We often say that time flies.
Coping with the pandemic for the last 2 years when the gallery was opened and then closed, time seemed to fly even faster.
Germana's last exhibition was in 2017. It seemed like just yesterday.
Artists took advantage of this period of isolation to create. Germana also used the time well. The result is this exhibition curated by Camila Bechelany.
Reviewing the beautiful publication of Da cabra, launched in 2013, with texts by several critics, I see how Germana maintains the same forms of organic and curvilinear lines.
She introduces color, felt and double canvases, keeping the same signature that immediately leads us to recognize her work.
I will leave the analysis of the works to Camila. I am pleased to present her second exhibition at Galeria Estação.
From the Infinity of the Line and the (Im)Perfection of the Stones
Recent Paintings by Germana Monte-Mór
By Camila Bechelany
In the Sertão, stone does not know how to teach and if it did teach, it would not teach anything; there you do not learn the stone: there the stone, a birthstone, ingrains the soul. (João Cabral de Melo Neto)
Life, I have argued, is not confined within points but proceeds along lines. (Tim Ingold)
This exhibition by Germana Monte-Mór brings together a series of new works produced in the last three years. These are paintings of different dimensions characterized by the use of solid colors, juxtaposed and deriving the organic forms so characteristic of the artist's imagery. The painting plane gains depth in these works from the creation of boundaries between the forms through the application of pigments or asphalt on the fabric – a technique especially well developed by the artist – or even through incisions made on the canvas.
Germana seems to observe the world from different perspectives from the close to the more distant. In the larger paintings, the shapes resemble the paths of rivers over rough, rocky terrain or look like the details on topographical maps. In front of these paintings, it is impossible not to think about her series of photographs: Âmbar from 2008 and Pedra mole from 2010 taken in nature with open spaces and the particular presence of mineral elements. In Âmbar, she portrays stream beds covered with pebbles that, seen through the movement of water, by the phenomenon of refraction, appear to be soft and malleable.
Captured by the artist, these landscape fragments seem to be in full motion. It is difficult to identify what is solid and what is liquid. Pedra mole (Soft rock), already in the title, also suggests this illusion that hard is tender. The black and white images show barren landscapes in which large boulders appear at an approximate angle under a wide sky. In these photos, the giant volumes and their shadows form wavy spots in contrast to the light coming from above. They are between nature and sculpture, between materiality and the presence of the impalpable.
According to essayist Roger Caillois (1913-1978), “Stones possess a kind of gravitas, something ultimate and unchanging, something that will never perish or else has already done so. They attract through an intrinsic, infallible, immediate beauty, answerable to no one, necessarily perfect yet excluding the idea of perfection in order to exclude approximation, error, and excess."1 The stones, in this sense, are like spontaneous and latent structures, timeless elements of the landscape as echoes of a much vaster, diffuse environment captured in the present at the same time. The stone is averse to the very idea of ??order and, in this sense, although not organic, it is visceral. Germana's photographs emanate this beautiful (im)perfection of the stones, while his paintings seem to rescue the lines and paths seen in their shadows.
But contrary to what one might believe, Germana's painting does not derive from images and photographs. She did it the other way around. First came engraving, drawing and painting, always marked by the search for the infinite, organic line on the surface of the paper. Then came the photographic records of natural landscapes. Since the year 2000, Germana has been developing paintings that gained three-dimensional space as they “detached” from the wall. In her installation at the Capela do Morumbi (Morumbi Chapel) in São Paulo, the paintings made with transparent damar vanish on paper were affixed, becoming a kind of skin superimposed on the building's reinforced clay walls, emphasizing their materiality as physicality.2
This experience paved the way for her search for three-dimensionality resulting in a different sculptural outcome. Some smaller-scale paintings from the set gathered here, present the results of a process of overlapping canvases and creating volume. The curvilinear shapes form delimited volume in bas-relief with openings made by incisions in the fabric. “Previously, the shapes I created were accompanied by shadows, which I made in the painting itself. Now, I use two overlapping canvases and these shadows appear in one of the layers, in a concrete way”,3 says the artist. The shapes generated by this procedure remain in the artist's formal vocabulary but the gesture of forming the cavity is more radical than before. The cut canvas results in a wall sculpture that, while delimiting the occupation of space with its “body” as a painting, still maintains the illusion of infinite expansion of space through unframed color.
In the composition of the canvases, there is always a slightly “dirty” but intense color plane and two, three or even four elements that float and stand out by approximation or distance. The artist, who since the beginning of her career has been looking for ways of tracing lines on the plane delimiting areas of color and matter, found a new way of transposing her poetics from paper to a three-dimensional space created on the surface.
