of the city facing the sea, full of colors. Color is seen here as an ancient, I would even say indigenous, way to stay joyful and alive. Free; a feathered art that finds its exact place with the use of woodcuts, first arranging its habitat by the light, by the clouds and by the birds, and other special entities that pass by his studio, that pass by his body; that are immersed in the sound of the tools; as if the artist, when engraving and stamping, could really fly out of the window towards the colors that are in the sunlight, in the earth, and in the fruits that have been camouflaged and eaten by the shadows.
His colors come out of the trees and turn into birds. Yes, the colors fly by like so many little birds that inhabit the vacant lot next to his studio. They fly by. On the hill; every morning the birds feed themselves from a wooden rack full of fruit prepared by his father: there are bananas, avocados, oranges, pears, apples and papayas. Colors are served as food. For Fabrício these colors, these memories became the vertex of a painting that found in the solid of the print an origin in the heart. I repeatedly try to look at and approach each woodcut to hear the hidden flourish of an ornithologist in love with these small spirits of the forest: saíras, tanagers, hawks, black birds, xexéus, trinca ferros, cardinals, and tiés establish a fantastic and childlike repertoire in search of a simple drawing, made difficult by time and the architecture of the veins present in the hard matter, with clear relations of color and of a dreamy feathery pact; sometimes light, sometimes too heavy on the matrix. The matrixes are also transported from one side of the studio to the other like immense nurseries. The colors, even on the plywood, remain in motion. They remain transported from a painter’s palette to a painting, listening to the birds singing in the late afternoon over the hill. They sing to the hands where strength is placed. They sing to the boards where fruitful colors are placed. A special way to understand painting, not as traditional painting on canvas or easel, but as a type of painting – stamped, that is, the easel is placed on the ground; the brush is the steel of the gouges and chisels, and the painting is arranged in the multiple of woodcut on paper. All the light is compartmentalized into islands, into open channels like trenches in a terrain populated by splinters and not by splatters. The light passes through the wings of a bird, passes through its eyes, passes through a choice, a drawing; as if the artist himself were participating in Icarus’ yearning to fly towards the sun.
It is important to emphasize such fantasy. Through engraving, Fabrício achieves his aims as a painter, because the engraver who paints is the one who chooses light as the principle for his image. However, it is difficult to obtain the passage of color as in the pasty-corporeal effect of oil paint. Here it responds to the calls of the printer. Here color responds to compact scores of muscular force that furrow, that divide, that create real obstacles that are deposited between the nails and dry like varnish. During printing, the wooden spoon would be the spatula used to spread the paint “inside out”, that is, behind the paper, which in painting is traditionally done from the front, shaping the form on the canvas as Iberê Camargo himself did, pouring the tube of paint onto the surface; seeking dreams in the mixture. Everything in the print corresponds to a mirror, to a wonderful double of meanings where the image is transported via force, via concentrated will on the medium, often recalling the work of a sailor scrubbing hard on the floor of ship’s deck.
In woodcut, the thought of engraving and printing enables the artist to double his potentiality over color, like a true prism. Painting, through a medium as old as the woodcut, embarks on a ship toward virgin continents and possibilities of images little explored in their entirety. It would require someone to tear up a remote map. It would take a butcher to oddly imitate birdsong, in places little frequented by easels. It would take thinking like painting, in unusual images; like a centaur arrowed by a hummingbird.