At the age of 19 Santídio had his first exhibition at Galeria Estaç?o curated by Rodrigo Naves. This introduction to the public of a very inventive young artist was a complete success. Today at 26, his rise as one of the most promising artists in the contemporary art scene is a source of pride and joy for him and for us, who follow him each step of the way. His trajectory was fast: a residency and exhibition in New York, a group show in Paris and Shanghai with the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, a solo show at Fundação Iberê Camargo, works in the Pinacoteca do Estado and Cisneros collections and in numerous private collections.
Aware of his mission as an artist and a person increasingly seen and heard, Santidio remains grounded, always deepening his knowledge of modern and contemporary art, using this knowledge to advance his work.
His favorite subject is the diversity of the Brazilian natural landscape: birds, hills and plants. These reveal his insightful eye. He defends the preservation of nature which he considers, as well as culture of vital importance to society.
Working with Santidio helps me grow. Watching him mature as an artist and a person of the world takes me to a place of inner satisfaction.
Our dearest Tiago Mesquita will curate this exhibition. The choice was mine and Santidio's.
Santídio Pereira: Botany
In order to promote the idea of ??objectivity, European scientific institutes, since the 18th century created strict rules for the representation of botanical species. Such conventions were proposed based on the use of the naturalists' drawings, but were also marked by the heritage of other artistic forms. In order to meet the utilitarian requirements, rhetorical and stylistic devices were incorporated to simulate a certain impersonality, neutrality and discretion in the work. Although they were unable to expunge the fascination with what was figurative from their drawings, watercolors and engravings, the artists resorted to devices that emphasized formal and spatial uniformity. Such homogeneity allowed for the strict allocation of each represented specimen within a taxonomic frame of reference.
Therefore in the drawings, the plants were distributed even when sinuous in the center of the paper, on a vertical axis with the stem below the flowers and foliage on top emulating the progressive ascent of the flora. The species appeared as if suspended but blooming. The weight and its implantation on the ground were removed from them. Isolated like museum pieces in a dome they lay hanging and erect yet fresh as if frozen at the height of their life cycle.
The layout was so detailed that it allowed us to visualize the delicate veins of the leaves and the changes in the texture of the flowers and branches. This way of representation, by serving the most ideological of ideologies, the one that aspires to neutrality, was intended to be almost a non-style. Despite its illusions, this way of creating became a typical way to represent vegetables, escaping from the most common functions and influencing, consciously or not, it matters little, other artistic practices. We will talk later about the different meanings the relationship between the figure and space can have.
Santídio Pereira now brings some of his greatest woodcuts to Galeria Estação. The works are new. In them, we see the representation of clovers, flowers and bromeliads. In relation to what he produced previously, the artist changed his relationship with technique and colors. Color is more varied, contrasted and vivid. There are at least two palettes in the prints: one brighter and the other more shaded. The artist prints these colors on cutout matrices with different formats. The final prints are often the composition, by fitting, of one or more matrices in a modular game of plated shapes.
By intent and in his formal repertoire, these works seem opposed to the scientific aspirations of the naturalists’ positivism of the past. Often, Santídio says that his search for shapes and colors in nature is driven by affection. More than once I heard him talk about the encounter with plants, landscapes and animals as the search for nostalgic joy, the longing for a life closer to nature and a feeling of rapture. Therefore, it is not a question of reconstructing the object, but of almost alluding to a sensation or an experience if that is possible.
His spatial scheme however, allows us to bring the woodcuts closer to the scientific figuration of another time. Who knows why the artist uses a much related spatial scheme? Like naturalists, Santídio also isolates the species he works with. He somehow centralizes them subtracting weight and soil from them.
The figures always appear in bloom: vigorous, healthy and hovering without settling on the ground. They are colored shapes nested within each other suggesting colors that open towards us.
