From the low valleys
September 1st // October 17th 2015
“If the painter wishes to see beautiful things which will enchant him he is able to beget them; if he wishes to see monstrous things which terrify, or grotesque and laughable things, or truly piteous things, he can dispose of all these; if he wishes to evoke places and deserts, shady or dark retreats in the hot season, he represents them, and likewise warm places in the cold season. If he wishes valleys, if he wishes to descry a great plain from the high summits of the mountains, and if he wishes after this to see the horizon of the sea, he can do so; and from the low valleys he can gaze on the high mountains, or from the high mountains he can scan the low valleys and shores; and in truth all quantities of things that exist in the universe, either real or imaginary, he has first in his mind and then in his hands; and these things are of so great excellence that they beget a harmonious concord in one glance, as do the things of nature.”
Excerpt From: Leonardo da Vinci. “Thoughts on Art and Life.” IBooks.
Imagine a nameless place without GPS coordinates.
I’m on a valley and my gaze follows the surrounding mountaintops.
Following the mountainside paths I slowly climb.
The goal is clear though going beyond the mountains is, at first sight, predictable. Nevertheless my destiny is uncertain. Other valleys, quiet spots, as the one I’ve just left, alert me for a voyage that hasn’t started here. I know I come from different valleys and have seen similar skies and disturbed clouds. I’ve walked countless sidewalks like these before. I travel however in permanent wandering, around the persistence of a gaze.
Drifting destiny. Searching with no pursue.
My mind wanders with details, scrutinising attributes. I remember the hill and halfway up, the house. Living room and rooms hide from my sight. I imagine walls. Pondering about distances I realize depths.
Walls collapse in the forbidden areas…
My gaze makes a curtain weave, its edges as an undefined architecture.
I reposition myself.
“curtain” directs our gaze towards multiple points of view, always searching for what’s beyond the overlapping black lines on the foreground. Immediately we find ourselves comparing distances, depths.
The painting “from afar” longs to compensate the gaze delays by proposing something very solid: a set of panels, spreading throughout the wall. These panels have volumes and they appear as if they were coming out of the wall in different depths. The painted surfaces renew a liking for the materiality of colour and reinforce the illusion of spatiality that arises from a landscape.
“Off-limits” and “Round” establish a site for objectified paintings.
“Todo”, “Todo o corpo” and “horizonte encruzado” remind us of the stretched visual field.
Diametrically opposed, in terms of materials, support or structure, the works “curtain” and “from afar” challenge the spectator’s forbearance asking his acceptance of the gaze’s erratic flow.
“My landscape is your landscape” when we accept troubled clouds and low valleys (or according to Portuguese artist and art critic Ernesto de Sousa “your body is my body”) first in our minds and right away in our hands.