SELVA-MATA, the first solo show by the artist Fábio Baroli, from Minas Gerais, at the Zipper Gallery, points to a new moment in his body of work, when the human figure gives way to nature; not without exuberance, attractively observed, in landscapes made with delicacy - but even though constructed; they are not truthful, or exact. At the same time, the work unfolds some points of inflexion from previous series, such as the creation of large pictorial environments, in which the polyptych is central within the exhibition space and expands through the site itself via elements of painting, as well as by more evident procedures such as erasure. And the concept economic and socio-political aspects are present, among other scopes, in order to ground the exhibition, however, this time the work seems to surreptitiously yield to more robust investigations of art making - such as oil painting, in this case.
Another important aspect of Baroli's production remains: displacement. The artist was born in Uberaba, Triângulo Mineiro, was educated in Brasilia, spent a few years in Rio de Janeiro, returned to his native city and today is settled in São Paulo. This initial exhibition of the "São Paulo phase" reverberates some echoes, since it is not long that the artist lives in Pinheiros (west of SP), however, an interesting fact emerges in the canvasses of the ambient displayed in the Zip'Up Room. The green seduction of the Atlantic Forest was portrayed from visits to the Cantareira mountain range, in the extreme north of the city; an important ecosystem that protects much of the water springs essential to the city. In addition to the Cantareira, sketches were collected from the Tijuca forest in Rio.
The polyptych SELVA-MATA, title of the series and of the show, also portrays typical cerrado [savannah] vegetation - the photographic language grounds the pictorial compositions - from the vicinity of Uberaba, a fertile region of soybeans and cattle, among other products. In other words, short plants and shrubs, with a more sparse configuration and much more open than the existing one in the Atlantic Forest biome, make the cerrado appear as the enemy of agricultural productivity, according to an economistic logic, for resembling weeds.
It is important to remember that the cerradowas once more decisive and present in the greenery of SP - not surprisingly, parts of the city were known as the Fields of Piratininga at the beginning of the colonization period -, and this condition caught the attention of the gaze and visual practice of artists such as Daniel Caballero. In the work of this São Paulo artist, one finds proximity to the tactics of the "artist-traveller" and the expeditionary, in order to discover, document, collect and present the fragile presence of this flora from the gigantic metropolitan area of the city of São Paulo. In this sense, through very different investigations and approaches, he and Baroli can be radiographed within the altermodernity proposed by Nicolas Bourriaud in the essential The Radicant. "The representation of nonstatic spaces involves the construction of new codes that are capable of capturing the dominant figures of our imaginary universe (the expedition, wandering, and displacement), an operation that consists in doing more than merely adding a vector of speed to frozen landscapes" writes the French thinker.
In Deitei para repousar e ele mexeu comigo, a solo show presented at the CCBB (Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil) in Brasilia 2015, Baroli already presented a polyptych that dealt with the landscape. However, Pra lá de dois pé-de-gabiroba showed a panorama that was far more affected by human presence, where leafy trees and a sky of lively blue seemed to be bruised to exhaustion, with fences, roads and livestock marking indelibly the early primeval vegetation. A bovine carcass and a termite mound helped in the melancholy configuration, with paint inserts in the wall completing figures, and canvasses of different scales spread throughout the white cube.
Now, in SELVA-MATA, the human threat is lurking around, nevertheless, it remains in the extra-field. The vigour of the green tone determines that pictorial elements must be highlighted in different ways. The artist also uses Italian gesso as the base for the surface of the paintings, so that the chalk mixture in the background may enhance the colour of the paintings made with dense oils. In some places, the walls of the room were painted medium green, fusing media with square and rectangular volumes placed in the exhibition space. As "content", the more elongated and thin shrubs, typical of the cerrado, are very curious as a strong punctuation to the green foliage, typical of the humid and closed environments of the Atlantic Forest, whose light (which shines through to make explicit the surface of the canvas) has smaller moments, but relevant so that the constructed scenario may be visualized. A pink appears almost silently between the green, verging less towards the artificial and creating "rips" resembling nocturnal landscapes (they are not, but the theme was dear to several artists and, among more recent manifestations, a series by the São Paulo artist Rodrigo Andrade can be cited). And the same pink hue dominates one of the walls of the room, generating a kind of negative of the landscapes installed against it, in a specular relation catalysed by attributes typical to painting.
Finally, this new phase by Fábio Baroli inscribes him alongside a range of artists of varied origins, means, and strategies, all opting for a less solar (and therefore more pessimistic) gaze within the country's visual history. The artist's collage seems to minimize the sublime that would leap from the flatter representation of this powerful nature - since the construction of a scenario that does not exist as we see it in the moment, with his mixture of different biomes -, endowing, then, a real that is less alive than the artistically created. Thus, his production is close to the deeply solitary engravings of the panoramas of SP by Evandro Carlos Jardim; of the suburbs in minor tone in the paintings by the members of the Santa Helena group; and of nature in colours and inside-out vegetation of the "foreign" pictorial in Miguel Bakun (1909-1963) and Alfredo Andersen (1860-1935).
 BOURRIAUD, Nicolas,The Radicant , Sternberg Press, 2009. ISBN 978-1-933128-42-9. Translated by James Gussen and Lili Porten.