Review – José Bechara, Museu de Arte Moderna

Felipe Scovino

Review – Focus Brazil
Flash Art Vol. XLIV, n. 278, May-June 2011 (press)



“Cracks”, José Bechara’s exhibition at the Museu de Arte Moderna of Rio de Janeiro, establishes a crossing point in the artist’s career. After nearly 20 years of work, the artist has reached a point of maturity and coherence that is evident in each of the three facets of his work: a phenomenological practice of expressing the dimension of time through painting; the wielding of a provisional stability between chaos and order that subtly brings the spectacular into play; and the establishment of an intimate dialogue between the plane and the surrounding space.
Bechara’s exercises in altering the perception of space over time incorporate the slow process of rusting as condition of entropy. Changes that occur in the rust-covered paintings on heavy-duty canvases normally used on trucks – with their evident marks, textures and stains – suggest to the viewer the idea of standing before a living being. The overlapping of volumes, colors and texture must be deciphered among superimposed layers of rusty steel and eroded tissue.
While experimenting with space, a regular motif in the artist’s is the house: a house that wants to be emptied so as to be occupied by the void, to make visible what was hiding or being held within the private sphere. It is located in zone of conflict, because in this Dionysian and hostile sculptural image of chaos, the artist wishes to show that “empty is solid, empty is matter”. It is an emptiness that sets itself up as a character in some tragic plot. The house as a direction in Bechara’s work had already appeared in a series of drawings. “Drawing is my diary”, says Bechara. It is in this intermittent dialogue between drawing and the search for space that grounds Bechara’s work.



Felipe Scovino is a professor at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil