Aline van Langendonck’s artistic proposals skilfully address the notions of construction and erasure. Many of the underlying strata of the studies for the artist’s drawings, in particular, are related to São Paulo, the complicated city where the artist was born and lives, and which seems to live a cyclic game of capabilities and disillusions.
Van Langendonck works well with the visuality of the somewhat strangulated limits of the city, creating an art that benefits from the residual, the fringes and the surreptitious. She has worked in such a way since her early days. In 2001, in partnership with Laerte Ramos, she extracted the soot from the Noite Ilustrada tunnel, located on the edges of the leafy neighbourhood of Pacaembu, and created drawings that must have destabilized, at least for a few seconds, the drivers emerged in the daily rush. In the same year, her series of engravings Esquinas e Ensaios (Corners and Essays) captured a fleeting light and, in a dual characteristic, both strengthened the drawing lines in some of the works and almost completely blacked out the surface in others.
With ten years of work behind her, van Langendonck has been quietly getting on with creating works that feed on these maximized flows of circulation in the metropolis. For Perto Longe (Near Far), her solo exhibition presented for the Zip’Up project, she brings an intervention on the main façade of the Zipper Galeria, creating another piece from the Paisagem Milimetrada (Landscape in Millimetres) series. She installs blue-toned quadrants that reveal overlapping grids, screen prints on adhesive vinyl to display a living drawing, with a virtual motion through space. The rigidity of the pattern, therefore, contains a flexibility that rhythmically attempts to catch the eye of the passer-by. Such a configuration could already be perceived in Condensações (Condensations), an intervention with acrylic and spray paint on the large entrance walls of the SESC Pinheiros, produced this year. In this work, the varied representation of clouds and words that designate several of these bodies of water and ice that cross the skies, again in a blue tone, established this aerial ballet, so immaterial, yet at the same time so present in our minds.
“Because it’s true that that which we call landscape unfolds around a point, in waves or in successive spaces to be condensed again in this single object, a reflection in which everything comes together at the same time; light, scent or melancholy. And I know that there have been others. [...] Many others, including cities. The buildings form pairs in the electric blue sky. The ports. The doors slam, a murmur.Cities of jade and lapis lazuli, built alongside an invisible lake, I see beautiful cemeteries, and just as it dawns on me that there are only sailors, I fall from the rocky platform where the door was. I fall eternally towards the magnificent ocean, but never reach it. And, all of a sudden, the landscape is there. Would it appear without this opening, when the dream slides from the night to the never-ending light of day?”(1), as French thinker Anne Cauquelin writes in one of the most beautiful parts of L’invention du paysage.
The plastic topographies created by Van Langendonck can also be seen in smaller scale pieces. In 180° (2011), for example, a flipbook that requires spectator interaction to trigger the drawing into life by quickly flicking through the pages. And they are presented in the form of an “acoustic drawing” in Na Linha A Linha Azul (In Line the Blue Line) , in which the radio presentation style of Juca Kfouri and Marcelo Gomes lead the listener to create a mental record of what the artist suggests, lines that, when put together, correspond to the pencil drawings, of eye-catching materiality. The excited broadcasting style, the variety of catchphrases and immediate reference to football pitches, green stages for mass entertainment, generate interesting points of friction in the artist's set of works in the Perto Longe show, typified by grids, lines, angles, radii and diameters.
However, such rigidity is constantly subverted by Van Langendonck in the irregularity of the intervals that arise in the surfaces of the series Massas: Desclocamentos (Masses: Displacements) , with the fleeting presence of light grounding the backlit drawings. The untitled series of dry reliefs also assumes this existential fragility, such a strong characteristic in the work produced specifically by the artist at the Paço das Artes, in 2003. There, the gouache printed human figure in the skylight of the exhibition room emerged in enigmatic projections, according to the daylight that entered the art centre. “The fact remains that the mind and things of certain artists are not ‘unities’, but things in a state of arrested disruption. One might object to ‘hollow’ volumes in favor of ‘solid materials’, but no materials are solid, they all contain caverns and fissures”(2), underlines Robert Smithson in his central text A Sedimentation of the Mind:Earth Projects.
A graduate from the ECA-USP (São Paulo University School of Arts and Communication), in 2011 he curated the exhibition Presenças (Zipper Galeria), inaugurating the Zip Up project, aimed at new artists (which has also included the exhibitions Já Vou, by Alessandra Duarte, and Aéreos, by Fabio Flaks, with the same curatorship). In 2010, he presented Incompletudes (Galeria Virgilio), Mediações (Galeria Motor) and Espacialidades (Galeria Central), as well as providing critical reviews of the Ateliê Fidalga at the Paço das Artes. In 2009, he curated Obra Menor (Ateliê 397) and Lugar Sim e Não (Galeria Eduardo Fernandes). He also worked as a reporter and editor of arts and architecture in the Ilustrada supplement of the Folha de São Paulo newspaper from 2005 to 2009, and is currently writing for several publications, including the magazines Bravo and Trópico and the UOL online portal, as well as the Spanish magazine Dardo. He is the co-author of Roberto Mícoli (Bei Editora) and belongs to the Paço das Artes team of critics.
1. CAUQUELIN, Anne. A Invenção da Paisagem. Edições 70, Lisboa, 2008, p. 17
2. FERREIRA, Glória e COTRIM, Cecilia (org.). Escritos de Artistas – Anos 60/70. Rio de Janeiro, Jorge Zahar, 2006, p. 190