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reflections of an altered collection
critical text of the solo exhibition Coleção Alterada. 2017



The sequence of timeless books by Gaston Bachelard, under the tutelage and cosmological celebration of the four elements, established his philosophy of creation/imagination of the matter. This series of emblematic works began with the publication of La psycahnalyse du feu (1937), followed by L'Eau et les rêves: Essai sur l'imagination de la matière (1942), L'Air et les songes: Essai (1948), La terre et les rêveries du Repos (1948), La flamme d'une chandelle (1961) and the posthumous book, organized by Suzanne Bachelard, Fragments d'une Poétique du Feu (1988). The challenge, which I proposed in curatorial terms, continues studies carried out in exclusively academic contexts. More recently I was interested in the approach to artistic projects of Brazilian authors developed in the context of artistic residences. Other methodologies of work were added to the bibliographical and documentary researches, namely, the incorporation of testimonies related to the visual poetics of the artists involved, thus fulfilling a scope that remains open. The artists are: Claudia Bakker, Pedro Cappeletti, Carlos Nunes and Tchelo.


Over the last three years, in the city of Porto, Portugal - in co-production of Quase Galeria/Espaço t, the Soares dos Reis National Museum and the Polytechnic School of Education - artistic residences subsumed with the predominance of the four elements as artistic creation. The first foray, under the aegis of the cosmological water element, goes back to April 2012, when the carioca artist Claudia Bakker filled the interior garden fountain of camellias at the Soares dos Reis National Museum with apples. Then, in June/July 2015, Pedro Cappeletti traveled to Porto in order to develop an artistic project subsidized by the wind, intrinsic deity to the air, indicted, decided in its intense current. Over the course of several weeks he made inroads into the city, mapping the places with the highest incidence of wind, and later incorporated another action under the auspices of the land.

This action consisted in the displacement of one square meter of lawn, so as to be correct in the North deviation, in relation to the displaced angle of São Paulo. The manipulation of the clod of earth with turf was carried out under intense concentration and was, conspicuously, an updating ritual of the beginnings. The following year, between May and June 2016, Carlos Nunes, also from São Paulo, presented and realized an artistic project evocative of the action of light under the materials and, on the other hand, peering at the luminosity emanating from objects. In order to obtain the objects, in which he would measure the light intensity, the artist from São Paulo traveled every morning to the beach of Foz, where he collected the most varied things that the tide had pushed into the sand. Water has thus become a fundamental element, as a conductor, contributing with its offers for the study of light, thus giving the artist [or not] a set of materials for his research. The set of research focuses on visual perception, for an investigation that has as priority focus identify almost unsuspected zones of differentiation, by the exercise of greater acuity, often invisible to the unsuspecting look of the majority. It focuses thus on the interstices, the subtlety of degrees almost insignificant between the distinctions thought.

To complete the cycle, it was necessary to approach the primacy of fire for the continuity of curatorial research, accomplished thanks to the creations of the artists named above, through the excellence and generosity of their ideas, processes and works. In February 2016, during a stay in Sao Paulo, the project for Tchelo, whose work had already been seen and awarded in Portugal, the previous year, at the XVIII Biennial of Cerveira [ 2015]. What was possible to achieve this year, in an artistic residence that began on May 10 and which resulted in the two exhibitions that are now being inaugurated: Conditions of Use in the Quasi Galeria | Space t and Reflections from an altered collection at the Soares dos Reis National Museum.

Tchelo made his forays into the city from the beginning of his stay in Porto. He toured the city's emblematic streets in search of old shops, warehouses, and other places where he could gather elements with which he would produce his pieces. It aimed mainly at wooden objects or clusters, cut pieces of furniture, bars, fragments of beams, as well as broken branches of trees.

The narrative begins with the ashes that Tchelo wanted to result from the weight of several bags of coal, according to its own weight, in the case 78 kgs. The weight of the raw charcoal has been transposed into the mountain of ashes that corresponds to them in a mountain that gathers them. Thus, the almost geometric pyramid, evokes the morphology of a volcano, becoming an unexpected redundancy. From inside the volcano explodes the fire, which melts in lava and spits ashes in the landscape. The ashes-body of this in-situ work produced by Tchelo are quiet ashes, quiet of the phabulation of a living organism. They become a celebratory part of the artist's body as a metaphor for creation and the thought that drives it.

The ashes assume the design of a monument within a museum space charged by Peso da História [recalling here the title of the sculptural work of Pedro Valdez Cardoso present in the Museum]. The ashes cover and protect, as it did in Pompeii or Herculaneum. Preserve for the beyond time, bodies and gestures of everyday life that would otherwise have been broken and had continuity and routine. The ashes resemble both the excess of heat and the cold, kineestesia poetically exploited by Manuel Bandeira, for example in the poem "Epígrafe", where the Brazilian poet metaphors the finished love, by way of example, among many others to name. The drawings, as Tchelo conceives them, flow from the material that integrates them and warns them of corporeality. That is, we can consider design typologies to differentiate:

1. Drawings that reveal themselves as such by the action that Tchelo accomplishes by delineating them through the flame to two-dimensional and graphic morphology. They are: the case of the turned parts placed in one of the shelves, where the flat forms under curvilinear tutelage are evidenced; The case of the composite pieces, of regular geometric indexing, rectangle, triangle and square - of different measures and proportions, whose faces are marked by the burning, thus highlighting the respective surfaces, in a perceptual-visual dialogue.

2. Carbonized drawings that trawl in lines traces of the action of burning the surface of the paper, ripping in irregular shapes, whose descent of charred lines seems to be sucked by the force of gravity. They are drawing charred lines drained.

3. Drawings, whose perimeter is geometric, increasing in its two-dimensionality the area painted by the flame of the gas torch. The surface eludes us, for it seems to have been grasped or impregnated by a chromatic density, its perfect contours delimited by any paint, and it is never suspected that the skin of the wood was originated by the flame.

The fire of Prometheus, a myth that still permeates our days, is domesticated, given the way it is conducted in the artistic exercise by Tchelo. It would seem that almost the Dionysian turns into Apollonian. In the same way, moreover, what can be said about the Greek tragedy, when it meant the possibility of transcending time, to reach the esthetic stage, precisely as the aesthetic phenomenon justifies the fact that the world itself exists eternally, survival. Prometheus as hero, direct protagonist of the Greek tragedy, established the conciliation, because it possessed double nature, its essence, Apollonian and Dionysian ...

Maria de Fátima Lambert

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