For the naturalists of the past however, the relationship of the figure to space was part of a method. The procedure made it possible to isolate a subject of study, identify its structure, separate its parts and understand its internal articulations. Therefore differing from Santidio completely, they intended to illustrate a prior understanding of the figure and find convincingly assigned characteristics. They serve as a framework of concepts understandable to researchers. It is true that when we compare the drawings made by one artist or another, much more is revealed, however, the intention was for an intelligible and schematic description. In other words, the drawings were intended to be part of an explanation. Santídio Pereira goes in the opposite direction.
Although he also isolates the figure without reference to landscape, ground or contact with anything, the reason for the separation is totally different. It is not a matter of establishing the absolute identity between concept and object of study. On the contrary, it is finding in the flower, the flower that is no longer there.
The engraver works with distinctly different forms for his subject. The colors are not what we see in nature. Santídio shows the change of position of the integral forms from subtle tonal games. The forms accept the flat, planar aspect of the engraving. Simpler figures break away from their reference point and can be anything else including just themselves.
They are integral forms that do not overlap each other. Strength is given by the juxtaposition between colors and prints: sometimes complementary, sometimes contrasting. Such a game reminds us of floral ornamental patterns from modernity but also from several other traditions. Therefore, nothing could be further from any aspiration to naturalistic illusionism.
Thus, what interests Santídio when isolating the figure is not to reinforce the representation as an example, but perhaps to treat it with the lightness of ornamentation. Ornamentation is a foundational theme in the study of art history. According to the Austrian historian Alöis Riegl, this way of occupying space would be one of the moments in which artistic production freed itself from creating figurative models that imitate nature. When thinking about a decorative occupation of space, the relationship of shapes with the background has changed. A lighter design was possible marked by a musical rhythm far from the environment we live in.
Such formal treatment is not descriptive. Thus, it does not reconstruct memory or recreate a possible experience. On the contrary, it doesn't even touch the ground. It suggests a light rhythm, without brutality and increasingly distant from contemporary life. It creates a fantasy place which does not correspond to anything that actually exists. It is there printed on paper, like a promise, like a mirage.
Santídio Pereira – Botany
March 31 – April 30, 2022
Opening March 31, from 2pm to 7pm
Guided visit with the artist at 4pm
Santídio Pereira has been represented by Galeria Estação since the beginning of his early career at the age of 19. For this exhibition he brings 21 single-run woodcuts conceived in 2022 in large and medium formats. After his first and second solo shows (2016 curated by Rodrigo Naves, and 2018 curated by Luisa Duarte), in this third show at the gallery, his particular botany stands up through the gaze of critic Tiago Mesquita. During this period, Santídio, now 26 years old, among other achievements did a residency and exhibition in New York, a group show in Paris and Shanghai promoted by the Cartier Foundation, a solo show still on view at the Iberê Foundation, in Porto Alegre. His works have reached important collections, such as the Pinacoteca de São Paulo and the Cisneros Collection.
Interested in the diversity of the Brazilian natural landscape (his series depicting flowers, birds and mountains are well known) the artist brings together in this exhibition some of his greatest woodcuts in which can be seen the figuration of clovers, flowers, and bromeliads. “As for what he produced before, Santídio changed his relationship with technique and colors. The color is more varied, contrasted, vivid”, says Mesquita. According to the curator, there are at least two palettes in the prints: one brighter, the other more shaded, colors printed in cut matrices, with different formats. “The final prints are, many times, the composition by fitting of one or more matrices in a modular game of flat shapes”, he explains.
In his text about the exhibition Mesquita draws a parallel between the objectivity of the design made by European scientific institutes from the 18th century onwards and the contemporary way in which Santídio's art expresses itself in the face of nature. According to the curator, these works seem to be opposed to the scientific aspirations of the positivism of the naturalists of the past. “More than once, I heard him talk about the encounter with plants, landscapes and animals as the search for nostalgic joy, the longing for a life closer to nature, a feeling of rapture. Therefore, it is not a question of reconstructing the object, but of almost alluding to a sensation, an experience, if that is possible.” Nevertheless, its spatial scheme allows us to bring the woodcuts closer to the scientific figuration of another era. “Like naturalists, Santídio also isolates the species he works with, somehow centralizes them, subtracting weight and soil from them,” he adds.
