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precautions and listening to fire, flame and light
critical text of the solo exhibition Condições de Uso, 2017

"... to reduce to ashes... to remain almost nothing, how much is the weight of the immense soul..."

Of tes mains heurtées-nouées pour jamais
Sur la triple fouche des routes
Cendres -
La gloire, revers de vous -
Fouche triple mains.
Au-Devant, Sequin, de l'est,
Vers vous terrible, est jeté.

... sand of indecisive color
These places of ash are good,
For the unsuspected solitude of birds...

... Burned what better there is,
The smoke comes, the flame goes...

Your hair of ashes, Shulamite
We dig a grave in the air there do not lie tight...

The residence of Tchelo was profitable in the conception and production of unique and singular works, demonstrating a persistence and conviction unequaled to fulfill the desired scope. Thus, consider the pieces and interventions located in two places: in the Gallery / Space t and the National Museum Soares dos Reis.

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.

One of the great discoveries, in addition to the materials he obtained at the very large warehouse of the 1st Cycle School on Rua do Sol / Espaço t - where he established one of his workshops, consisted of the opportunity to meet Mr. Artur, Carpentry on the street Conde de Viseu (active since 1920), where it was supplied with a large variety of turned parts. This meeting was an inspiration, sedimented in the solitude of Mr. Artur who keeps - against winds and tides - his workshop, a small door in the row of facades followed by this street. The dozens of turned pieces that would otherwise disappear without further trace became, themselves, drawing supports and, at the same time, drawings drawn through their own charred matter. Thus, a remarkable series has been produced entitled, paraphrasing the fact that they integrated the "collection" of Mr. Artur's workshop, becoming an integral part of an altered collection - they changed "owner" and belonged, authorizing themselves to be three-dimensional works on a contemporary art exhibition.

The action carried out by Tchelo, independent of the works and series that we can now know in his two solo exhibitions in Porto, rescues pieces, fragments, pieces of obsolete material in the matter of drawing and drawing itself, constituting an operation that, with José Ernesto de Sousa, we could call it "aesthetics". It is a question here of seeing objects that derive from an aesthetic qualification, warning us to the condition of use, which is exactly, the artistic usufruct.

In the visit to the first improvised atelier I confronted myself with the vast compilation of disparate elements that were perceived in a state of waiting. The first maneuvers were launched and there were vestiges of rehearsals: a veritable shipyard and laboratory where several unsuccessful attempts, errors and overruns would follow, reverberating the exploratory dimension that characterizes the work developed by Tchelo for several years.

The collecting process, crossing paths in the city and going to the village of Cerveira to absorb information and get closer to the natural and landscape resources, both urban and natural, as well as an essential visit to Viarco factory (S. João da Madeira), significantly increased, showing in the profusion of works to be produced, fulfilling a compulsive attitude to create.

In the environment of the Quase Gallery were installed the works designed specifically for the place. In a path of almost introspection and interiority, the materials that have been transfigured directly into the work are shown, being privileged instruments of their conditions of use. Thus the five bars, profiled diagonally and leaning against the outer wall of the room, trace the carbonized black to the geometry of a hypothetical unbalanced horizon that our gaze lengthens and prolongs imaginatively. The interior walls are lined with specific works that run through Tchelo's inventiveness.

It is an early warning that the drawing must be recognized under a charred skin of wood that reveals its almost pre-existence, the form invisibilizada by the matter that the artist gives to see, paraphrasing the great convictions of Michelangelo that, as a sculptor, believed his mission was to remove the excess of marble or stone to make emerge the form that would reside therein. In the work of Tchelo, by the action of the flame, the drawing is reborn from its own matter, be it wood or paper.


The common denominator, as stated above, is fire. This fire, which we see again proved, is a relative of the one whom Prometheus stole from the gods. It is a fire, through its flame, being led by a sure and methodical hand. Using the combustion time, to mark the treated area with the highest accuracy. Prometheus, in the history of European culture and art, is a myth often taken up again, because of the ebabatory circumstances that condemned it, a paradigm of emancipation that preached to men: knowledge and will. The poetic remitologisations of Prometheus follow one another, allowing me to highlight one of the most emblematic yet incomplete, Goethe's: Prometheus (Dramatic Fragment of Youth), although the works of Ésquilo - Prometheus Agrilhoado and, The first literary manifestation by Hesiod, two centuries before the dramatic poet. In the Portuguese case, Almada Negreiros took as one of the foundations of his aesthetic and artistic thought exactly the figure of Prometheus, in which he reveals the concomitant meaning of the Myth of the Fall. The Fall can take on different metaphorical meanings, being ultimately a redemption, a remission - precisely by fire in its purifying assumption.

