Renata Egreja

04/Nov/2014 – 22/Dec/2014

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  • Press Release

    Fireworks, glitter & garbage

    If Idyll, the second solo exhibit of Renata Egreja in Zipper, could be summed up in one word, that word could be “pregnant”, more so in its sense of "inventive". Or "powerful". It is hard not to be swayed by the very free pictorial thread, full of possibility and filled with color and matter in the paintings, drawings, installation and artist book displayed in the exhibition space.

    Under a concept of expanded painting, Egreja places her multifaceted work throughout the gallery, with it being noticeable how the artist from Sao Paulo unites several references that permeate her work since her undergraduate studies in the Superior National School of Fine Arts in Paris, an institution with such professors as Giuseppe Penone and Christian Boltanski, to her experience on the international circuit, visiting exhibitions by artists such as Annette Messager, and to the influence of exponents of the Brazilian generation 80, such as Leda Catunda and Beatriz Milhazes.

    Much of the current production now seen also accompanied months of the experience of her first pregnancy, as well as the studio move, from São Paulo to Ubatuba, in an area on the edge of the Serra do Mar mountain range, with sizeable stretches of preserved Atlantic Forest. Without being biographical, Idyll emphasizes the vigorous struggle between the rational and the intuitive, the accidental and the planned, for example, and making it possible to notice, in the apprehension of the poetic vectors, that she is a young artist, yet lacking the beginner or ‘work-in-progress’ aspects of such, in fact, far from it.

    The piece which gives the exhibition its title might exemplify such questions. Idyll has large-scale measures - 2.20 m x 1.60m - and seems to portray an explosion of fireworks, maybe seaside, in a New Year's Eve somewhere in the past. But also not. The dripping on the yellow surface, the conical / cylindrical shapes which strive to settle the vertical reading of the composition, water painted, helping set the 'broken' character of the whole piece, the frame marked by process disposals and by materials such as glitter - and which can only be conferred on physical observation of the work, which reserves to the piece even more uniqueness - are all elements that contribute to the impurity of such works and to a more contemporary condition more closely linked to instability and friction rather than harmony and placidity. For Egreja deftly handles the universe somewhat festive of this ‘Brazilianness’ vaunted in hegemonic means, yet always wanting to question what we see. After all, have we come to an idyll manifested and sought after in past art programs, such as romanticism, or, almost paradoxically, do surfaces and appearances in effect leave stagnant concerns and conflicts that have everything to be triggered at precise moments in history?

    Nicuala, another large size screen - measuring 1.50 m x 1.50 m - also corroborates this experimental context - yes, the painting can be experimental; it is not only status of audiovisual and 'technological' works, as is sold by part of a monothematic critique, by juxtaposing planning standards, via geometric grids, and this uneasy line that excels at leading, but which might not have a particular destination, amid the splashes, the spots and the points of pictorial materiality throughout the painting.

    From these and other works in the exhibition, we can cite some of the items which Claude Viallat, a key name in the French movement Supports / Surfaces, enumerated decades ago, taking advantage of the outbreak of grouping - active in individual trajectories since the late 60’s, earning the status of movement in 1970, being 'baptized' by Vincent Bioulès. "To consider the real space, to oppose the monocentric view of the renaissance space. To see painting as a topology "(1) expresses Viallat, in the first of 11 notes that will guide his production since those years. Egreja agrees with the influence of the S/S line and deploys the previous precepts in the present day, something more virtual, cynical and maximized circulation. The topology highlighted by Viallat takes shape in Idyll with Chinese Book, an artist book where meters and meters of traces carried out by the gesture of the artist, for months, come to light to the world in an amalgam of colors, lines and marks that deal with both the intimacy of a personal diary record, and the expansiveness of a multifaceted production configuring multiple readings. "When all eyes are on you," writes the artist in one of the pages.

    A good closing to Idyll would be to enter the home-screen constructed by Egreja to be paradigmatic in his path of expanded painting. A pictorial shelter, a cocoon of colors, a frame detached of supports. "Working on all that which has been repressed in traditional painting (right / wrong side, tension / relaxation, softness / hardness, moisture, saturation, shape etc.)" (2), stresses Viallat again, in this guide to non-idyllic times.


    1. ABADIE, Daniel (org.). França Contemporânea –Os Anos Supports/Surfaces na Coleção do Centro Georges Pompidou. MAM-SP, São Paulo, 2000, p. 15

    2. ABADIE, Daniel (org.). Idem, p. 15

    Critical essay