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traces of perversity

critical text of the solo exhibition Princípia. 2015



The works of Tchelo that are present in the solo exhibition Princípia confirms the essential role that combustion takes in his work process. The act of burning, an intrinsically violent and destructor character of action, guides his recent visual production. Thus, it is by crumbling, dissolving and consuming that the artist lays the foundations, somewhat perverse, for his own artistic work.


The charred pencils on the work Armas (Weapons) are the most representative example of the importance of the disaggregation and destruction as inherent actions in his modus operandi. In this case, the artist attacks the pencil, which may seem a vehement denial, as suggested by the title, of the most emblematic and traditional drawing tool. A number of pencils are burnt to the point of cracking and becoming "ashes pencils", revealing then the graphite that appears as spearheads. It is by burning the pencil that the artist creates a visual tautology of drawing, juxtaposing two of their basic materials: graphite and charcoal.


In other cases the artist produces its own charcoal by incinerating partially or completely wooden objects and inserting them into arrangements that induce its friction with the smooth white wall surface. Both Espiral (Spiral), Pêndulos (Pendulums) and Pontes (Bridges) are traces-drawings made by the movement of these burnt objects which are in balance either suspended from a cord or, in the case of Pontes, by the tension of the ends of wooden rods against the wall.


The resulting traces from the contact of these objects with the wall are predetermined by situations supposedly subjected to rational and logical principles. In Espiral, the diameter of the concentric circles forming the spiral, for example, are proportional to the cord size used in which is suspended the timber sphere. But the pendulum strokes in Pêndulos is conditioned by the force employed by the pulse of the artist when he released the charred wooden balls. In Pontes, the strength of the long wooden rods tensioned against opposite walls of the room counteracts with the gravity that the pulls them down. However, the traces seem to falter and the curves are imperfect. If the artist establishes a system of rules in these games of making drawings, the result always leaves flow to the random, to hand whims which are subject to failure and fatigue.


Despite these traces-drawings are shown in a static position, they suggest and refer to the path that led them, enabling the viewer to mentally retrace those lines. The only work that effectively incorporates the movement is the video Adágio para Cordas e Cabos (Adagio for Strings and Cables), in which electrical cables in a constant vibration werw interpreted as a score for a sound composition. The image constantly breaks, it appears on the screen to quickly escape from the frame boundaries. This hypnotic swing refers to sound or magnetic waves, to invisible and ineffable forces, ultimately, to elusive incessant sinuous of flames.


So the fire – and what it implies in terms of fulfillment and destruction – seems to be the principle driver of these Tchelo's works, both in the eternal decomposition of the image of Adágio para Cordas e Cabos, as in the intentional pencil cremation in Armas, or by the fact that the ashes induced by the artist constitute the condition of existence of his drawings Espiral, Pêndulos or Pontes. These ashes appear as a fickle smoke, fugitives tracks in the trajectory of burning items, fragile traces that will last the time of exhibition.



Olivia Ardui

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