• Poetic Navigation

    Date posted: December 30, 2008 Author: jolanta
    The “landscape” is a metaphor. The work is in progress, and it points to a task that is never finished. There are many layers of meaning and complexity in The Painter’s Studio. Courbet’s vision of the world shows itself twice over, with a small painting in progress within a large painting, also a work in progress. The artist, the citizen as poet or the poet as citizen, speaks and stands alone, assuming responsibility for the vision. The Painter’s Studio makes evident the interaction between artist and society, whether visitors are attentive or distracted. The artist must keep working and share what is discerned of the world. In an ongoing process, the artist is always naked, and has no place to hide. The development is always in public. Image

    Judite dos Santos

    Image
    Courtesy of the artist.

    The “landscape” is a metaphor. The work is in progress, and it points to a task that is never finished. There are many layers of meaning and complexity in The Painter’s Studio. Courbet’s vision of the world shows itself twice over, with a small painting in progress within a large painting, also a work in progress. The artist, the citizen as poet or the poet as citizen, speaks and stands alone, assuming responsibility for the vision. The Painter’s Studio makes evident the interaction between artist and society, whether visitors are attentive or distracted. The artist must keep working and share what is discerned of the world. In an ongoing process, the artist is always naked, and has no place to hide. The development is always in public.

    In my installation at the Steam Shop Project (2006), the veils and wire mesh pieces changed throughout the day as warm and cool light transformed shadows and transparency. All beings and things present were integrated in the work: bird sounds, cicadas and the wind. A deep, threatening large tank at the top of the slope overgrown with wild plants became The Bunker, and it was softened with white veils, which whistled and flapped with the fierce wind, sounding like sails on open seas. The rugged thick stone room downhill was the transition into the “studio,” which had layers of white veils flowing, softening this passage, playing on visibility and invisibility. This was my reading room. A Poem Base evolved in a discarded industrial found object. Fresh herbs and poems by Fernando Pessoa were added daily, together with my own poems. A heavy iron gear mechanism traversed the open sky “studio” high at the top. There I hung two upside-down trees. The names of men lost in the explosion in 1972 were written in the single naked branch, poems by Pessoa written on the leaves of the eucalyptus tree. A niche carved into the right stone wall became The Altar, decorated with incense, rosemary, thyme, sage, lavender, oregano, and broken glass found in the surrounding gardens. The Vessel, a fragile wire structure of previous projects, here becomes larger, naked as bones, a transparency, and a gesture. It is a large perforated skin, slicing space and accessible to be “navigated.” The Invaders flanked the diagonal vessel, meandering through the slopping space as intruders or conduits. Various ladders, clumsy, oddly assembled, with crooked steps, climbed up the ruined walls, leading toward the blue sky. A multiplicity of components, layers of meaning and metaphors, held the space together visually as in my installations since 1983.

    All works of art are autobiographical in some way. My history, body, and mind alter the space. The Steam Shops in the Black Gunpowder Factory in Lisbon are overburdened with their own history. My own personal history is imbedded in all my work, as change, decay, histories, ruins, and memories are the supporting structure for my installations, transformation, and entropy moving toward the future.

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