Two years ago, in December 2016, the young Santidio opened his first exhibition at Galeria Estação, curated by Rodrigo Naves.
He was twenty years old and following in the footsteps of his teacher, the woodcutter Fabrício Lopes, coordinator of the Ateliê de Artes at Instituto Acaia, a non-profit educational institution in the city of São Paulo where Santidio was trained. This first moment showed us that an artist was born there and that his next steps should be followed with attention.
The show was a selling success, from the public and from the media.
Dedicated, serious and focused, Santidio interacts naturally in the so-called cultural world, which leads us to think that he was born an artist. He constantly takes new courses, shows interest in other areas, including cinema. He has a world of opportunities ahead of him. His youth, a point to his favor, does not intimidate him. He participates in collective exhibitions, enters public bids, and searches the trail of experience that will lead to success.
Recently, he was selected by a jury of curators of recognized excellence for an exhibition at Centro Cultural São Paulo, where he was the star. By 2019 he has already secured a residence followed by an exhibition in New York.
For this show an unprecedented fact has happened at Galeria Estação. Our friends from the law firm Gusmão & Labrunie, who are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, contacted us. They asked us if they could sponsor one of our exhibitions of 2018.
When they came upon Santidio’s work and found out about his history, they had no doubt it was exactly what they intended. To encourage a beginning career that already showed the force of continuity.
To our friends, thank you. To Santídio I wish you to continue with all the strength that your talent and your youth allow.
Santídio Pereira | A Look of Memory Curated by Luisa Duarte Opening: August 23 at 7:00 p.m. Visitation until September 22, 2018 Monday to Friday, from 11am to 7pm, Saturdays from 11am to 3pm - free admission.
A look of memory
The story is about a bird, and it happens in a time before the world existed.
Birds flew in circles in the sky. Circles. Circles. And they did not stop flying
because there was no land, only the sky, and they did not stop flying. Until one of the
birds’ father died. And that became a big problem – what should be done with the
body? Thus, before the world existed, there was no earth, only the sky. And the
birds thought about what they would do while they were flying. In circles. And they
flew for days until the bird finally had an idea. He decided to bury his father in the
back of his head. This was the beginning of memory.
In a conversation with Santidio Pereira, during the process of realizing the present exhibition, I heard the artist affirm that he noticed a clear difference between seeing and looking. To see, I translate here with my words, would be related to a hurried look, characteristic of a contemporary rhythm marked by distracted attention, while looking would be what his engravings demand, that is, a look capable of lingering in the same object, patiently. Following Santidio, it would be possible to find something new in each of his works even after years and years of coexistence. Therefore, they would be bound to the regime of looking rather than seeing.
It is interesting to note how we are dealing with a two-way equation. On the one hand, the artist’s sensitivity to a way of perceiving the world that witnesses a clear depauperization: our perceptive apparatus is atrophied in the face of a time when the quantity of stimuli grows exponentially. On the other hand, what Santidio signals is that, in some way, an antidote to this empire of seeing would be placed in his work. His woodcuts demand of each one of us a gesture of silence, an enduring patience of the gaze.
The set of works collected in The look of memory presents, for the most part, images of the birds of Piauí’s caatinga, a region where the artist lived until he was 8 years old. They are large-scale prints, in which overlays of colors and shapes give us to see caburés, garrinchas, lambus, juritis – different species of birds that populate his native land. In the midst of this fauna, other engravings, of less figurative character, allude, subtly, to plants of the local landscape.
In this set the birds are, at the same time, protagonists and coadjuvants. They appear imposing, dominating the scene, but for a second look, they are receptacles of a world camouflaged in their lines. Traces of countless other beings of the fauna and the flora reveal, little by little, in each engraving. It takes time for this universe, implicated there, to unfold.
Santidio knows that the choice for large-scale works cooperates so that we devote a glimpse of overflight, which he thinks has captured the whole scene in a quick view. The succession of layers present in each engraving, the different tones, the innumerable figures that only insinuate themselves, giving us to see the work always and every time in a new perspective – it is precisely this complex internal architecture that demands of us a prolonged attention and, thus, a predominance of looking over seeing.
The interweaving between a patient gaze and the fine cultivation of memory seems to be crucial for understanding the potency in the production of this young artist. Santidio introduces a kind of apprehension of the world that is rare in our time. We know that the difference between looking and seeing, of which the artist speaks to us, is not recent, but rather has been put into the studies of perception for a long time. To move back only a little more than a century, at the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth, the change in the physiognomy of city life, marked by numerous visual stimuli, formed, then, a perceptive apparatus able to protect itself from visual shocks. This permanent state of alert, which we take with us to this day each time we have taken the streets of a metropolis, has left us with several side effects, including a deficit in our ability to preserve memories. That is, while our eyes are atrophied, our memory also fades.
This is a dynamic that seems to increase without any prospect of reversal. Quite the opposite. To some extent we are visual illiterates, bearers of distracted attention, in a world in which the images have gained unprecedented strength. The diagnosis of the Czech theoretician, Villem Flusser, of whom we are “deaf to the eye” is not far from the conclusion of the German sociologist Georg Simmel, at the beginning of the last century, for whom the “metropolitan type of man develops an organ that protects him from the chains and threatening discrepancies in their external setting.”1 Little by little we have come to develop a kind of perception that we may call “restrictive.”
