Detail of the work "Maculatura "da Estamparia Litográfica", from 1970, by the artist Lotus Lobo.

Daughter of parents from São Paulo, the Minas Gerais Lotus Lobo he lived almost always in Belo Horizonte, except when he traveled to take courses or when, between the 70's and 80's, he coordinated activities at an engraving house in Tiradentes, also in Minas Gerais. The space was linked to lithography, a technique that the artist has been developing since the early 60s, when she entered Fine Arts at Escola Guignard, an institution in the capital of Minas Gerais.

“I got into lithograph kind of not knowing what it was actually. I come from a family that has many painters, uncles and cousins. I thought about being a painter, I had already taken classes with uncles who painted, from the Bracher family”, she tells the ARTE!Brasileiros. However, the school's lithography studio, where she later worked as a teacher for several years, had just opened, but was not yet in operation. This caught Lotus' attention a lot. It was 1962, and, by coincidence, she soon met a lithographer, the artist João Quaglia: “We managed to bring him to Belo Horizonte in 1963, to start this lithography dialogue. I got there by accident, but I stayed.”

From that moment, Lotus began a very affective history with lithography. It has been more than 50 years producing works with this technique, which consists of printing images engraved on a base, usually composed of a limestone. After the design is done on the base, a solution is used to transpose the image onto a surface. In the exhibition she is now holding in São Paulo, the artist brings works that dialogue with the stone used, as in Untitled (2016) and Press I and II (2019)

The stones used by the artist were “granitated”, she explains. These were stones that had already been used by third parties and were reused in their processes. Some of them came with figures, especially those linked to the industry, such as labels: “In the first seven years, I was very influenced by informal abstractionism and only made prints in black and white”, she comments. Only later, when she visited the 1967 Bienal de São Paulo, did she find herself influenced by Pop Art: “It was when I got excited to use that material I already had with me”, she says.

After deciding to appropriate those figures to develop his work, Lotus made contact with an industry in Juiz de Fora, the city where the first lithographic movements took place in Minas, and asked for permission to work in that space: “I started going to this factory that made packaging for tins of butter, lard, etc. I asked for an order so I could work there. They gave it to me, saying I could work from 16pm, which was when their work period ended.”

The artist spent seasons in Juiz de Fora, where she made many color prints, using the tools that the factory had and having the help of the printers who worked there. “I learned a lot and, then, I started a story linked to these stamping industries, which stamped cans for products, mainly dairy products”. She says that this type of factory no longer exists, as the entire industrial process has been modified over the years. “I had the opportunity to meet a lot of people, many foreign designers who were already old at the time, in the late 60s. People who influence me to this day. They helped me a lot on this journey.”

For Lotus, “lithography is a very collective thing”. She says that she always had to unite people who really like the technique, especially in the beginning, so she worked for a while in an engraving house in Tiradentes. The workshops were always collective, as there were few. Today she has her own lithography workshop at home.

In addition to her performance as an artist, Lotus was a teacher for four decades. At the Guignard School, where she graduated, she was the first woman to teach the technique. “I started very early, still in the 60s. As I advanced alone in lithography and didn't have a teacher, there was a contest at the time and I passed”. In the 70s, she also worked in the general course of Fine Arts, but chose to stay only at Guignard, where she stayed until she retired two decades later.

The exposure

The artist's show at Galeria Superfície, in São Paulo, entitled Engraved Territory This is the artist's second exhibition at a gallery in São Paulo and will run until November 9th. On October 26th, Saturday, the artist will be in the city for a guided tour with curator Marcelo Drummond, at 16pm.

Lotus met Drummond through his work as a professor at UFMG and always had contact with the curator, who also works as a designer. “I always wanted to do something with him, but I was the one who always curated my exhibitions,” she says.

In 2018, during the preparations for its exhibition Lithography, which took place at the Cultural Center Minas Gerais Tennis Club, she felt she needed a curator who could face the large space that the institution's gallery offered. So she invited Marcelo. She says that this partnership was very important, as it added some news to her vision of her own work: “It gave new qualifications to my work, new divisions. I thought it injected new blood.”

Engraved Territory has 30 works by Lotus in different supports and dimensions, three of which are unpublished, specially conceived for this exhibition. In the catalogue, the text by Renata Marquez also reveals the female resistance that had as a member the teacher Lotus Lobo during the period when she was his student at the Guignard School in the early 90s: “We were a group of women (maybe there were men too, but they were erased from my lithomemory). Women who carried stones. Women alchemists who gave solid dignity to those mountains that were once the stones”, writes Marquez.


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