"Density and Surface" brings together works by Arcangelo Ianelli, Eduardo Sued, Tomie Ohtake and Abraham Palatnik, four essential names in Brazilian art. The exhibition takes as its starting point the relation between the concreteness of the pictorial support and the existing communicative density between the work and the observer. The poetic complexity of the work of these artists comes from the formal and material matters related to the plan, but it reaches its apex in the temporal association between the viewer and the work. This is an immersive relationship and sometimes meditative, which seeks to escape from the immediacy that can trivialize much of our daily relationships. On the chromatic and spatial matters, the exhibition highlights four different strategies of action that, within premises associated with abstraction, reinforce their individuality and the variety of results that modern art made possible. Without certain assertive characteristics that modernism proposed, in the name of a utopian construction of the world, the artists reaffirm the intrinsic values ??of art, reinforcing essential constructive aspects.
In Brazil, the late industrialization and the increasing urbanization process after the Second World War enabled the emergence of artistic movements that dialogued with modernist matters, adding to them a humanist commitment (or provocation), that some at the time preferred to characterize as “sensitive geometry”, and that today, using a more contemporary vocabulary, some could identify with the “viral contamination”. The fact is that such characterizations can only reinforce the extraordinary vitality and relevance of the set of works of these great Brazilian artists who knew the right time to refuse folk gratuity without losing in their history the commitment to the construction of an artistic production that could translate the Brazilian specific look, intelligence and sensitivity.
Paintings of Arcangelo Ianelli explore the visual and emotional sensations caused by observing the surface of the painting. His works result from skilled brush strokes that impose themselves on the form of geometric constructions or dissolve smoothly in the pictorial plan and appear to expand the physical boundaries of the canvas. We face large fields of color, of different shades and transparencies, which often evoke a European romantic landscape tradition, but are transmuted at the hands of Ianelli for trying to achieve an ambiguously universal semantic depth. Thus, his work suggests both a continuity of the artistic research of illustrious protagonists of the Abstract Expressionism, such as Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, and the figurative and almost abstract production of the great names of Brazilian Modernism, such as José Pancetti and Alfredo Volpi.
Eduardo Sued paints species of abstractionist “traps”. His paintings refer to many moments and truths of the so-called modern art, connecting, for example, Matisse’s hopeful colorism to Mondrian’s asymmetrically precise constructions. There is, in these paintings, a kind of melancholy reference to the “ghost” of painting, one that is not seen, that originates from the reflection of the other, which is structured in imposing mystery of silent landscapes and Morandi’s still lifes that Sued recycles and transforms. The artist, like Manet, takes these references by appropriation, using them as a start for building a work committed to his time and looking for the future. His paintings, statements of modernity, are also visual devices that are contaminated by shapes, contrasts, textures, ironies and assumed contradictions brought not only from the history of European art, but also from subtle elements coming from kitsch and pop-popular national universe.
Tomie Ohtake is one of the leading figures in painting in Brazil. Her work of informalist abstract and sensitive roots emerged in the 1950s, in opposition to the rationalist rigidity promoted by movements such as Concretism in São Paulo. In her most notorious works, she explores the visual sensations caused by massive and interesting organic and curvilinear shapes. In some others works, of a reductionist character, that exploration occurs basically by large areas of color that cover the surface of the work, suggesting a paint overflow, from the picture plan to the space. In the most recent series, the artist investigates the plastic and sensorial effects of the juxtaposition and superposition of many ink spots, a visual strategy that refers in part to the impressionist and pointillist works, now creating a highly abstract and ambiguous work.
The works of Abraham Palatnik show certain playfulness inherent in geometric abstractionism, incorporating kinetic effects based on color/light and mechanicity of certain volumetric elements. From an ingenious sequencing, either with wooden slats or paper fix on a rigid support, the artist builds interesting artifacts that reveal an intense chromaticism or restructure and redefine the art space for action. These works are in the space between painting and sculpture, mathematics and art, method and freedom. The result is not just a wave and floating visual pattern, endowed with a seductive optical kinetics, but also a kind of virtual topography, created in order to affirm the imaginative autonomy of the observer and not great social, political or spiritual truths.
Marcus de Lontra Costa
Rio de Janeiro, October 2013