The interest in materials continues to be one of the identifying features of Germana's work. Perhaps because she began her practice in printmaking, she started mastering different techniques from the beginning. Experimenting with surfaces and contact became for her a constant. This experimental practice was common to her generation of artists, which in the early 1980s was impacted by the avant-garde of the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s. It established procedures in which the gesture transcends the object. One way to bridge the gap between direct contact, touch and abstract thinking was, at that time, an attention to the subject of the work. Germana cites the artists Joseph Beuys, Eva Hesse and Mira Schendel as influences for her. These three artists took their materials to the limit of experience and left art history a legacy of deviation from the norm. The gesture began there to point to its surroundings, referring to the context as a whole.
For Vilém Flusser, the gesture is an intentionality directed towards the other. It is a form of human language. From its perspective, the gestures of art manipulate time in order to communicate. They display themselves to build meaning.4 It is in this context that Germana's works stand out for regularly presenting shapes based on open and closed organic lines; creating a graphic language when viewed together.
One of the theses of how writing came to be for humanity is that it began in ancient China through the observation of the more or less straight lines left by the footprints of birds on the sand. These strokes would have inspired some of our peers to draw marks on the earth. For anthropologist Tim Ingold: “In the place of the infinite variety of lines – and lives – with which we are presented in phenomenal experience, we are left with just two grand classes: lines that are straight and lines that are not. The first are associated with humanity and Culture, the second with animality and Nature."5 Tracing their curvilinear paths through the world, humans and non-humans create and recreate themselves in the immanence of their mutual relationships, as well as contribute with their movements to the tissue in which they are inserted.
Of the paths and lines resulting from our activities, only a small minority have the rectilinear character that a desire for "Western" thought would imply. The hegemony of straight lines is a phenomenon of modernity, not of life in general therefore, it bears something fundamentally artificial when claiming its generality. Germana's work derives from organic and curvilinear forms, but at no time does she seek to represent something that is exactly a stone or a watercourse. Perhaps here the artist's first training in Anthropology served her to constitute herself as a “participant-observer”, who knows that the relevance of fieldwork is not in looking at things (and people) in the surroundings in order to describe them, but in being with them, living with them in order to be affected by them. Germana's work thus moves us from the place of contextualization to the place of experience. Practice comes before the exposition of technique.
Her gesture is abstraction. It approaches writing. The artist's choice and intention are events that precede the action but can occur simultaneously. The intention carries part of the meaning of each work of art. This allows us to affirm that the use of the freedom of non-representation, conquered by the avant-garde and practiced by Germana, allows us to look at art not only through the bias of its traces (objects/images) but through its gestures (the body, vestige).
1 CAILLOIS, Roger. A escrita das pedras. [The Writing of Stones]. Trad. de Hygina Bruzzi. Inédito, p. 1.
2 In a 1997 text, "Quase Desenhos", the critic Sônia Salzstein had already emphasized the physicality of Germana's work. According to her: “it can be said, therefore, that the most general concern of Germana's work is to restore the body in correlation with the space it occupies, that is, on a scale and in a time regime that guarantee its imperative and punctual appearance in space”.
3 Interview conducted by Tatiane de Assis published on Sep 18, 2020. Available at <https://vejasp.abril.com.br/coluna/arte-ao-redor/germana-monte-mor-galeria-estacao/>.
4 FLUSSER, Vilém. Gestos [Gestures]. São Paulo: Annablume, 2014, p. 69.
5 INGOLD, Tim. Lines: a brief history. London: Routledge, 2007, p. 155.
GALERIA ESTAÇÃO OPENS THE EXHIBITION BY THE ARTIST GERMANA MONTE-MÓR
From October 4th to November 5th, “From the infinity of the line and the (im)perfection of stones” brings together around 25 paintings produced during the pandemic.
Galeria Estação, one of the most celebrated showcases of Brazilian art, opens on October 4th the exhibition “On the infinity of the line and the (im)perfection of stones”, which can be seen by the public until November 5th. Curated by Camila Bechelany, the show brings together around 25 paintings produced in the last three years by Germana Monte-Mór. “These are works of different dimensions characterized by solid and juxtaposed colors, deriving the organic forms that express the artist's imagery language. In them, the painting plane gains depth through the creation of borders between the forms through the application of pigments, asphalt on the fabric or even through incisions in the canvas”, says Camila, who, when approaching the work of Germana , evokes an excerpt from the poem “Educação pela pedra”, by João Cabral de Melo Neto, which says: “... there the stone / a stone of birth, enters the soul”.
