As Chimeras by Claudio Cretti do not, at first sight, resemble the monster with the head of a lion, the body of a goat and the tail of a serpent, a fearsome creature from Greek mythology of the same name in the artist's new series of sculptures. If they cause any strangeness, perhaps they refer us more to another meaning of the word chimera, that related to utopias, dreams or daydreams. However, like the mythological being, Cretti's pieces, now shown at Galeria Marilia Razuk curated by Tadeu Chiarelli, are hybrids, heterogeneous combinations of varied objects that eventually remind us of plant or animal forms.
In a way, they are like “monster things”, according to the artist himself, “that emerge from this unlikely mixture of materials and gain an almost performative character”. Constructed from a long research of objects carried out by Cretti, through articulations of popular and indigenous handicrafts with pieces of musical instruments and industrialized articles such as rubbers and metals, the 11 chimeras that make up the exhibition are “a collection of what I come from” thinking since the beginning of this project, around 2014”.
What was seen by the artist only as a personal collection of indigenous or rural and rustic objects – a source of inspiration, but not an apparatus for the creation of new works – came to be perceived, at a given moment, as material rich in form and meanings for the making of the new sculptures. “If I was looking at these things all the time, watching them to think about my work, why not include them in the works?”. Thus, Cretti began to situate his production in a closer dialogue with the field of culture, in the sense of “being closer to the issues of the world that are of interest to me, such as social issues, the indigenous cause, spaces of oppression…”.
Bringing questions “external to the world of art” into his production, however, did not mean abandoning or distancing himself from formal and constructive concerns at work. “I am very concerned with the formalization of work, with how it is carried out. I'm not just putting objects together for the meaning they can make, but also for the conversation they can have – or not – when they're next to each other,” he says.
Even because Cretti, in his Chimeras, does not intend to make it necessarily recognizable what each of the pieces used is, even though, when observing them, “you often know that you have seen it somewhere”. “The sculptures sometimes refer to plants or animals, but they are not that either”, he says, highlighting some of the different possible layers of interpretation of the works. Among them, through the union of indigenous pipes and blowpipes with industrial irons and rubbers, for example, the perception that different universes can coexist and connect in a non-oppressive way.
“This connection is also a necessity for indigenous ethnic groups in Brazil today. They want to keep their traditions, to be in their place, in their land, but they also need to make use of technology, for example. This is natural”. It was close to the indigenous universe of the Guarani of the village of Rio Silveira that Cretti carried out the artistic residency that resulted in the 20 drawings that are in the exhibition next to the sculptures.
A série kaaysa, with the same name as the residence located in Boiçucanga, on the north coast of São Paulo, where Cretti spent about 20 days, traces a clear dialogue with the sculptures, despite having been made at different times and without direct relations with each other. “These are very different drawings from all the ones I've shown, which were made with large black masses. They were never line drawings, which stayed more in my notebooks, or as projects for sculptures,” he explains.
For the trip in the middle of the Atlantic Forest, however, the artist did not take canvas and paints, but paper, watercolors and pencils with which he produced drawings that “sometimes look like projects for the sculptures, but they are not”, he says. As Chiarelli writes, “Cretti developed these caiçara drawings that, despite being absolutely non-figurative, still reek of the atmosphere of the place, humid and mysterious”. Curator and artist agree that they are also projections of parts of the sculptures. On this, Cretti concludes: “The drawings indicate some things, but things that are diluted in the whole. Just like the sculptures, where you think you're seeing something, but it's not necessarily that”.
chimeras, by Claudio Cretti
From May 2rd to June 1th
Marilia Razuk Gallery – Jerônimo da Veiga Street, 131, São Paulo