"Épuras", "Land Line", "Alphabet of the Line" and "Projectant", by Edith Derdyd. Photo: artist's Instagram

Edith Derdyk is a radical artist. She is not content to stay on the surface of things. She is constantly experimenting, continuing her tireless research on drawing – her theme and her language par excellence –, trying to understand it not as a mere instrument of representation, but as a way of being in the world. “Drawing is not just a pencil and paper thing”, she repeats, paraphrasing Mário de Andrade in an attempt to explain her permanent struggle against a Cartesian, instrumental and reductionist view of the medium.

Em call line, research that was born from the desire to take advantage of the moment of paralysis of the pandemic to rethink models and paradigms, Edith starts from a very specific basis. He chooses Descriptive or Mongean Geometry as a starting point, a technique developed by the French mathematician Gaspard Monge (1746–1818). Originally intended for military engineering, this basic method of technical drawing, which makes it possible to schematically represent machines, instruments, objects in two-dimensional representations, is a fundamental agent of the industrial revolution, making possible the faithful and exact repetition of objective models. Visually, it refers to the aesthetics of movements such as Russian Constructivism or Italian Futurism, marked by strong graphics and intimately linked to an optimistic idea of ​​progress. And, in Edith's formal and poetic reconfiguration, it becomes a material that is both physical and symbolic.

What were originally simple illustrations from textbooks from the 1950s collected by the artist in second-hand bookstores, become the starting point for an improvisation process similar to that developed by a DJ. They are recombined, condensed, deconstructed, sampled, generating works of different languages ​​and intensities. Some of them have a more projective character, they are elaborated in a more calculated and slow way, in the silence of the studio, like the series Line Alphabet, in which it deals with issues such as mirroring and symmetry. Or the christened set of epuras (made up of drawings printed and worked on different types of paper, which form a kind of archive of experiments and will be brought together in an artist's book, a language so many times and so well explored by her. Other works bring to the surface a strong constructive impulse, a clear intention of performing space reconfiguration. Projecting, an installation that the artist considers as a kind of generator pole for the entire exhibition.

It is interesting to note that, despite the different formats and supports, the works gathered in the current exhibition share not only the desire to question a reductionist view of drawing, but also derive from an extremely coherent poetics, which Edith has gradually built up, in a long process that started in the 1980s. In them, recurrences are evident, which she calls “personal mythologies” and which constitute the ground on which she works. The black line; the design that passes from the plane to the space, in a clear architectural vocation; the restless and repetitive movement of the stroke; a certain character of improvisation are some of these elements that make up the artist's grammar. 

His range of procedures and gestures is dry, dry, but his range of interests is vast. Edith starts from concrete symbols such as the Bible, or from small gestures of nature such as the coming and going of ants or the constructive sensitivity of spiders, to investigate fundamental structures of human action. It associates poetry, religion, philosophy and, tirelessly seeks to find what is at the base of events, mobilizes artistic and poetic procedures that allow at the same time to question this univocal model of growth through serial production and to propose a reflection on the limits of this model. that, paradoxically, combines reason and insanity.

It is by no means a rejection of science or the heritage of modernity, but a pressing need to look at our origins, to return to the germ of this idea of ​​Cartesian design, which would condense in itself this idea of ​​progress, of evolution through incessant consumption and production, which nowadays shows clear signs of exhaustion.

WHERE: ArteFormatto Gallery (al. Gabriel Monteiro da Silva, 1364, São Paulo)
WHEN: October 16th to November 16th

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