Santídio Pereira (Curral Comprido – Piauí, 1996. Works and lives in São Paulo since the age of 8)
In addition to the achievements already mentioned, in 2016 Santídio was part of the exhibition of the 10 selected for the 5th EDP nas Artes Award, from Instituto Tomie Ohtake, when he was invited to teach courses on woodcuts in the edition’s program. In 2017, he participated in the opening program of Sesc 24 de Maio, presenting to the public his creative process in large-format woodcuts. He was selected to participate in the 1st Exhibition Program at Centro Cultural São Paulo in 2018, where he also taught a course on his practice. As of 2019, he has a presence abroad.
The young artist Santídio Pereira was born in Curral Comprido, a small village located in the state of Piauí, northeast of Brazil. He migrated to São Paulo as a child and soon joined Instituto Acaia, a private, non-profit NGO that assists children and adolescents living near Ceagesp, where he also worked. It was at the age of eight, through the workshops at Ateliescola Acaia that Santídio began his artistic practice. And it is precisely the images of the memories preserved since his childhood, both from his homeland and from later experiences, that today comprise the guiding bias in Santídio Pereira's work. The woodcut served the first interests of the artist, who developed his own working procedures, such as what he calls “incision, cut and fitting”, that is, the composition through the combination of several cut matrices, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. In addition to providing a game of colors through the accumulation and juxtaposition of ink, this technique allows subverting the multiplicity function so characteristic of engraving. Over time, the materiality of the inks worked on the paper became the protagonist of Santídio's investigation and to this day it guides his artistic production.
Experimentation in the study of colors has become an important vector to express his memories, feelings and senses, which are also inherent to the culture and popular practices of the places where he has been. The artist felt the need to increase the surface of color appreciation by increasing the scale of his works. There are two series of woodcuts representing Santídio: “Birds” (2018) and “Bromeliads” (2019). The affective memory led the artist to invest in an iconographic research on the birds of the Caatinga of Piauí. In addition to trying to understand popular knowledge and the relationship of people with these animals, Santídio went to study biology and mythology. Later, from the Kaaysá artistic residency held in Boiçucanga, on the coast of São Paulo, the series of bromeliads emerged. In the same way that it inspired Roberto Burle Marx, this typically Brazilian tropical plant was also a major object of investigation by Santídio, who invested in traveling around the country for the exercise of observation, in addition to scientific study. In both series the sensitive body of popular knowledge was associated with a meticulous study of colors, which normally emerge from the visual memory and sensations that the artist preserves from life experiences. For him, recognizing the relevance of popular knowledge is as important as understanding the importance of nature in Brazil, especially in these days.
Since the beginning of the artist's career research with engraving has been opening doors to other techniques and supports, always attracting materiality and its representativeness in the visual arts. The series of paintings “Morros” / Hills (2021) emerged with the feeling of freedom when faced with the visuality of the natural landscape of Santo Antônio do Pinhal, Serra da Bocaina and Cantareira, all in the state of São Paulo, and how it rescues reminiscences of colors, images and sensations. Using offset ink, the same used in the production of woodcuts, Santídio also starts from the principle of “incision, cut and fitting” to create compositions in painting on Hahnemühle paper, translating sensations through color shades and juxtapositions. Lately, Santídio has been researching and developing works in Watercolor, Offset ink, Woodcut and Monotype.
Exhibition: Santídio Pereira – Botany
Opening: March 31 from 2pm to 7pm – guided tour with the artist at 4pm
Visitation until April 30, 2022
Mondays to Fridays, 11am to 7pm,
Saturdays 11am to 3pm
Rua Ferreira de Araújo, 625 – Pinheiros SP
Pool de Comunicação – Marcy Junqueira / Martim Pelisson
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