It is, therefore, an action of immense responsibility when, like the mythological hero, the Brazilian artist works with fire and flame. On the other hand, it is associated with the transfigurative rupture, established by the thought of the cosmological matter, in the path of Bachelard, as it was mentioned. Also, to point out the connivance to artists of the Italian post-war, which the artist points out, to the title one of the pieces, in paraphrase to the ideology of Lucio Fontana. The concetto spaciale becomes a geometric concept transposed into aesthetic mutations. It is necessary to consider different types of actions decided by Tchelo: Action to drill the surface of the wood, striking coal sticks that draw the dispersion in the temperate space where successive dimensions reside or, also, by the irregularity of the "falling lines" that If they detach from our visual perception, haptics would even say.

The action of breaking into the surface of the canvas also consists of an analogy where the geometric form is visualized by the action of the charred wood, in a drawing that is suggested by the very form of the appropriate material, giving it a final opportunity to exist as a work of art Three-dimensional, surpassing the previous functional dispensability.

Action to draw thick, firm lines as far as they can be subtle and almost imperceptible in bases of regular morphology that have been thus found. It only reveals what was already there, uncovering (Heidegger dixit). And, we could distinguish still other actions that are unfolding of the 3 essential, here mapped but that, if we do not exhaust in variants that the materials and the flames, the fire direct to reach, for the attainment of its substantive intentionality and Conceptual.

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 composite pieces, regular geometric indexing, rectangle, triangle and square
- of different sizes and proportions, the faces of which are indicated by
Burn, thus highlighting their 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…


Also, remember, with Almada Negreiros and with regard to the principles that consign the drawing that this is graphically the generator and receiver of the simple visual signs, the geometric very in particular, constituting this language that dubbed Pregraph. In other words, the language of universal valence, prior to writing and circulating the ability of humans - in times and disparate geographies - to communicate among themselves in the anonymity of humanity. By the geometry and the drawing that ad simultaneum, one and the other share defining characteristics, being:

– conformers of primitive thought;
– possessors of universal meaning;
– expressions of the most hidden nature of the human, through elaborate intuition;
– institutes of personal conscience;
– intrinsic forces present in the life of each and every human being.

The power of fire, under the aegis of human recognition that instituted it, like the other three elements of the Cosmos, is a polysemous configurator, adjusted by the cultural constraints and directives that temporize it. The ultimate action, maximum boldness over civilizational is the fire that consumes the wisdom accumulated in History. Thus the image of burned books always refers to the destruction that societies have provoked, the great catastrophes that annihilate testimonies and irreplaceable memories. We recall the unspeakable KristalNacht, the disappearance of the Library of Alexandria or other irreparable losses of life and corporate traces.

In the case of "Resumo", it will be the book that collects the impossible designs, made concrete realization opens. It also contains all the legends of the heroes that populate our contemporaneity, where Prometheus, taken by Almada Negreiros as a privileged symbol of Europe, nowadays takes on a disproportionate responsibility that, far and away, can echo in Brazil, where Tchelo originates.

It is reiterated how, through the mediation of fire and flame, the commitment of drawing unfolds, multiplies itself in greater responsibility, giving rise to unique works mediated by the time that the artist gives to the combustion over matter. The hand, which Henri Focillon so praised, is with all propriety the mediating instrument that triggers or eliminates deliberation, in full awareness of the aesthetic consequences assumed.

The fire is not still, but it is still fire when it is flame. Fire lives and sleeps, it is a living fire. Although being flame, fire quenched, is alive, triggering forces that consolidate the civilization or push towards the decline. The flame, following again Gaston Bachelard, refers to the condition of fire that is associated with the warmth of the home, which heats, which feeds that caresses, providing a warm environment - an environment within. The flame is the externality of a led fire, a fire that is therefore possessed and dominated q.b. This fire that dwells in the flame is an internalization of forces of a small cosmos, giving rise to a cohesion of images that we live in its prodigious variety: "the images of the fire are, for the man who dreams, for the man who thinks, a school of Interiority."

Its strength, its intensity, are immense in an imagined potentiality that registers the real, the fly over and can return to it in the condition of the work intervened, by its action. Their action, in the pieces of Tchelo, oscillate between the light emanating from the controlled flame and the blackness of the pint that from the interior of matter as it sucks itself, generating painted surface. Coal results from the combustion of wood, which, in turn, being a living organism, has an end condition, as a human, from which to be a polysemic power as well. Coal in runoff becomes a dust that falls on the baseboard along the wall of the Sala da Quase. And, this coal dust - which serves as an instrument of drawing is its substance of work, its residue and its dissolution. It falls on the floor, on the floor which, in turn, is of old wood and food by the heat of the sun that burns it. The overlapping happens, adding to the reading of his plays, a spiral ambiguity, which causes me to think of the figure of the Oruborus - the snake that bit its own tail, in a generative procedure since it involves the feminine principle and the masculine principle, a cycle without end.

