Valongo: Woodcuts by Fabrício Lopez
The work that Fabrício Lopez has been developing in recent years operates in a system of neuralgic points. His studio in Valongo, a neighborhood in the city of Santos, where he makes the engravings that are presented here, is an island surrounded by the labor of the guidance he gives in the workshops where he travels; his particular reflections are revised by the collective actions in which he has actively participated since his art school days. In other words, solitary work is influenced by the echoes of collective endeavors in crossed activities. And this situation is not a precariousness to be settled when the mission of the individual work is fulfilled, in a hypothetical near future. Here, the transits and flows between the personal and the collective are desired and necessary in the combustion of the experiences proposed by artistic experience. The same is true for the place that printmaking wishes to occupy in this trajectory. Prints seek to adhere to the walls of homes and the city. They wish to circulate as flyers and publications of printmaking as writing, when the print desires to merge with the immensity of the printed matter of the contemporary city. For this reason, the scale is rarely diminutive, and when it is, it exchanges dimension for multiplication. Thus, in both attitudes, print and visibility accompany the design of the destinations they desire.
It is about thinking of these images always as doubles: as material objects, which constitute a visual environment, and justify their scale as a way of belonging to the world in which they are installed; and at the same time, it is about standing in front of these images as pertaining to the immaterial domain, and we have the engines of their imagination, their schemes, models, fantasy, the crisp vision of the passages they propose. The mirrorings of engraving find echoes in this trajectory and, glimpsed by the rhythm in which they pulsate, deposit and decompose images through the mobile prism of an attentive kaleidoscope. With this instrument, wood, tools, inks and papers are contiguous to the dreams, commitments, and dust that feed these circular, gestated and engraved undertakings.
In this exhibition, the prints occupy the walls in the aforementioned manner. They rival wall painting, with the panel and the bas-relief in dialogue with the history of the western print, when it filled this role in the monumental printmaking of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, a time when woodcut and metal engraving, still in the heat of their birth, harnessed their technical and poetic potential and permeated both the space of the printed book, a new apparatus, and emulated the classical Roman models of mural decoration, placing them in the universe of repeated images. Fabrício Lopez’s work does not ignore this tradition, when he articulates prints, merging them with their medium, sharpening the prints that become mobile and repeatable frescoes of momentarily fossilized matrices, turning wood and paper into chromatic places. On the walls of the exhibition, color and cuts dance on and through the figures; the incised images dance on and through the iridescence that has settled on them. All tempered by a subtle balance between a certain monumentality of scale and the fragmentary nature of its structures.
If we think of the history of art in Brazil, this graphic work is in sharp dialogue with the artists of its generation and with certain masters of Brazilian printmaking. Direct, measured engraving, where the cut determines and singularizes the space, as well as the particular use of woodcut color, leads us to the work of Oswaldo Goeldi; the inflections in relation to the scale of the print direct our gaze toward the work of Maria Bonomi; the desire of the print to occupy unusual places brings us to the work of Regina Silveira; itinerancy, as the engine of the work, the print as a unique and repeatable fact, the vision of the place and the interim gaze refer to engravings by Evandro Carlos Jardim; to name just a few sources. And I am not speaking here of stylistic affiliations, but of an environment, a landscape on which one can walk. This perhaps confirms an already clearer and more apparent horizon that engraving in Brazil has built, even with such a brief history, bequeathing to contemporary artists a rich array of thought, which goes beyond the limits of printmaking as a set of procedures, placing it as a question, as the holder of a conjunction of propositions to which we must respond.
Besides and beyond this, the work of Fabrício Lopez, in its making and posture, has subtle reverberations with popular prints and urban lambe-lambes. And these relationships are not only formal, they are deeper. They are notions and vocations engendered by living with and through the works, by their wanderings, and by the sharing of sensibilities. Which brings us back to the construction of a fragmented figuration, visual shards of the memory of places and where the precarious is nourishment; where drawing, cutting, and color alternate continuously, in a kind of permanent theater, of almost mute vertigo, with characters as rare as they are common.