Fabricio Lopes, Estuário, 2008-2009.
Fabricio Lopes, Estuário, 2008-2009.

With works by 33 artists from different generations, the exhibition reveals how the art of recording on wood is part of an already consolidated tradition to reinvent itself, by talking with other forms of artistic expression and proposing a very attentive look at reality and production contemporary art.

Ana Calzavara, série Sobrevoo, 2014
Ana Calzavara, série Sobrevoo, 2014

The choice of Claudio Mubarac as curator gives the group an unusual density in collective exhibitions, especially when marked by a great diversity like this. Artist and teacher, he closely follows this production, functioning as a kind of link between the generation that began to implement the teaching of woodcut in the art schools of the country in the 1950s and 1960s and the engravers who, from the years 1990, continued this work with a strong community character, creating collective workshops and exchanging technical, formal and conceptual data on their productions.

Artists who managed, through exchange and dialogue, to overcome the barriers in the national market to art on paper and, in particular, woodcutting, a technique marked by a strong popular bias.

The reference to nature and the human figure – quite present in the works -, rather than a reference to the academic genres of portraits and landscapes, seeks to emphasize the active and intense relationship established by these new generations with the contemporary scene, defining their own identity for this urban wandering. “These people grew up in a very different political climate, formed in a democratic environment. Walking around the city is a way of giving corporeity to themselves. Do not separate more urban and rural, nature and culture”, summarizes Mubarac.

Detalhe da obra Tropa, 2017, de Luisa Almeida
Detalhe da obra Tropa, 2017, de Luisa Almeida

It is interesting to note how, from this common temporal floor, there is a great spreading of poetics, diverse ways of exploring the relationship with wood (often using the veins as a compositional element) and the creation of rich dialogues with other techniques. The presence of color is striking, as well as the use of large formats. This is the case, for example, of the work of Fabricio Lopez, the first to idealize this panoramic exhibition and who invited Mubarac to take over the curatorship. Lopez displays a wide panel, a landscape that seems invented, with marine and mountainous references, in a seductive game of colors and shapes. The color is also the protagonist of the playful mural A Banda Amarela chega na Etiópia Sagrada, by Eduardo Ver and scores the whole exhibition.

It is Ana Calzavara who seems to approach the woodcut of the painting more intensely, as if it were merging the two languages, abolishing their differences in a series of yellowish landscapes that succeed and complement each other as comics. Sculpture and photography are also part of this process, with dense works such as the overlapping scenes of the rough city with its greyish and massive buildings, made by Fernando Vilela. Or the army created by Luisa Almeida of women combatants, armed, who organize themselves in the form of totems, ready for the fight. The imagery references found in the works are the most varied. There is an evident dialogue with the artistic tradition and the classic references like Expressionism. The option to display the engraved without framing reinforces this popular, marginal (in the sense of marginalized), fluid, and extremely communicative character of woodcut. And it refers to its use as a revolutionary weapon of communication through lick-licks.

Virtuosísticas (such as Francisco Maringelli and Ernesto Bonato), experimental (Otavio Zani) or collective works (Xiloceasa), the dozens of works assembled until September at Sesc Guarulhos attest to the vigor of contemporary production and the infinite possibilities of simple technique, which explains Mubarac, requires “only a piece of wood and something cutting”, but that is in permanent reinvention.

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