CWith works by 33 artists from different generations, the show reveals how the art of engraving on wood starts from an already consolidated tradition to reinvent itself, by dialoguing with other forms of artistic expression and proposing a very attentive look at reality and production. contemporary art.

Ana Calzavara, Sobrevoo series, 2014
Ana Calzavara, Sobrevoo series, 2014

The choice of Claudio Mubarac as curator gives the ensemble a density that is uncommon in group exhibitions, even more so when marked by such great diversity. Artist and teacher, he closely follows this production, functioning as a kind of link between the generation that began to implement the teaching of woodcuts in art schools in the country in the 1950s/60s and the engravers who, from the 1990s onwards, XNUMX, they continued this work with a strong community character, creating collective ateliers and exchanging technical, formal and conceptual data about their productions.

Artists who managed, through exchange and dialogue, to circumvent the barriers existing in the national market to art on paper and, in particular, to woodcut, a technique marked by a strong popular bias.

The reference to nature and the human figure – quite present in the works –, more than a reference to the academic genres of portraits and landscapes, seeks to emphasize the active and intense relationship established by these new generations with the contemporary scene, defining their own identity. for this urban wandering. “These people grew up in a very different political climate, formed in a democratic environment. Walking around the city is a way of giving corporeity to themselves. They no longer separate urban and rural, nature and culture”, summarizes Mubarac.

Detail of the work Tropa, 2017, by Luisa Almeida
Detail of the work Tropa, 2017, by Luisa Almeida

It is interesting to note how, from this common temporal ground, there is a great spread of poetics, different ways of exploring the relationship with wood (often using the veins as a compositional element) and the creation of rich dialogues with other techniques. The presence of color is striking, as well as the use of large formats. This is the case, for example, of the work of Fabricio Lopez, the first to devise this panoramic exhibition and who invited Mubarac to take over the curatorship. Lopez exhibits in the exhibition a wide panel, a landscape that seems invented, with marine and mountain references, in a seductive game of colors and shapes. Color is also the protagonist of the playful mural The Yellow Band arrives in Sacred Ethiopia, by Eduardo Ver and punctuates the entire exhibition.

It is Ana Calzavara who seems to bring woodcuts closer to painting, as if she were merging the two languages, abolishing their differences in a series of yellowish landscapes that succeed and complement each other like comics. Sculpture and photography are also part of this process, with dense works such as the overlays of scenes of the raw city, with its gray and massive buildings, made by Fernando Vilela. Or the army created by Luisa Almeida of women fighters, armed, who organize themselves in the form of totems, ready to fight. The imagery references found in the works are the most varied. There is an evident dialogue with the artistic tradition and classic references such as expressionism. The option to display the engravings without a frame reinforces this popular, marginal (in the sense of being made at the margin), fluid and extremely communicative character of xilo. And it refers to its use as a revolutionary and communication weapon through lambe-lambes.

Virtuosic (such as the engravings by Francisco Maringelli and Ernesto Bonato), experimental (Otavio Zani) or collective (Xiloceasa), the dozens of works gathered until September at Sesc Guarulhos attest to the vigor of contemporary production and the infinite possibilities of simple technique, which as explains Mubarac, requires “just a piece of wood and something sharp”, but is constantly reinvented.

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