Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Raymundo Colares revisited [a syncopated rhythm matches up with Brazilian industrial society in the 60-70s]


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”!


Saturday, June 4, 2011

in front of a tapir-sensor only a "right C." is not wrong


Dedicated to three special women who had been doing their utmost to make our crude and automatized reality a better place to live; where we, brothers and sisters, could still believe in the redemptive power of art and generosity, at least to dare to hope that everyone (next or a little far away from us) will free up themselves from any kind of slavery some day. Margaret Kargbo (Margo), Miki Turner, and Laurel Holloman ¾ with their remarkable steps into resistance and non-acceptance, they show us by their art and praxis that it is still possible to dream about what writer Bernard Shaw said once: if “without art the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable”, without generosity, and the very act of looking at and supporting the other (weaker and so for it shattered like glass by the whole hideous corporation motion), our route will be nothing but a trap. This is that precious and priceless “drop in the ocean” these three special women just admirably catch up with and overtake. Three artists: a writer, a photographer, a painter whose work I get delighted with and, for sure, will always reverberate.

He went down the stairs of the Hall of Condemned Slaves, out to the nearly deserted street, at 7:52 am. Cold for the heat of the room itself, absently seeking some pallid face of such invalid person somewhat similar to him, that screwed-up man envisioned nothing but his (mis)printed fate. Over there, the ground appeared to be strange to him, floating in front of that “in-the-flesh person” as well as emerging like a machinery pillow ready to overcoat his face, or any wishtrick reputedly coming from his heart ¾ never mind, the march would set out by him.
The street-basis surface made of that gross concrete pavement as if dancing to the same tune of his dark; or in the best-case scenario, claiming against that whole push-me-pull-you path from someone distressed over their piloted blindness to death, to the gallows execution by the most sophisticated method of people’s fading out and slacking off ¾ he (thick or leniently) felt like having missed out on the route of such overall need for brightness, even without passing up the condition for an existence outweighed by a foot-by-foot strolling in his broken journey. Beggaring tacks, trampling upon ticks, going under $$$ agenda, tick-tack, tick-tack everyone’s failure ¾ and over there, his everyday-life torments, or just a way back into his sentence of imprisonment. A Failed C. ¾ his very value, his code, his alias, and the preponderant motif.
He ¾ a Slave-Man Server. No limits, no worth. His crime ¾ a mélange of misdemeanor lightness and synchronized handicap (his inaptitude to C.). So clapped-out, so suitable.  His punishment ¾ a day-by-day walk back into a horrid-insect crime. His steps out the hall of slave prisoners ¾ nothing but steps into the underground of commitment he had been inept to juggle with slyness. A weaker consent, or such last-but-not-least form of life guidance ¾ even if delirious or boxed in ¾  than none at all. The rules had been clear: you ought to C.
In procession, that was how all the attendees were compelled to act out. The scenario: a piquet ahead, the one responsible for synchronizing the bank-note multitude and their expected reaction: everybody wished the condemned slave a crude execution ¾ he had after all broken the C.-Law. This first soldier was followed by a trumpeter, who titillated and spread out the defendant’s sentence over the street corners ¾ it was indispensable that everyone was once again well informed about (and well indoctrinated in) what legislators ruled and judges used to apply to blatant cases of rule violations like that.
After the Police of People’s Identity and Actions, the transgressor came out between men and women (and children with their puppets) to give rise to the announced spectacle: his execution by hanging. All-in-all? Nothing to struggle against or complain about: “Justice had been served” without any baffles in the process ¾ this, the way it always goes when someone breaks the Law No. $$$-813/72A (the so-called C.-Law).
Anyway, the march had to go on. Foot after foot, all the attendees paced with no stupefaction, no fellow-feeling, and no resistance. The present authorities paced as well, in such automatized motion. And the condemned, dressed in white, as desperately trying to figure out a way to free up himself from that next insurmountable groove was also forced to march to the gallows. Foot after foot, hopelessness after others’ idiocy and lack of mercy, disgrace after his unnumbered voiceless cries. The slave marched, and marched. As walking his chalks, the only thing available to him was that desperate far-fetched walk to his deadline.
No one appeared to be stunned. No one gave a damn. No one tried to put a stop to that absurd. Everybody knew, everybody sensed, but there was not even a person to shrug off, or to hold out against. Over there, along with that procession, people were just supposed to be ready… to toe the line, to dance to the music of the Major Department of Executions of the Special Court Tribunal for Failed-Cs’ guidelines. That was the rule: if you are not able to C., you are not able to L. (C. and L. were, in that case, and for any context, conceived as the highest intertwined values).
Around-the-clock interest, everyone marched. When all those people, including the slave prisoner, reached the right place (The High Justice Square) where he would be hung, the soldiers and all the authorities made a circle inside of which the slave and his butcher were invited to take their glorious positions. The execution would begin. Behind, beside and at the helm of both men into the circle, people clap their hands, they intoned the Hymn of the Progress, everyone was excited by that incredible spectacle. Three huge loudspeakers announced: it was the right moment for the public performance ¾ the so expected gallows execution.
The defendant, who had been voiceless and inert during his months-ago judgment, over there, surrounded by the audience and authorities and all those ostentatious interested in progress, over there that poor condemned slave trembled. He was not the same man. Even silently groaning all his deep-down objection to that death sentence, he did not invoked the Heaven, he did not begged for mercy, he did not even cried out. He just closed his eyes and waited the execution.
And then, as expected, the butcher tied the rope around the slave’s neck. It was 8:25 am. After that, the judge simply drew up the legal document, and waited for the hung man’s casket arrival to proceed to his 30-seconds burying.
Just like that: cold, hideous, and technocratic. That was how one among others millions of condemned slaves ended up their ordinary existence. And would be like that for many and many years yet… Until… Actually, this hope is but a dream. Is it?
One important note: I got stunned by a book I have been recently reading (No meio das galinhas as baratas não têm razão / Among chickens, the cockroaches are wrong). That’s what this current text (my today “fictionism”) is all about. Based upon a law ruled by judges in Brazil in 1835 (The Law of Death Penalty for Slaves), historian João Luiz Ribeiro wrote a precise and precious analysis on all those subdued people who were sentenced to death for raising their hands and voice against slavery and the whole crudeness prompted by their “lords”. Into this book, there was an excerpt dedicated to narrate one, among countless others, slave’s walk into his execution by hanging in 1836. My today ficcionism, originally brought out in Portuguese on paginacultural, is then dedicated to redo this moment by trying to think about it in terms of our new “sophisticated” methods of slavery and condemnation… what I call  C. herein (the corporation motion based upon Consumption, the Consumerism)…