Group Show | Sobre as águas

Amadeo Azar . Giulia Andreani . Pedro Varela


Everything flows like a river. The aphorism that sums up the philosophy of Heraclitus seems to pervade the works in this exhibition, which is buoyed by the waters of three coastal artists: the Venetian Giulia Andreani; the Ar¬gentinean Amadeo Azar, born in Mar Del Plata; and the Niteroi artist Pedro Varela, who now lives in the hills of upstate Rio de Janeiro.

Water is the source of many points of contact between the works brought together here. Water used to dilute and blur, both in the watercolors and in the almost transparent, subtle and deliberately ambiguous brushwork. Water as a soft zone, a symbolic fold, a form that stirs up other things and returns to itself, the same and different at the same time, a baroque ornament or a memory of origami. Water is an uncontained material, subject to fluctuating currents, like memory. Water is capable of creating in¬filtrations and forgetting, glazing, vapor, fog. Water filters, separating out the important things from the flowing images of history and the world. Water eddies, suggesting disappearances and apparitions, swallowing up the world and spitting it out, in a constant exchange of offerings. Water is the suspension of boundaries, the passage between two worlds. Water contains all the colors, but in our imagination is mostly blue, an iconic range of tones in the history of art – from Turkey to Klein, from China to Cézanne and Matisse. Water is the unconscious, the imagination and the lap of a great mother figure.

Andreani’s work is based on study of historical images. The paintings in this show are from the period when Ste¬fan Zweig sought refuge from the Nazis in Brazil. The palette of blues and grays reinforces the symbolic and psy¬chological atmosphere that has marked the career of the artist, who combines portraits of real individuals with a fictional world. The idea of an apparition—an image exiled from his world and unstable to the eye—is very strong.

Azar presents a series of watercolors and three-dimensional works that play in some way with construction and geometric forms. The notion of exchange and fluctuation of form is always present, as well as that of a virtual and elliptical drawing, which draws on the weight and nature of the materials and creates planes from real and symbolic folds. The grand table mounted for the exhibition is redolent of Lygia Clark and enters into dialogue with the memory of modern architecture, which is so important and ambivalent in Latin America.

Varela is in some way the meeting point of these many waters. The first gushing delta of our currents, the artist’s most recent pieces have strengthened the symbiosis of drawing and painting that haunts and drives his work. The blue monochrome provides more visibility for the references that transform these landscapes into a mosaic, made of elements from very different times and places: sea creatures from 16th century nautical charts appear alongside a contemporary image.

These three artists chart their own courses, but the visual dialogue we seek to create here creates bridges be¬tween them. The works drift deliciously into one another to produce not a shipwreck but a voyage of discovery. Everything flows like a river. And it is in this Babel of different times, cultures and geographies that this exhibition bathes.