Memories of the Present
The act of perceiving is an act of recollecting
Above all, Bruno Vilela defines himself as a painter. Vilela is considerably young for the solid education in drawing already accomplished. But this is not the only technique he makes use of, his prolific production presents incursions into materials beyond paint, brushes and pastel crayons: it also includes different languages such as photography.
Regarding the context of works seen in this exhibition, he establishes a connection between painting, drawing and the photographic medium in a conscious and clear manner: he idealizes and carries out his pictorial transpositions having as a starting point the possibilities of dialogue between the manual ones – thus emphatically interpretative and essential with a drawing material such as charcoal – and those technical images not made by human hand.
But how can the photographic space be transcribed into painting? What are the conceptual elements and materials implicit in this process of turning photographs into paintings?
Before anything else, the idea of photograph is imposed on us simultaneously as a medium and as the materialization in order to constitute a personal and familiar memory that will be imagetically transfigured. It is impossible not to see, in this announced requiem, the intention of an immersion, of a cathartic encounter with the past of oneself. A past which is always auratic, unique and irreversible, as all know well. But that past is distended with a blast to dialogue with consciousness in the present moment and propitiate the choices put into effect through the point of view of artistic creation. That leads to another question: how we, human beings, deal with that which arrives at us. And how – as in the artist's case – to materialize for other people what would be part of the order of the sublime, of what is uncommunicable.
In fact, how to distance oneself from something so close without getting lost in this proximity seems to be the challenge proposed by the artist to himself.
The emergence of these figures which emerge from the intense, dense and initially chaotic use of charcoal creates an oasis of presence whose characteristics allow inserting them in an attempt to approach time as becoming in the fixed image. Among the most important procedures which allow the insertion of movement and consequently of duration is the flou effect. It constitutes one of the forms of establishing the connections between an inscription of lost time, not recoverable, situated in the past and that of the present time found and relived by the eye of the spectator. Flou effect opposes (with mobility) to every desire of settling to the form of viewing; it slowly and gradually operates a treatment from one of the elements of the indict vocabulary which is the paint spot. Vilela invests on a certain instability of perception, as we understand the eyes suffer when trying to focus at an specific point, what actually defines the status of image for the eyes.
The imprecision on the referential information system evoked by the misty characteristics of the paint spot is a symptom of its hybrid nature, of the material possibility of oscillation between photographic and pictorial perception it offers. That which in photography configures itself as loss of inconvertible information or in interrupted communication, is translated into pictorial gain through euphoric, welcoming perceptive values in a kind of optical coexistence which stimulates the act of viewing, making surfaces vibrate.
In addition to time as becoming, we have time in its relation to space through another operation of photographic nature which is that of cutting. What (as a photographic action) installs a rupture in the space-time as becoming, on the other hand materializes from the pictorial point of view as composition. Such composition, whose framing is seen as an enunciative phenomenon par excellence, metalinguistically refers to itself as an action of recutting. A presence which affirms an absence above all. This confers to the rigid limits of framing an openness towards what does not belong to the field of representation, towards what is not seen but could be. This real act of suspension joins several allegoric meanings to these images, almost dematerializing them in a certain sense, for they become phantasmal, ethereal, vague, transitory, imminently abandoning the field of representation but also undoubtedly confirming our projection – in the psychoanalytic sense of the term – of identification with these images. What is taken from them in regards to documental value is also added to them in terms of values associated to the power of suggestion, since imagination finds a fertile field to develop itself in the presence of that which is not completely revealed.
In these images, the will to describe luminous forms revealed by the white is less present than that of reclaiming a delay, a retention, or the weight of a nocturnal matter: matter as unconsciousness of form. The same substance which brings forth an effect of appearance, also plays with the possibility of concealing it. Between the spots and stains of coming and goings, emergences and submersions, evasive reminiscences and resistances to forgetfulness, interruptions and resumes, the narrative of materiality never is completely given, but only suggested. And through Mallarmé we know that suggestion is able to efficiently evoke imagination. Or, as Deleuze would say, "only imagination can develop the germ". ¹
¹ DELEUZE, Gilles. L'Image-temps, Paris, Minuit, 1985, p.120.
english version: Milena Durante
english version: Milena Durante