Just impressive! Both the artist and his work represent a landmark for Brazilian art scene in the late 1960s ¾ it is out of question! But, for all the obvious reasons, including that incredible ¾ yet “weird” ¾ way the major public tends to discredit, even play down, those works which lure you into another sense of “order” and its new mysterious vortex, Raymundo Colares’ artwork is until today less valued than it really deserves to be.
Painter and draughtsman, Colares brought together in his works a remarkable relationship between Constructivism and Pop Art, which can be, for instance, as well observed in some Hélio Oiticica’s innovative neo-concrete works. However, much more than other artists of the period in Brazil, the way Raymundo Colares depicted the interpenetration of people and vehicles at speed, prompted by new technology artifacts cutting across the metropolis’ syncopated motion, related to visual rhythms considered to be the best-case scenario for a new class of (emergent) consumers, was practically unprecedented in Brazilian contemporary art.
Born in the State of Minas Gerais (Grão Mogol, 1944), he studied, in 1966, at the School of Fine Arts of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, where he had the opportunity to make friends with important Brazilian visual artists like Oiticica, Ivan Serpa, and Antonio Dias ¾ at whose invitation Colares took part in such “over-the-top” exhibition (at the Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro) by the name of The New Brazilian Objectivity.
From the late 60s onwards, he began to produce what would be considered to be one of his major artworks: book-objects, in which he explored the multiplicity and a mélange of colors and folds of the paper ¾ pieces which had to be handled and manipulated by the spectator; along with his book-objects (the so-called “gibis”), and much more preponderantly, the artist began to create a new instance of paints (canvases and collages) by using metallic materials as hallmarks of an industrial society he deeply intended to highlight (and shrug off in some way, even without debunking).
The creator and his creatures ¾ the impact of an ongoing (over)industrial society
Linked to photography, cinema, graphic design, and advertising, Raymundo Colares’ images are associated with many “indiscreet scenes” essentially rooted in a Capitalist society touched by a rapid progress of production and consumption. The fascinating frame coming from most of his works is exactly the way he brilliantly extracted the every-day object form from its normal, daily content to convert it into a symbolic, but not exceptional, icon of this frantic society in its blatant ongoing dissemination.
Buses, ads, numbers, approximating geometry, graphic cards, panels, traffic lights, people crossing frantically the streets, movement, horns, and trends ¾ all this the spectator seems to bring into mind when in front of Calares’ artworks. Deploying a variety of alternative sequences of colors in strong tones and objects in multiple forms, the artist emerged in a process of creation where, as a result, the spectator could feel the impact of speed and fragmentation as if the art product itself appeared to be as a manufactured product in a factory…
Tick-tack, tick-tack ¾ man after man, women, children, man, man, man. Lights, no limits, buses, horns, outdoors, cars, cars, cars ¾ the frantic speed of a metropolis. Objects, brands, voices, noises, screams, horns, horns, man after man after you after me, clashes, ads, cold asphalt, lights, movement, movement, movement ¾ the rhythm of consumption, of an industrial society made up of concrete pavement, objects, autos, and frantic people running for buying their goods are all depicted and come out with sensitiveness, multiplicity and diligence by an admirable artist, who would end up his life like a beggar, pauper but wealthy in his frank non-acceptance, even if verging on "the fringes of civilization" he knew, like few contemporary artists, how to depict in its movement, vigor, and disparities prompted by such machine's forward motion…
All-in-all? It is just impressive the way his works make us turn around, even after 3 decades, and feel a syncopated rhythm which is much powered nowadays, by the way… Feeling or “looking into” this frantic motion ¾ much more frantic today, of course ¾ is worth for many “artistic reasons”; the most important one, perhaps, are those which make us believe, once and for all, that we (are?) could be being also “products” from this very “automatized scheme”…
Raymundo Colares ¾ a talented artist whose works we, for sure, have to be more impressed by, and “take the hat off”!