this is an anthology of drawings, I would like to borrow the expression
rarefaction, or more specifically context rarefaction, from the realm of
the term refers to a resource that has featured in the poetry of several
periods, but contemporary poetry is responsible for adopting it, obviously not
as a programmatic item but as a rather recurrent device, due either to the
fragmentary character of several aspects of contemporary life, or to the need
to give unity to what constitutes us as individuals. When the translator José
Antonio Arantes claims, for instance, in his introduction to the Irish poet
Seamus Heany’s anthology, published by Companhia das Letras, that the poems
from Heany’s recent collections (Station Island, The Haw Lantern, 1987, Seeing
Things, 1991, and The Spirit Level, 1996) sound more rarified than the previous
ones, he is probably referring to the poems’ small scope in context. As if
Heany had a vocation for metaphysics, even though his poems were inspired in
his homeland, his childhood, i.e., a commonplace background.
for transcendence can be felt in many other poets, of several periods and
nationalities, but it hardly ever corresponds to the technical aptitude for
reticence, which is able to draw the outline of what is only suggested with
lucid precision. Wallace Stevens, in his long poem “The Man with the Blue
Guitar” or in one of his late short poems, the splendid “Of Mere Being”,
provides another fortuitous example of that poetics of “airing”. Out of sheer
pleasure, I transcribe the poem below:
OF MERE BEING
The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze distance,
A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.
You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.
The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.
as a resource of extreme decantation of language, context rarefaction only
apparently suspends the flow of meanings. On the contrary, that momentary
suspension enhances meaning, requiring some sort of reflexive intuition from
the reader; it focuses on the clear meaning of words, as well as on the silence
in which words are inscribed. Pursuing and finding the matter that gives life
to that poetic silence is a vital principle for a certain kind of poetry.
like to borrow the term rarefaction from literary criticism, especially because
it corresponds to a similar resource in the plastic arts, a resource that I
cherish in my work: collage. Not collage as a mere juxtaposition of parts,
which exposes the cartilage as a war trophy. Neither the collage that explores
the cleverly decontextualized traffic of meanings. But collage as the search
for a new harmony, made out of pieces, but whole and one, in which the
articulations work in a subtle way, beyond the point reached by the eye.
understood, collage requires the spectator to explore an unknown space. The
context from where the parts have come from is lost. Both color and shape have
forgotten their place of origin. The integrity that I want for my collages is
due, on the one hand, to this break from the context to which they originally
belonged, and on the other hand, to the discovery of connections able to
inaugurate a context that, because it does not leave any traces behind it,
seems to have created itself.
for a possible harmony, departing from the technique of collage, creates a
space in which the evenness of more or less abstract shapes coexists,
undisturbed, with the depths of the setting. If that is already visible in my
collages, when I paint I try to amplify and enrich this seeming contradiction
through a series of nuances. From that results, most of the time, the discovery
of an aerial space, as if the picture had been built with superposed smooth layers,
and managed to preserve, in between them, empty spaces that draw the
spectator’s eye, returning the idea of perspective to him/her – only now
like this space, discovered thanks to intuition and continuous work, to be the
expression of my
bom lugar, even though I sometimes have the impression that it
is also the place of vertigo.
itself, when I draw I am driven to appropriate space, and this spatiality gives
a rarefied impression to the drawings, reinforced by the lines, but also by the
opposition between the lines and the black areas. These drawings, open-ended,
if I may call them so, are part of a larger group, started in 1992. To it I
have added the works being developed in several materials, such as cement,
glass, styrofoam, canvas and paper. But I have also included all sorts of
objects that are part of the daily life of an atelier, from a pair of pincers
to a glass of water, or a leaf. I have used the verbs “incorporate” and
“include” to make clear that, even while I understand and explore the technical
potentiality of several materials, I do not forsake a unifying project,
according to which the drawing itself must explore the small recesses of my
private geography. With my drawings I map out the geography of everyday life,
which evades me when I paint or when I work with cement. But I sincerely
believe that, if this unity is occurring, it is due more to intuition than to
In the same
way as I almost always depart from collage I usually end up drawing. The asymmetry
with which I cut out pages from magazines, books, newspapers or photographs,
without any kind of previous plan or intent, allied to the playful nature of
the first attempts at composition, are two of the basic ingredients of the
origin of my collages, and my whole work, for that matter. Apart from those
traits – asymmetry and playfulness – what I do when I draw is to establish a
net of internal relationships, which had only been suggested at the beginning
of the process. If during the collage the paper knife and the scissors are as
determining for the cut as the hand, at the drawing stage the pen obeys and is
subordinated to the vital commands of breathing. My aim when drawing it to be
able to incorporate my breath into the line, but not in a conspicuous manner.
