In the Brazilian and Latin American imagination the power of the landscape stands out as an ever present and powerful element, although silent. The vision of this original and unique world is conveyed to us from childhood times, in histories of men that in the past trailed the unknown, the marvelous, a paradise whose presence was felt and foreseen but that showed itself dire, escaping and reckless: wild. They are secrete panoramas of an almost unknown world, little or never visited yet as a paradox seen as ours.
On the other hand, in the traditional western painting, the representation of landscapes has crossed centuries of development, reaching in full shape to the peak of modernism. However, there was no inquiry, from the point of view of a non European country as Brazil, whether these languages of tradition were proper tools for the creation of Brazilian landscape representations. In fact — and we observe it clearly in the iconography of travelling European artists who passed by Brazil and the Americas of the 19th century and before —, the representation of the American landscape in its best examples has always been assigned to a certain illuminist rationalism (a clear cut naturalism), or of a picturesque arrangement of romantic-naturalistic characteristics.
When, at the most creative moment in the abstract North American expressionism, the artists were able to provide an original response to rationalist tendencies, analytic and conceptual of the European abstractionism, the distinctions were immediately understood and valued. North American art delivers itself to light (Rothko), intensity (Arshile Gorky / de Kooning), and unbridlement (Motherwell) to the gear and rapture (Pollock) — values overlooked by abstractionism of the Old World. Nothing similar had been tried in the scope of landscape representation of the Americas for no other reason than the constant wearing out of figurative languages that suffered from a wearout in the course of the 20th century.
It is not worth making explicit how much the representation of landscapes and nature means for a vision of the Americas, particularly in Brazil. The representation of the landscape is a tool for the interpreting of nature through culture. With this purpose Francisco Faria started to dedicate to the study of landscapes in Brazil and in the Americas. The artist, however, takes the opposite path: he goes to nature to discover in it elements to interpret a culture. This is a radical spin in the construction of landscape representation, looking at some programmatic of Latin American and Brazilian modernism aspects.
Among them is, certainly, the concept of “counterquest” by the Cuban writer Lezama Lima, based on the Idea of “imaginary ages”, which is the path throughout the cultural history of the Americas by means of a rereading and an imaginary reconstruction of the cultural past.
Hence, Francisco Faria had to leave his atelier and search this nature – so much spoken about, but little “seen” and in it discover a wealth of primary sources for cultural construction. It is the nature, and not the culture, that guides the look of this artist, it is it that informs the view and allows for the amalgamating of large sets of cultural references already accumulated in centuries of the development of language in the genre of landscape in art history. In this constructive turn, the artist subverts the romantic or rationalist look, indicates possibilities for the apprehension of image, with new compositions and variations of the representation.
Nature itself will indicate to the artist the focal point to articulate the view, in the “construction” of this landscape: its dynamics, the need to understand it along the way. Need derived from the great dimension of spaces, its apparent indistinction, the lack of borders (characteristics of Amerindian ancestral cultures that relate their being in the world to a track, a search). In the drawings, details derive from a series of sketches; the artist has no intention to detach elements of the flora, as though there were a botanic interest. It is the need to express what is imposed and (re)constructs the strange and peculiar intensity of the landscape of the Americas remarkably the Brazilian ones.
In the work by Francisco Faria space, that already narrows to fracture, leaves progressively room for its path to a representation of time, and, by doing so, revalues symbolic aspects long ago left aside in the representation (and understanding) of space in the West, representation that evolved from the perspective of high-rebirth and the set of rationalist ideas present in the main origin of western thought. The representation of time, that, in the context of figuration may partly be understood as the representation of a “narrative”, requires from the artist an expansion in the construction of the figured space, in such way as to account, in this expanded plane, for the representation of the development of the mode that comprehends, in this expanded plane, the representation of the development of an event in time. Its path. Aspect easily observable in the representation of space in the Chinese and Japanese arts, that are greatly attentive to the impermanence of phenomena. And, in this particular aspect, observable also in the language of the international high gothic, notably in the Sienese School, in the west.
In the set of works in this exhibition, the representation of the landscape bears some symbolic aspects of the representation of space when in it one seeks the representation of time (which is not the same as “movement”). And here, the series “Variações sienesas” points at the morphism of the representation of space, as the “Great pipe dream landscape” amalgamates the symbolic representation of space and culture in the construction of a hybrid image. The drawings of the new grotteschi stress this construction of symbolic and pipe dream references – in a reinterpreting of this important language --, which are also present in the large portraits.
The drawings of the seas – that in the work of the artist plays the role of a language laboratory, by means of an exploratory technique, agile and concise of the drawing – also stress the expansion of the narrative space in the series “Mares do Levante”.
Over 30 years of his artistic career, Francisco Faria has created landscaping sets in which light becomes more dense, the Dimensão Desmedida (long series and large drawings), Intensidade e o Arrebatamento (profuse techniques and execution) to create another landscape, another paradise , something that has already lost its arcadic light and shine but keeps its fascination, its presence, its sublime character and, mainly, its dynamics. Francisco Faria creates a polysemic refiguration of the landscape that we may, eventually, recognize as being “ours”.