ArtNexus n.54 – vol 3

Eugenio Espinoza

Miami – FL, USA, 2004



Sensuality, or the enigma of nature constants in contemporary Brazilian art are more than apparent in Bechara´s work, especial ly writ his more recent works, which overwhelm the viewer with those cow´s udders stretched around the frame, desubstiating the canvas.These udders are powerfully expressive in themselves and they bombard our senses writ erotic associations. In these works, Walt is Boeing posited is na udder as a central element of the artistic object. An udder is more than an udder; just as a breast is more than a breast; ” notem fills the empty hand like a breast, ” , Baudrillard has said. Perhaps na udder fills the empty painting in the same way.

Bechara´s paintings always overflow the material realm, substituting the representational of the real object or its matter. A technical demand is implicit there, one that drives him to both the object and the surface of the painting with great precision. The udders become surfaces to be touched visually; their color, form, and texture become, fervidly, the ” message”. To know that skin is not synthetic turns it into a broad, happy experience; something synthetic would not generate so many positive associations, but rather mournful frustration.

It would not be difficult to see these white and pink ” flesh – colored” udders as a new version of Malevich´s ” White um white,” were one to situate oneself in the perspective of the lavish Brazilian inspirations. Logically, it is possible to see these surfaces of bovine skin, in a familiar color, acting as an eloquently monochrome painting. Eloquence ( which persuades and moves ) is a sympathetic quality in opposition to the postulates of the rational monochrome. Suddenly, up , down, or to the sides of these paintings appear sober and elegant horizontal stripes in red or white , painted with oil on the canvas, ac- companying the large bovine mosaic. The conection between the skins and the geometric planes is energetic and contrasting ; it becomes a rather sterile disconnect, each perhaps the product of being ” in love with the universal Idea without physiognomy”.

This conflict of different positions will serve to drive us to another conclusion that surpasses it and comes progressively closer to truth. Bechara is known as one of the artists who, alongside Senise, Neto, Resende, and Caldas, has given continuity and a very strange turn (venomous, labyrinthine, and overwhelming ) to the problems of neoconstructivism in Brazil. We could add that Bechara seeks to establish a dialectic between nature and reason, supported by the sensuality and the disconcerting black humor of originality.

Beuys ordered the public and his students to blur the that separates art from life. That line has been in the process of becoming extinct Ever since. Is this the path chosen by Bechara when he decided to work with oxides and with cow skin?
In the series titled ” Mercurio” another relationship is broken and created: na alchemical stance that trusts itself to the laws of an scrupulous and decrepit geometric tradition. These works, executed using oxides on waxed cloth, find a coloration that doesn´t exist in industrial pigments. It is a palette of forgotten ochres, produced only by the bitterness and wisdom of time. Oxide penetrates the cloth and leaves its spontaneous stain. Progressively, the oxidation lines come to form a desolate, wilted landscape on an emaciated canvas.The artist´s overwhelming influx of chromatic lines deteriorated by oxidation produces a progressive echo of ancient, expiatory intervals.

With assertive voice, Bechara proclaims the power hidden in those vertical and horizontal lines. This inscribles them, in a new way. In the neoconstructivist tradition that has reigns in Brazil since the 1950s. At the same time he situates himself within the avalanche of monumental gestures and propositions that caracterizes the current age.

One could wonder, wath would happen in Bechara´s work if instead of a silent antagonism between udders and lines, there existed an inseparable and unpredictable relationship between those two or more elements, or perhaps between one chaos and an even greater chaos? Such as the one that exists, impassable, in nature.