Cristina Canale and José Antonio da Silva
The Dream Dialogue!
The idea was for Cristina to choose an artist from Galeria Estação's collection to have a conversation. This would be similar to other artist conversations we have had with great success! It was to my surprise that Cristina’s choice went to my dearest painter José Antonio da Silva.
Many know of the story I told of a work of Silva’s that captured my first interest in art in the 1970's. It was ravishing! Without knowing who he was, the painting enchanted me. I took this as a sign: my gaze would be on the art of the non-erudite. And I moved on with my life.
Cristina didn't know this story and that is how we connected. On the other hand, her work has always impacted me. Like Silva's it is lively, colorful and it brings strength to life. She is now living in Berlin, Germany. I believe she sees in Silva the strength and joy of a Brazil that is revealed through colors.
I am immensely grateful to Galeria Nara Roesler, who represents Cristina, for understanding the importance of this dream dialogue. It shows that there are no barriers in art.
“„It's fun to be a painter
It's nice to know how to paint
It's nice to accept the pain
It's nice to know how to handle it"
— Jose Antonio da Silva
José Antonio da Silva was a real painter. He was one of those with a vocation and a restless hand wanting to create. A compulsive person who was also egocentric and delusional. To dialogue with a personality of this caliber, even if he is no longer with us, means getting in touch with the origin of the creative force that is within us. In a way, it is to question the boundaries created between “erudite art” and “non-erudite art”. To dialogue with another artist is a way of mirroring and rediscovering forgotten or hidden corners of the creative process itself.
My dialogue with Da Silva started with his train series. The landscape formed by a succession of stripes with many abstract components, in which from the background, the figure of a train emerges to meet the observer. They are nostalgic, smoky trains. They are phallic trains that pierce the landscape diagonally. The dynamics of this contrast of movements fascinated me. From there I created a series of small works, using resources that have been part of my most recent experiments, in which I use industrially printed fabrics in contrast to the pictorial gesture.
The systematic repetition of forms in the representation of the landscape reminded me of the notion of “Parallelismus” by the Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918), who saw nature organized in symmetrical patterns. Unlike Hodler, however, Da Silva's work leans more towards a tension between order and chaos with its jagged stripes, steaming trains, and the tortuous, rhythmic dotting of his cotton wool.
Da Silva’s universe is inspiring: landscapes with an infinite background. The dry tree with few fruits, paths, trails, gates, houses, the constant motif of his “cordillera clouds” or even the red dots, sometimes fruits, sometimes lights, sometimes well I don't know what, indicating a path, a direction for the gaze. In short, his painting seeks abstraction, but also has the luxury of having prosaic moments of humor and everyday references.
In my dialogue with his works, in addition to referring to some very specific ones, I was also inspired by his theme. I thus discovered our meeting points, our pictorial convergences and probable identifications with some of the same protagonists in the history of art. And somehow, he seemed to be responding to my “dialogue” as I went deeper into his work and exuberant personality.
Of course, I couldn't cover all facets of his painting. They are multiple! I let myself be led by my own intuition, by my pictorial interests, by the desire to unfold something that also related to my elaborations. I traced an itinerary within his work from my point of view and, in a way, also from his. It is, therefore, a “curatorship of artists”, of what results from a dialogue that explores issues so specific to the craft: painting.
Berlin, September 2022
Cristina Canale and José Antônio da Silva – Two poetics
Opening: November 17, 6pm to 9pm – until March 4, 2023
When Vilma Eid invited Cristina Canale, as she has done with some contemporary artists to dialogue with one of the names in the Galeria Estação collection, the painter immediately chose José Antônio da Silva, precisely the artist who inspired Vilma to form one of the most important collections of Brazilian non-scholar art.
This exhibition, which establishes conversations between the two artists, brings together thirteen paintings by José Antônio da Silva and eight by Cristina Canale, specially produced for the show. According to Canale, dialoguing with José Antônio da Silva means getting in touch with the origin of our creative force and, in a way, questioning the boundaries created between “scholar” and “non-scholar” art. “Dialogue with another artist is a way of mirroring and rediscovering eventually forgotten or hidden corners of the creative process itself”, she emphasizes.
The São Paulo artist's train series was the starting point for the painter to produce her canvases. José Antônio da Silva's trains are landscapes formed by a succession of stripes, with many abstract components, in which, from the background, appears the figure of a train coming to meet the observer. “They are nostalgic, smoky trains, they are phallic trains that pierce the landscape diagonally, and the dynamics of this contrast of movements fascinated me; from there I elaborated a series of small works, using resources that have been part of my most recent experiments, in which I use industrially printed fabrics in contrast to the pictorial gesture”, adds Canale.
The artist from Rio de Janeiro who lives in Berlin points out that the systematic repetition of forms in the representation of the landscape referred her to the notion of “Parallelismus” by the Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918), who saw nature organized in symmetrical patterns. “Unlike Hodler, however, the work of José Antônio da Silva leans more towards a tension between order and chaos, with its irregular stripes, steaming trains and the tortuous and rhythmic dots of his cotton plants”, she ponders.
Canale observes how inspiring the painter’s universe is: landscapes with an infinite background, the dry tree with few fruits, paths, trails, gates, houses, the constant motif of his “cordillera-clouds”, the red dots, sometimes fruits, sometimes lights, indicating a path, a direction for the look. “In short, his painting seeks abstraction, but he also has the luxury of having prosaic moments of humor and references to everyday life.”
In addition to referring to some very specific paintings, Canale was also inspired by the themes of José Antônio da Silva. According to the painter, along this path she discovered the meeting points, the pictorial convergences and probable identifications with some of the same protagonists in the history of art. “I traced an itinerary within his work from my point of view and, in a way, also from his. It is, therefore, a'“curatorship of artists', of what results from a dialogue that explores issues so specific to the craft: painting”, completes Canale.
Painter, writer, sculptor and artist, José Antônio da Silva (Sales de Oliveira, SP, 1909 - São Paulo, SP, 1996) was one of the first self-taught artists to stand out in the national and international art circuit. In 1946, he drew the attention of critics such as Lourival Gomes da Silva, during which time Pietro Mari Bardi acquired his works for the Masp collection. He participated in several editions of the São Paulo International Biennial and was awarded a special room at the 33rd Venice Biennale. The artist, in addition to numerous individual and collective shows, recorded LPs and published books, including Maria Clara, with a preface by Antonio Candido.
Cristina Canale (Rio de Janeiro, 1961), from the so-called 80s generation known for the resumption of painting, participated in the 21st São Paulo Biennial, in which she received the Governor do Estado Award, the 6th Curitiba Biennial, 8th Beijing Biennial, in addition to individual and group events in Brazil, Germany, Italy and in the United States. Her work, usually based on prosaic scenes of everyday life, is present in important collections, including MAC-USP, Pinacoteca de São Paulo, MAM – Rio, and MAR (RJ). Canale is represented by Galeria Nara Roesler.
Exhibition: Cristina Canale and José Antônio da Silva – Two poetics
Opening: November 17, from 6pm to 9pm
Visitation until March 04, 2023
Mondays to Fridays, from 11 am to 7 pm
Saturdays from 11 am to 3 pm - free admission
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