Frantz | O Ateliê como Pintura
de 14/08 até 14/09
The atelier as painting

What does a painter do? He paints. That’s the most direct, clear and assertive answer. A painter paints. Or, by approximating the definition from the field of visual arts, a painter is the one who practices the art of painting. Frantz defines himself as “a painter who doesn’t paint”. By observing his current productions, what do we see? In a broader view, marks, stains, viscosities, footprints, bumps, drops, drained and colors, many colors: subtle, somber, intense and luminous. In the amalgam of these elements, a curious harmony balances weights and provokes the confrontation between the stains. Without any thematic or figurative conotations, the paintings have, as a starting point, prints that come from the artist’s sights, which he picks up from the sensitive experience and returns to us as poetics. That doesn’t mean that, through the abstraction which dominates the pictorial surfaces, we can’t identify shapes that resemble waves, clouds, skies, constellations, dreamscapes, in an operation that turns on perceptive and imaginative capabilities from the spectator. There are many doors that enter “Frantz’s Universe”, and there’s no doubt that the formal richness of his paintings fascinates by themselves. It’s possible to conceive a discussion of his production taking, as an essential element, the plastic exuberance that characterize them, just as the dialog with art history itself. Such approach, however, would exclude what interests the artist the most, and what makes his pieces so singular: the process.

At this point, we go back to the initial paradox: Frantz is a painter who doesn’t paint. Since mid-1990’s, stretching meters of cotton canvases over the atelier’s walls and floor - space in which he also offers classes -, he makes time an ally. The same time which is needed to observe and mature perceptions is required from the surfaces to receive printings with so many gesture, to deposit sediments, to consolidate livings. Some canvases remain pinned to the room’s structures for months, but there are those that stay for years. At some point, the artist decide they are ready. And then starts to make “his paintings”. Safely, he plucks them off of the walls, cuts and organizes them, starting a meticulous editing, pointing out the parts that will be stretched on chassis and the ones that will shape the books. More than the occasional registration of the processes and possible inherent accidents in artistic practice, in these fragments, in the macerated extensions of the canvases, reside the painting’s own memories. Microcosmos in expansion, the atelier, in its open and unstable order, as a sensorial deposit, of livings, meetings and discussions, ends up being the better finished piece.

The collected traces are multiple, collective and with various temporalities. Over the past years, seeking to problematize even more the issue of authorship, Frantz’s been filling individual ateliers from different artists in São Paulo, Florianópolis, Recife and Porto Alegre. Still, how can we associate, at an initial moment, the final piece with the records of its’ processes, to the same records edited by Frantz’s viewing? It’s about an association mostly obscure, and in very few copies is posible to suggest it. Therefore, it’s not the artist behind the work that motivates Frantz. What interests him, tenaciously, is the exercise of perceiving painting, of thinking painting. Frantz, the painter who doesn’t paint, turns painting into his leitmotiv. This understanding launches us, once more, to the central questions of the artists’ poetics: on one side, the comprehension that, aside from laboratory, aside from being a privileged space of creation, the atelier is matter, is the piece itself; in this specific case, the atelier is painting. On the other, the consciousness that, just as we build a way of looking to this portentous and admirable painting, we are built by it. And it, certainly, won’t let us perceive the multiple layers of everyday life as before. The cut was made.

Paula Ramos, curadora.