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.

Cláudio Mubarac is an artist and teacher. He is currently a Free Lecturer (MS-5), in the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Department of Visual Arts at the School of Communications and Arts at USP.