Just enough to make the drawing breathe as well, without any fuss.
breathing with topmost consciousness and a minimum of air. Naturally this
equation summarizes what I think of this group of drawings. To quote but one
example, it would be blindness to apply the same equation to the hard and
incisive line of one of the greatest Brazilian drawing artists, Poty
Lazzarotto. The tense quality of his line is due as much to his predilection
for the traditional metal-tipped pen, which, in his own words can be dealt with
as a violin, as to the very particular rhythm of his breathing. And yet we
breathe differently, each one according to his own vital rhythm.
As far as
my perception goes, I employ my line for the construction of a space that eliminates
the opposition between the interior and the exterior worlds. Finding
communication channels between the inside and the outside allows me to extend
the relationship between the drawing and the surface of the paper.
As part of
this wired structure, the black areas of Indian ink have a balancing function,
anchoring one’s look. These covered surfaces act as counterweight for the
weaving of lines. I like to think that thanks to them my drawing has the ground
as its departing point. Which did not prevented me from sometimes making the
opposite mistake of attaching an exceedingly large anchor to a canoe.
Succumbing to the ground grammar is a mistake I try to avoid by rooting my feet
in the ground while loosening my hands skywards.
Thus, as I
document my atelier production, I simultaneously explore the black subtleties
of Indian ink, with its always renewable possibilities, and go on building a
poetics of airing – most of the time like a blind man, feeling his way around.
This hollowed out constitution is what softens the tragicity of my Icaruses.
Caught in the middle of their fall, with their bodies open, they expose, beyond
their black bones, the air that gives them life. The same air that accepts
their fall keeps them momentarily suspended. Hurt, but far from disintegrating,
they still fly and one can imagine them falling into a garden.
falls in heaven is the title of one of my canvasses. I do not remember whether
I have also made a drawing of it. What separates an actual drawing from the
mental decision to make it is a very thin line, but in some cases that border
is never transposed. As for my Icarus, I would like the anxiety of the fall
preceding death, although inherent to the human condition, to share the
protagonist role with the flowers of the garden, yellow hibiscuses. Icarus is
the bird-man, who is terrified but accepts the inevitability of the ending as
he has accepted, with fear and joy, the challenge of the first flight. It might
be possible to transplant the frailty, beauty and liveliness of the garden
hibiscuses to the imaginary realm of the drawing and yet, have them stand for a
softer version of the majestic indifference of nature.
I think that there is some sort of architectural severity behind these
drawings, a severity that causes me pain but that I nonetheless search. Fragile
but authentic. Although my lines derive from the huge silence of which I am
also part, they might become, in happy moments, conduits that allow happiness
to circulate, happiness without adornments or loudness, that many times I have
not even felt within myself. It is that happiness, in its version that borders
architecture and mathematics, the secret motor of the somehow temporary
stability of these drawings.
Do livro inédito NANQUIM, desenhos e posfácio de Carlos Dala Stella. Tradução de Déborah Scheidt
O Outro, hoje, é mais um contraponto institucional ao
sujeito do que um sujeito ele mesmo. Para um Eu cada vez mais pragmático,
limitado a um círculo cada vez menor de prazeres técnicos, nada mais natural do
que o contraponto de um Outro mais e mais institucionalizado. Na raiz dessa juridificação
está o horror ao que já foi nomeado ironicamente como ‘soberba subjetiva’. A
subjetividade só faria sentido quando articulada em visão de mundo, e mais,
apenas quando exposta no quadro rígido de alguma teoria. Esse desprezo, ele sim
cheio de soberba, pela riqueza da subjetividade humana é um indício forte do
quanto se nega ao Outro a parcela de invenção de si mesmo. Ninguém é resultado
apenas do confronto objetivo com o mundo. Sonharmo-nos, para dentro e para fora,
nos desinstitucionaliza, e se o sonho for fraturado, resultado de temores e
pressentimentos, tanto melhor. Menor o
risco de sermos abstratizados até o limite do número e do conceito. Nós Outros não abrimos mão da abundância dos
detalhes – de que somos feitos.
O mundo está dividido entre a vastidão daqueles que não pensam sobre a vida - e vivem relativamente felizes, imersos nas alegrias e dores da matéria - e aqueles que, depois de pensarem durante toda a vida, compreendem que é melhor não pensar demasiado no sentido da vida, e que seus momentos de maior felicidade foram exatamente aqueles em que eles se esqueceram de si, entregues às dores e alegrias da matéria.
Para isso servem os livros e toda a filosofia, para voltar ao ponto zero? Para sermos capazes de esquecer de nós mesmos pelo maior tempo possível? Então tudo se deu em nome desse resíduo de consciência mais ou menos espiritualizada - que uma multidão canaliza para o buraco negro a que chamam deus? Tudo em nome desse zero superior ao zero inicial? Superior? Quanto a essa ávis rára, tanto mais satisfeita quanto mais lima, pole e lapida sua visão de mundo, melhor colocá-la momentaneamente à parte, como ela deseja e merece.