Horizontal, color image. CELESTINAS, by Penna Prearo, exhibited in LABYRINTHS REVISITED, exhibition at Sesc Bom Retiro
"Celestinas", Penna Prearo. Photo: Disclosure

"More than a photographer, Penna is an image builder”. The phrase by producer and curator Baixo Ribeiro gains more meaning as we walk through Mazes Revisited, on display at Sesc Bom Retiro, in São Paulo. Drawing dialogues with artistic references from the universe of painting and cinematography, the works on display compose narratives that approach dream and fictional scenes. Curated by Agnaldo Farias and co-curated by Baixo Ribeiro, the new individual by Penna Prearo brings together 49 photographs. Despite the artist's long trajectory, the show focuses on recent works, produced in the last three years. “It is not a retrospective exhibition and that means a lot to me. I have here with me, firm, that even with 50 years on the road, if I'm alive and producing, I'm not looking back at anything”, he shares.

The saturated colors, the different textures and the visual interferences jump out at us. As the curators point out, for decades Penna Prearo broke the (debatable) pact that imposes on the photographic image the duty to capture a fraction of the world, in a transparent way. “He started to turn the photographic image into a boomerang that hits the world to come back pealing over itself”, writes Agnaldo Farias in the curatorial text. “This image gives an authentic description of what we feel when we look at Penna's work. These are not ordinary images, they are not simple images. They are not representing anything. So, when they come, they capture us, occupy our eyes and perception”, adds Baixo Ribeiro.

“For me, photography has completely changed its axis”, says the artist, who believes that since the beginning of his work this axis was already displaced from capturing the real. “Over time, I mastered these tools [of photography] – thinking tools, in fact. In the beginning, for example, I had to work up the courage to leave the single photo and put together these panels with many images – that was a long time ago. I say create courage, because that's exactly what happened. I called two, three friends to see if I could do this… Imagine! You can do anything you want. So, I was freeing myself from the most obvious parameters of photography, which is the document”, he says. Thus, he immersed his work in another logic, and through digital treatment, he constructed his images.

A arte!brasileiros visited the exhibition and talked with the co-curator and with the photographer Penna Prearo. Check out:

One more of the parameters of photography that Penna Prearo freed himself from was the need for a professional camera. At 71 years old, the artist has been dealing with Parkison for about seven years. “It affected the right hand, camera hand and mouse hand. The mouse I adapted with the left one and started using a digital marker. With the camera I always used a lot of tripod, but the heavy camera I can't handle anymore, because the right hand was almost inert ”, so she started to build her images from a cell phone.

“So, I don't take the bait that the cell phone has changed my work, made it easier. He got better. It's a very timely tool and it came at just the right time. And for me to resolve the issue, I have not stopped working. I work every day, every day. I mean, every day I finish an image and at least that way I could make an exhibition of this size, make two of the same”. And he adds: “The Parkinson's and age thing started to show that what we always thought life was short, you discover that time is really short. And the cell phone at that time, then, throws it forward.”

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