Horizontal, color image. View of the exhibition SANTÍDIO PEREIRA INCISIONS CUTS ENCAIXES, at the Iberê Camargo Foundation. Room with white walls and wooden floor. On the left, two large paintings, side by side; on the right a painting more than 2 meters high; in the center a large frame, about 1 meter, next to a sequence of 6 small frames. All works are woodcuts of bromeliads.
View of the exhibition. Photo: Giulia Garcia

Nthe white walls of Iberê Camargo Foundation, 22 works stand out for their colors and dimensions. Two-meter-tall woodcuts and paintings more than one-and-a-half meters long draw attention in Santídio Pereira – incisions, cuts and fittings, on display until May 1. The show is the young man's first individual artist in a museum and takes place after his time in important group shows at the Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, in Paris, at the Power Station of Art in Shanghai and at the Museum of Modern Art in São Paulo. 

Among birds and plants, the works take us through the memories of Santídio in Curral Comprido, the village of Piauí where the artist was born. “It is an attempt to rescue and preserve this memory that was so happy, but which is not just mine, in a way it is a collective memory of the people who were born there in the Northeast”, shared the artist in a chat promoted by the Iberê Camargo Foundation in partnership with Instituto Ling (watch here).

A série Birds, to which we are presented in four large paintings in the exhibition, is perhaps the one that most clearly reverberates this concept, by portraying 22 birds from the Brazilian Caatinga through woodcuts. “The selection process of these species is somewhat affective. I had childhood memories, when I lived in Piauí, of these birds that I knew by name.” Some of the paintings go even further into the concept, creating an overlay of memories through the different layers of engraving that compose them. In a first step, Santídio prints on paper the plants and landscapes that remind him of his childhood experiences – creating the background for the work – then he superimposes them with the representations of birds that permeate his memories. 

In another room, we are taken to the memories of Santídio already in the city of São Paulo – where he has lived since he was six years old. It's about the series Morros, which combines woodcuts and monochrome paintings with representations of landscapes. The work began on a trip by the artist to Santo Antônio do Pinhal, in the interior of São Paulo. What at first intended to be an artistic immersion in the study of bromeliads (for another series of works), brought an unexpected enchantment to the people of Piauí: the hills of the region. When revisiting the sketchbook he had taken with him on the trip, he noticed that studies of the landscapes of that place took up most of the pages. Thus, he started the series, which would also reflect other locations, such as Serra da Bocaina and Serra da Cantareira, which were part of the artist's childhood. 

Monumentalizing nature

Another aspect that draws great attention in the works are their dimensions. In order to arrive at paintings over two meters in height or in length, Santídio Pereira departs from the classic technique of woodcut – prints from images created in wood matrix using a gouge – and “adds his knowledge of woodworking to cut pieces which will later be put together like a jigsaw puzzle”, explains art curator Ricardo Sardenberg in the text of the exhibition catalogue. “With a gouge, a chisel [classic woodworking tools], you have the reach of your arm; with a jigsaw you walk around [the wood]. It's a physical experience”, explains Santídio. Thus, we have the incisions, the cuts and the fittings that give the show its title: the incisions in the wood, followed by the cuts made with the resource of woodworking and the fittings of the different matrices.

The choice for large formats also came from Santídio's interest in the use of colors. “A friend once told me that a centimeter of yellow causes one sensation and two meters of that same yellow causes a completely different sensation”, he says. Thus, he seeks to experience the impacts that the colors of his works can provide to the public: “I have a desire to transmit joyful collective memories, praising the beauties and our greatest riches [in Brazil], which for me are culture and nature – in the expanded sense of the two words”, he shared during the chat promoted by Fundação Iberê Camargo and Instituto Ling. To which Ricardo Sardenberg added: “I think that's where the political side of work comes in, because it monumentalizes nature; in a way that puts in front of you something that we sometimes lose the dimension of: the scale of the destruction of nature today is monumental, because nature is monumental”.


Santídio Pereira – incisions, cuts and fittings
Iberê Camargo Foundation – Av. Father Cacique, 2000 – Porto Alegre, RS
5 Feb – 1 May | Thursday, from 14pm to 18pm (free); Friday to Sunday, from 14 pm to 18 pm (tickets at ibereecamargo.org.br/)

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