The world is not what I think, but what I live through.
Which way should I tell this story? Talking about the formal questions inherent in works of visual arts and the desire that propelled me to produce this series? Or about the ramifications and transitions along this path?
Calçadas (Sidewalks) was born from an irresistible attraction to fifteen richly textured concrete slabs, located right in the middle of Brasilia’s Eixo Monumental (Monumental Axis). This pictorial stain, resulting most probably from elements of time and chance, is found next to a traffic light… and it was there, from inside my car, that I noticed the configuration.
I created my first piece at the end of 2014. I chose the frotagge technique, hoping to capture, in a direct and intimate way, the lines and textures of that flat and barely transited sidewalk. Since then, more than 40 works were produced, all of them elaborated under an open sky and documented photographically. Outside of the studio and subject to intemperate weather, earth and rain superimpose themselves onto the papers and art materials that I went experimenting with during the process, and onto other not so usual materials like brooms, squeegees and floor rags. The construction of the pieces was inspired by formal issues, an interest that continued throughout the entire series, and a gradual sense of belonging.
Through each investment, new perceptions and insights arrive. The absence of pedestrians denounce the Brasilia we all know, a city full of wide avenues and narrow sidewalks, where its citizens are denied their own “place”. The use of photography contextualizes the symbolism of the space. There we were, the sidewalk and me, smack in the political heart of Brazil, creating a vortex between the National Congress and the National Museum of the Republic.
I feel completely at ease, although exposed and dirty, all covered in pigments and graphite. I work in an intuitive and focused manner, despite the cars passing by and the curious and inquisitive looks I get. I notice the performatic potential of this act, which leads to another type of Brasilia, less official and more human. I am grateful to those people who worked hard to build this city and its utopia. The memories I have of the Escola Parque (Park School), a place that is artistically stimulating, provoke a desire to map out affective territories. I do this armed with a camera. I register, with this new act, abandoned spaces and I reconstruct my own history.
Regina Pessoa, June of 2016
Where do ideas reside?
It’s curious how during our natural and everyday lives we stumble upon items scattered out in the world, things that grab our attention in a unique way. These encounters stimulate some kind of sense of belonging, as if the world contained disperse codes or clues that we might be able to put together, discovering a bit more about ourselves and about our world.
What is the history of humanity if not a history based on the encounters between something belonging to the subject and something put in the world, and even on the attempts to translate the emotions and ideas behind these encounters? That is precisely what the Regina Pessoa work, Calçadas (Sidewalks), deals with. One of these rare events.
The artist finds some of the themes for her research in the raw material of a cemented path, a type of sidewalk located very near the this Museum, on which she worked with frottage, a technique of direct friction that traces the texture of a surface, transferring it to a stand. Here at this exhibition, we see how Regina manages to recognize the specific values of things in the space around her, gathering them based on an inkling they might make sense if explained within her work.
This attitude shows us types of potential dispersed throughout the world, meeting points between intention, intuition and chance from which certain issues may be extracted, or even, from which some issues will be able to come to our encounter. The artist thus occupies herself with the compulsive task of trying to capture, for herself, through frottage, that something that exists, for example, in the simplicity of a sidewalk. Well, isn’t that exactly what we do with our world, all the time?
Perhaps language and all human activity are more or less that, attempts at frottage with the world, to capture what initially moves us and to reproduce something intimate from our own particular relationship with the world.
The most beautiful aspect of an artist’s work is the impulse that is awakened within us, making us want to understand and follow the artist’s thinking, to know what belongs to them and moves them, outwards and inwards, as they attempt to understand themselves as a unique creature.
Regina Pessoa guides her work by seeking out meanings for things within the things themselves in order to find the value of a work of art, reminding us that it is upon the ground that we erect our lives and it is fair that from it some expression might emerge.
Ralph Gehre e Renato Lins,
June of 2016