Natural movement and gesture

The Cartesian plane was an invention of 17th Century philosophy that, besides allowing men to locate points within a flat space with greater precision, was fundamental to the formation of modern thought. The coordinates X (horizontal) and Y (vertical), respectively the abscissa and the ordinate, are also important for the understanding of cartography and physical geography, as well as for the control of both terrestrial and maritime space.

The departing point of Ana Sario’s painting is the horizontal and vertical coordinates, but with no trace of Cartesian stiffness. The visual structure, which Mondrian has reduced to the essence, the basic guiding principles of space directions, remains in the artist’s brushstrokes, but geometry is broken by a slow and singular gesture. Each one of the brush’s hairs remains apparent in the thick labor that tends to high relieve. As if the rhythm of the painting were analogous to small sea waves, in a continuous ebbing flow. Rationality and precision are broken by a natural and irregular movement.

The whole exhibition ends up dealing with the changes in the landscape from horizontal and vertical displacements, which is directly related to high and low tides. The relation with the movement of the sea is actually elaborated in a kind of graphic representation/painting that could be located between figuration and abstraction. The gravitational interference of the sun and the moon produce forces of attraction that directly interfere in the perspective we have of the earth.

One of the largest paintings in the exhibition, a triptych of a vast extension of maritime territory, reveals that the movements of the sea are mixed with the artist’s gestures. But instead of chaos, as we find in Turner’s paintings, here we have stillness. Since there is no horizon line, space seems immeasurable, dissolving the limits between land and ocean, as well as the notion of scale. In the era of digital photography, it’s relevant that images produced by analogical photographic cameras become not only reference for many of the paintings, but also that their vestiges, margins, borders and juxtapositions are strikingly present. Here there is an attempt to suspend immediatism, the speedy time of digital photography that rarely is able to leave the computer screen. An inner temporality, characteristic of handmade painting produced by layers, is revisited in these works.

Neither there is in Ana Sario’s production a super valorization of the image or of a photographic painting. Photography is a tool like any other. And even when the theme seems to be the photographic device, as in the small paintings of Polaroid blow-ups, it’s only an allusion to the technique; so much so that we can’t find in them figures painted in the correspondent place of the image, but only a shape that remits us to photography. The vertical and horizontal movements that compose the canvas seem to be more fundamental than anything else. For this reason they at the same time form and erase the would-be field of representation, the place of the portrait.

The fluctuations and oscillations of sea levels, and so the increasing and decreasing movements generated by high and low tides, are brought to a three-dimensional space in an installation displaying a real boat. In it silence, emptiness and a kind of postponing of the hours reign. Due to a quite sophisticated electronic mechanism that holds motor, cables and sheaves, the small vessel is hoisted and lowered in an almost imperceptible rhythm, rigorously obeying the height of tide levels in the port of São Sebastião. The reference is the Tide Table released by the Navy, the forecast for the periodical movement that rises and lowers seawaters, twice a day, in relation to a fixed point. As we know, this variation is due to the phases of the moon, to the movement of the earth in relation to the sun, to time and the coordinates of placement in space.

Despite the necessary equipment for the proper functioning of the piece, the work is not dealing with a mechanized and purely quantitative time. On the contrary, the main issue here is the recovery of its natural flow and cyclical quality. In this work, as in the whole exhibition, Ana Sario produces an effect contrary to automatism. For those used to the mechanized rhythm of the city, it’s like as if time no longer streamed, as if it was stretched to the limits of all possibilities. Here everything happens as if we lived in a kind of provisory eternity.

Cauê Alves


Opening: Wednesday, Octuber 10 at 08:00 p.m.
Dates: Octuber 11, 2012 – November 08, 2012

Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturdays and Holidays: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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