The flame of a candle, taking the title of Bachelard, is the flame of a gas torch that Tchelo dominates without doubt or resistance. It does not have the poetics of the fire that inhabits the house, but it feeds the aesthetic intentionality, conferring to the matter its artistic dimension. The tracks left by coal are a kind of organic liquid that flows, in a symbiosis almost intrinsic to nature, transmuted, transposed into the single branch that the artist found by chance in the hills of Gondar (near Cerveira, North of Portugal). It is also a poetic of nature, before being landscape - cultural deliberation, therefore in a state of utopia...


There is a call of solitude that underlies the work process of Tchelo. Solitude in the search, slowness in the finding of the small elements that decide to be the matter of its creation, in proposals that almost consider alquimias in the present saturated. Recall Bachelard's pregnant image: "the solitude of the dreamer of the flame," which incidentally calls one of the significant chapters of Flamme d'une Chandelle: "The dreamer dreams of the solitude of the other to find some comfort."

Somehow these works carried out in Portugal, in their numerous and profuse tenacity have the strength and conviction of purifying rituals, rituals of passage. Passage is a term which, in this case must be understood in a double way: because the artist in residence is in transit; On the other hand, because in fact, the succession and profusion of works stipulate a challenge, a requirement that the artist puts himself, in process, consequently, opening to the next situation that comes across. Rituals of passage which, in the last instance, can very often be understood, and under different perspectives as the foundation (and essence) that propels creative acts. Based on intuition, on the genuineness of regularized and accurate procedures, as defined in advance, in a programmed methodology.

The idealized fire is purity, an idea that is analyzed by Bachelard in Psychanalyse du Feu, considering the sublime dialectical dimension (and not continuous).

There is a respect for the flame, an agreement to pay homage to the fire that Tchelo brings from the immemorial times of the human, to the most lucid aesthetic animation of cultural everyday life. This respect cohabits with the unusual ability it possesses to master the materials that are incandescent, combustible, in such a way that the conceptual motivations to generate works, some as a consequence, are either continuity or antonym of the previous ones. It is the repairing force of fire, not its destruction. It will be a Phoenix reborn from the ashes, anyway.

reflections of an altered collection

Powder, gray and nothing is a popular expression that warns of the ephemerality of human life, announcing the awareness of the fleeting passage and, likewise, of the consequences of a misuse of life... Nothing, it is known that it does not exist. Emptiness, the absence of or silence is always filled with something, fruitless or prolific. Nothing is seen in volatile matter, where in the course of the history of ideas and the arts there is a mention of "dust" and "ashes" to reinforce the semantic intensity [of psycho-affective incidence, very singular ...] that it reaches. It refers to an ultimate and autophagic scope, for eschatological and apocalyptic indexing, in certain evidentiary cases, be pointed out.

Both the dust and the ashes descend and settle, sedimenting and/or being absorbed by the earth, by the waters, blown by the wind (air). The dust and the ashes result, being sometimes effect of the action of the fire. The 4 elements are, therefore, their direct or indirect reason - for specific reasons; Are agents in their genesis, substantiality and, consequently, in their precarious duration (or not) and symbolic or effective dissolution. These are strong concepts that stimulated the imaginary poetic and iconographic, focusing on the work of Tchelo, more directly the "ashes". In the magnificent presentation of the book Grays of the Twentieth Century: Three Lessons on Italian Poetry by Enrico Testa, we can read in reference to a poem he dedicated to Edoardo Sanguineti, published in Ablativo: "In a movement that can go towards To someone or to something that is absent, but which, with this gesture, becomes present in its absence, as with fire and ashes." Ashes are often associated with absence while being present And past tracing a paradox in evanescence.


Confronting the history of literature, dramaturgy or cinema, countless are the references that reverberate the polissemias added to the ashes. Ashes emerge, are the result of incandescent materials, stimulated to run out, to be exhausted. It is an intentionality, a pragmatics, a use, leaving traces, traces and clues: everything in little and light. "From ashes to ashes" is the irreversible consignment that is announced in life, an expanded idea, for example, of Harold Pinter's Ashes to Ashes, which appeared in 1996 as a proclamation against the barbarities of the world, Violence and human rights offenses, subsumed in the pious relationship between the two characters - Devlin and Rebecca. Everything is reduced to ashes, being taken in the most complex fruition, in terms of poetic creation, as well as artistic, permeating the indexes mythico-symbolic, anthropological, theological, ontological ... among all the other disciplines that gloss them. The ashes refer to the weight of history, in Europe as in many cultures and civilizations, transcending time and assuming the ultimate condition of the human, either when it reaches its peers or when it refers to itself.

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 occurred 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 excess of heat and cold, poetically exploited kinesthesia by Manuel Bandeira, for example in the poem "Epígrafe", where the Brazilian poet metaphorizes the finished love, by way of example, among many others to name.


Maria de Fátima Lambert

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