Artist intervenes at the Fundação Eva Klabin and exhibits new works at Lurixs

Suzana Velasco

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Segundo Caderno, O Globo, 2008



While creating his intervention at Fundação Eva Klabin, the artistJosé Bechara remembered his daughter putting on makeup when she wasyounger whenever she missed her mother, imitating her while she didn’treturn home.

“She looked beautifully blurred”, says Bechara.

Theartist is also blurring the house-museum located in the Lagoaneighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, as if it missed its owner, Eva, andwill show the result starting tomorrow. Meanwhile, he experiments withhis own makeup in totally new projects in his career, which will beexhibited to the public starting Wednesday of the following week at theLurixs gallery, in Botafogo, also in Rio.

“Saudade”is the ninth show of the Projeto Respiração – the Respiration Project -curated by Marcio Doctors, which brings contemporary art interventionsto the classic collection of the foundation, organized by the collectorEva Klabin and kept in exhibition to visitors. Upon hearing Mr. Doctorssay that the house seemed not to know that Eva had died and that shecould return at any moment, the artist imagined how the house wouldlook missing its owner, “I imagined a space very well-kept by a zealousold lady, but this space doesn’t know that this very organized womanhas died. She is only taking a long time to return. This causes thehouse to miss her deeply, it creates a disturbance. The house begins tospontaneously reproduce itself while it waits for Eva, perhaps mad withnostalgia, with love,” explains Bechara.

The taleof the house that is multiplied is translated by the artist in piecesof furniture that are reproduced out of their place. The “new” parts ofthe house, such as the shoe closet that keeps clothes instead of shoesand the disordered stairs in the middle of the dining room, are rebuiltin brick and wood, a true architectural work in conjunction with thespace.

“I didn’t want the viewer to have to look forthe works with a magnifying glass, or do something too discrepant withthe house. Maybe with some pieces the visitor might have to look alittle more, but it is not a game with traps, that would be veryboring”, says the artist.

Oxidation is the common point of the works in the gallery

For those who know Bechara´s artistic trail, it is inevitable toassociate this work with the sculpture-installation “The house”, whichmarked the Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro in 2004 andinfluenced his later works. However, while there the two wooden cubesin monumental scale expelled the furniture to the outside, here Becharaturns to the inside of the house. Although formally distinct, the twoworks relate to one another with the memory of the objects.

The artist says, “When I did “The house”, people asked me what wasinside the house and I said it was an abysm. My formal interest was onthe outside of the house, its geometrical elements combined. From asymbolic point of view, the house expelled furniture that wasimpregnated with a presence. Now there is also a movement of theseobjects, which replicate themselves on their own, impregnated withmemory.

In the exhibition “Sobremirada”, at Lurixs,Bechara has strayed from this path and exhibits completely differentworks, united by the process of oxidation of the materials. The shadesof green and blue of “Copper in two” emerges from the oxidation of anemulsion of copper on canvas. On wood, the emulsion of metal in its rawstate obtains earthly tones that, together with oil paint, make up thepaintings “Fat with me” and “Fat with you”. And “Gelosia” combinesthree layers of glass with bands formed by oxidation of an emulsion ofiron – a union linked to the space of the gallery, which determined theresult of the work.

Bechara says that he began hisexperiments with the new materials by the end, the exhibition, andexplains, “The combination of several layers of glass creates an almostsculptural volume, it implies an almost architectural relation with thespace. In general, the artist, including myself, exhibits after aperiod of investigation, when he controls the procedures and thematerials. “Sobremirada” offers the opposite path, the exhibition is anidea of the work that is still to come. They are works with which Istart to deal with now. And that implies a greater risk.

The artist also exhibits a series of new drawings entitled “The air” atLurixs´ annex, across the street from the main gallery. There heexhibits also another offspring of “The house”, the sculpture “Blind”from the “Open House” series, which was previously worked on wood andnow comes in cast aluminum.

The exhibitions crowna year in which the artist had six individual shows and participated ineight group exhibits, in Brazil and abroad, and also launched the book”José Bechara – Blefuscu”, published by the Spanish publishing houseDardo. Exhausted, impatient, and anxious, Bechara is dying to go backto his studio in Santa Teresa and immerse in the creative process withthe new materials and procedures that he is discovering. But he hasnothing to complain about. He says, “I am very concerned and in a bad mood, butI wouldn’t change this state for anything.”

An artist from the 90s

Bornin Rio de Janeiro, José Bechara, 51, began his lessons in painting in1987 at the place that perspired art in Rio in the eighties, the Escolade Artes Visuais do Parque Lage. The artist is part of the group thatwas formed after the one that shook the city with the exhibition,”Where are you, Generation 80?” He abandoned the canvas to explore theprocess of oxidation of metals, especially on canvases of trucks, workthat made him known as one of the main names of the Generation 90. Fora few years he has been exploring the theme of the house, in sculpturesand installations of great inventiveness and geometric formality.