Now, the dawn of the new millennium witnesses an even more advanced picture in this shattering of the sense of vision. This age that acts against the eye, despite giving itself, above all, to the eye, is ours. An age that makes the incessant praise of the acceleration, of the vigil, and is the enemy of the idleness, of the contemplation, of the sleep, of the dream, of the imagination, and is thus disenchanted. A world without past, therefore without memory.
It does not seem difficult for me to understand how Santidio’s work walks in the opposite direction of this diagnosis. His works demand a dilated look and are carried out having as engine precisely the mnemonic registers, so rarefied in the present. The engraving itself, a millennial method of reproduction, brings with it this other time, very far from the one that prevails, typical of the digital images reverberated by the millions in each cell phone. And there is still here the imagination. The artist does not make a faithful document of what he remembers, obviously. We are faced with very singular transfigurations of a lived landscape.
Santidio’s gray birds, for example, are rather the result of an intention of the artist to erase the referent than a faithful copy of some species existing in Isaias Coelho, in Piauí. The colors take us still, to different affective shades. In one of the engravings we see a red cowled cardinal mixed in the gray and burgundy colors, on a piece of trunk. The bird seems to squirm, looking down. The head is taken by the black, color leaving only a suspicious eye that sidelines us. In another, an orange bird, haughty, perched on what appears to be a chair, looks at us frontally and assertively. These gradations, which pass from the coldest to the warmest, from the crepuscular to the solar, from the aloof to the proud, are all nuances that form the invisible texture of this poetics.
These inner movements of Santidio’s work evoke what was already wisely pointed out by Rodrigo Naves: “In general, the artist’s work stands out in the search for ways in which joy often changes position with drier images, in which c luminous colors are blurred by blacks. And I hope that this dualism will be able to establish itself and strengthen itself in his engravings, since it is precisely this hybrid experience – made of moments of lightness and desolation – that gives the tone of contemporary existence.”2
After two years of the writing the words above, it is possible to answer that yes, this dualism remains a fundamental part of his work. But if in this aspect the artist’s production and contemporary experience rhyme, as regards the temporality of his works, there is a dissonance, and here also lies a fundamental power. Contrary to a present marked by acceleration, numbness of the eyes and the fading of memory, the engravings of Santidio Pereira affirm the chance, at least in the sphere of art, of a slower time, in which a patient look is installed before works irrigated by the flow of memory.
1 Georg Simmel, “The metropolis and the mental life,” in The urban phenomenon, Guanabara, 1987, pp. 12-13.
2 Rodrigo Naves, “Colors in black and white”, catalog of the exhibition Santidio Pereira, Galeria Estação, 2016.
Santídio Pereira - A look of memory
Opening: August 23 at 7:00 pm (Thursday) - September 22, 2018
After performing in 2016, the first individual Santídio Pereira (Piauí, 1996), Galeria Estaçãobrings a new exhibition of the artist who, at 9 years already played to draw and paint on the wooden walls of the poor house she shared with mother in Favela do 9, in the region of Ceasa. The young man, who caught the attention of the critic Rodrigo Naves, curator of his debut show, started in the woodcutting at the age of 14, under the guidance of Fabrício Lopez and Flávio Castellan, while attending the Acaia Institute.
Now, under the curatorship of Luisa Duarte, in A Look of Memory, the artist exhibits 14 unpublished woodblock prints, produced between 2017 and 2018. As Duarte points out, the set of works assembled presents, for the most part, images of Piauí caatinga birds, region where the artist lived until he was 8 years old. "They are large-scale impressions, in which color overlays and shapes give us to see caburés, garrinchas, lambus, juritis - different species of birds that populate his native land. In the midst of this fauna, other engravings, of less figurative character, subtly allude to plants of the local landscape. "
In addition to accessing memory, the work of Santídio suggests to the observer's eyes an extended time for the various layers to reveal themselves. The artist often highlights the difference between seeing and looking. The sight he evokes goes against seeing, a condition of speed imposed on the contemporary world, exalted by the Czech theoretician Villem Flusser with the phrase "we are deaf optically" (cited by Duarte in her text on the display). "His works [of Santídio] ask for a dilated look and are carried out with just the mnemonic registers, so rarefied in the present," says the curator, who also points out how the engraving itself, an ancient method of reproduction, brings with it this another time, a far cry from this one, typical of the digital images reverberated by millions in each cell phone. "And there is still the imagination here. The artist does not make a faithful document of what he remembers, obviously. We are facing very unique transfigurations of a lived landscape ", completes the curator.
Santídio Pereira (born in Curral Comprido - Piauí state in 1996, lives and works in São Paulo since the age of 8) from his first individual at Galeria Estação, has been participating in collectives. He was part of the exhibition of the 10 selected from the 5th EDP in the Arts, at the Tomie Ohtake Institute, in 2016, when he was invited to teach courses on woodcut in the edition programming. Last year he participated in the opening program of Sesc 24 de Maio, presenting the public with his creative process in woodcuts of large formats. Recently, he was selected and participates in the 1st Show of the Program of Exhibitions 2018 of the São Paulo Cultural Center, where he also gave a course on his practice. Next year, in 2019, it is already guaranteed a residence followed by an exhibition in New York City.
Santídio Pereira - A look of memory
Opening: August 23 at 7:00 p.m.
Visitation until September 22, 2018
From Monday to Friday, from 11am to 7pm, Saturdays from 11am to 3pm - free admission.