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.

Ulysses Bôscolo, early morning May 30, 2008.

He is an engraver, painter and teacher. He studied Fine Arts at FAAP (Armando Álvares Penteado Foundation) from 1996 to 1999 and attended the Master's Program in Visual Arts at the School of Communication and Arts, University of São Paulo (ECA/USP). He is a member of Atelier Piratininga since 2010.