According to gallery owner and art collector Vilma Eid, the artist took advantage of the period of confinement during the pandemic to produce a lot. Now, these paintings make up Germana Monte-Mór's second solo exhibition at this cultural space in Pinheiros. The first expo took place in 2017, when Vilma started to work with contemporary artists. “Germana is an experienced, talented and consecrated artist. She maintains the same forms of organic and curvilinear lines, introducing color, felt and double canvas, keeping the same signature that immediately leads us to recognize her work”, says Vilma.
Still in Camila's words, the exhibition reflects the multiple perspectives through which Germana observes the dimensions of life. “In the larger paintings, the shapes resemble river paths over rough, rocky terrain, like details on topographical maps. The artist, who has been looking since the beginning of her career, for ways of tracing lines on the plane delimiting areas of color and matter, has found a new way of transposing her poetics from paper to a three-dimensional space created on the surface”, she analyzes.
Germana continues to break new ground in her sophisticated and ingenious creative geography. “The shapes I created were accompanied by shadows, which I made in the painting itself. Now I use two overlapping canvases and these shadows appear on one of the layers in a more solid way”, she explains.
ABOUT GERMANA MONTE-MÓR
The visual artist was born in 1958 in Rio de Janeiro. She has been living in São Paulo since 1983. She is an engraver, painter and sculptor. She graduated in Social Sciences from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro – UFRJ, in Engraving at the Escolinha de Arte do Brasil and in Fine Arts at Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado-FAAP. In 2002, she completed a master's degree in Visual Poetics from the School of Communications and Arts at the University of São Paulo-ECA / USP. In 1989, she received the Ateliê II grant from Oficina Cultural Oswald de Andrade and the acquisition prize at the 1st Canson Prize, from the Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo-MAM. In 2004, she won the Vitae Arts Scholarship from Fundação Vitae. The search for new materials is a striking feature of the artist. In her career, she has participated in important group and individual exhibitions in renowned galleries and institutions, such as the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, the Paço Imperial (RJ) and the Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz, in Ribeirão Preto (SP). Her works are part of private and famous collections such as, among many, those of the National Library Foundation (RJ), the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC-USP), Itaú Cultural (SP) and the Iberê Camargo Foundation, in Porto Alegre ( RS).
ABOUT CAMILA BECHELANY
Camila Bechelany works as a researcher, critic and curator. In 2020, she curated the exhibition Lugar Comum-Mostra 3M de Arte, SP, with the commissioning of 10 works for the public space. In the same year, she was a resident of the BAR Project in Barcelona and a participant in the young curators program at ARCO Madrid in 2020. In 2019, she was the curator of the Pivô Pesquisa (SP) residency program. She was a member of the art critics group at Centro Cultural São Paulo between 2018 and 2019. She was guest curator at the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo in 2019 and assistant curator at MASP between 2016 and 2018, where she worked in histories of sexuality by the Guerrilla Girls among others. Among her independent projects are Parks and other pretexts (Mendes Wood gallery, 2019); Vivo Museum (Centro Pompidou, Paris, 2016) and the creation of the independent space La Maudite in 2013. He holds a master's degree in Cultural Anthropology from EHESS in Paris and in Arts and Public Policy from New York University (NYU).
ABOUT THE GALERIA ESTAÇÃO
With a collection among the pioneers and most important in the country, Galeria Estação was inaugurated at the end of 2004 by Vilma Eid and Roberto Eid Philipp and established itself for revealing and promoting the production of the non-erudite Brazilian art. Its performance was decisive for the inclusion of this language in the contemporary art circuit, when it edited publications and held individual and collective exhibitions under the eyes of the main curators and critics in the country. The roster, which started to occupy space in the specialized media, has also conquered the international scene by participating in the exhibitions such as “Histoire de Voir”, at the Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain (France), in 2012, and in the Bienal “Between two Seas – São Paulo | Valencia”, in Spain, in 2007 among others. Emblematic of this international performance was the individual exhibition of “Veio – Cícero Alves dos Santos”, in Venice, in parallel with the Venice Biennale, in 2013. In Brazil, in addition to individual and prestigious group shows, the gallery's artists have their works in the collections of important Brazilian collectors and institutions of great prestige and recognition, such as the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, the São Paulo Museum of Art, the Afro Brasil Museum (São Paulo), the Pavilion of Brazilian Cultures (São Paulo), Instituto Itaú Cultural (São Paulo), SESC São Paulo, MAM- Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro, and MAR, in the capital of Rio de Janeiro.
GERMANA MONTE-MÓR EXHIBITION
Curator: Camila Bechelany
When: 10/04 to 11/05
Where: Galeria Estação | Rua Ferreira Araújo, 625 – Pinheiros
Gallery opening hours:
Mondays to Fridays, from 11am to 7pm;
Saturdays, from 11am to 3pm;
Closed on Sundays
Phone: +55 (11) 3813-7253
Baobá Comunicação, Cultura e Conteúdo