Adir Sodre (1962-2020)

Adir Sodré, design: Didí and Anselmo. private collection
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By ANSELMO PESSOA NETO*

Commentary on the life, work and death of the artist

The civil data of Adir Sodré, ovvero, Didí Sodré, do not speak of his art, would say who killed the author. I am on the opposite side of this “theoretical reason”. It was Adir Sodré who died, not his art. This anniversary is for Didí Sodré, not for his art. But it's Adir's art, it's because of Adir's art that Didí is here. And what the hell to talk about the dead friend, and still have to cut him up? Separate it into parts? Maybe with other artists it would be a possible exercise (I don't know any of them), but with Adir/Didi, no.

Didí was from Mato Grosso, from Rondonópolis, but that was just a piece of data on his identity card. Didí was from Cuiabá, Didí was from Pedregal! Neither Didí nor his art could be anything without Pedregal: Didí and Pedregal are indivisible things, even knowing that Didí has ​​changed a lot and that Didí's Pedregal no longer exists. The awareness of knowing about Pedregal, that Didí never lost. He never lost the sense of the hard life that is to be in Pedregal.

Didí embodied a thousand characters, from sexologist Olga Del Volga to pure transvestites Divine and Roberta Close. She embodied everyone she portrayed, from the collector Gilberto Chateaubriand to the poet and critic Ferreira Gullar, but all of them paid the toll of setting foot on Pedregal. Adir Sodré's Nina Hagen is a Pedregal's Nina Hagen. She is a dazzled Nina Hagen, self-aware of her dazzle, wanting to immedesimarsi, to merge, to be all dazzle, but the Pedregal screams present!, and the magic stops halfway.

In a language that Didí knew, but which he rejected for the sake of style (he was an artist), the name for this would be class consciousness. Didí studied history, had a poet brother, singer and bookseller — and who we called, to annoy Didí, the artist of the family: Antonio Sodré. Antonio Sodré's death announced the death of Didí Sodré, but none of us wanted to believe it, despite the pain it caused him and which he already said was unbearable.

Fucking boy from Pedregal, aged 14, I don't know how, becomes a student at the Ateliê Livre at the Federal University of Mato Grosso. The coordinator of the Ateliê is the painter Dalva Maria de Barros. The patroness of the plastic arts in Mato Grosso, in Matos Grossos, is Aline Figueiredo, wife of Humberto Espíndola, our Siron Franco from Mato Grosso — that was what we used to say, we people from Mato Grosso who came to Goiânia and who saw, see, the world from the dry heart, in the dry season, full of water, in the rainy season, of Brazil. When Mato Grosso was divided in two, we got the pointers even better: Humberto Espíndola is the Siron of Mato Grosso do Sul and Adir Sodré is the Siron of Mato Grosso.

Okay, there's something for everyone! And Aline is the great animator of the arts in Mato Grossos. It's hard not to owe everyone and Didí we know that. Pedregal is almost next to UFMT, you can walk there. Even the Pedregal that still exists today. I don't know if today's Adis keep going. Pedregal and university. Two worlds that the two brothers knew how to integrate. Adir became a successful artist early on, compared to nosostros. While we were still in graduate school, he was already making money and he was already famous. And he already helped God and the world! He went around distributing his paintings for us friends to make money. The Sodré family also started to live from Adir very early on. Adir Sodré was a very serious madman. He knew the weight of an empty stomach. And he didn't neglect that, neither his nor the stomachs around him.

He was a left-wing history student and remained on the left. He was perfectly aware of the class division of society. He entered, as a painter, the houses of the high bourgeoisie, and Pedregal entered with him. His erotic art wanted to talk about oppression. The great masters he imitated, Matisse, Picasso, Manet, Tarsila do Amaral, Guignard, in his paintings, wanted to talk about inequalities. He loved happenings, it was the moment when he told the public that he and his art were one and the same. He painted and painted himself with the screaming record player. Music, music, music.

He discovered and presented us, presented us with his discoveries. He went out distributing the vinyl of Aguilar and Banda Performática. He listened, we listened, from the highest height. As in everything, he was totally eclectic: from MPB, when it was still called that, to visceral Rock 'n' roll. From cheesy sertanejos, to our native composers and singers. He gave news of everything that happened in the world and in the arts, his house always had many magazines and art books, but I never saw him reading a book in an orderly way, that is, from beginning to end, page after page. He opened the books. He would read a paragraph and he could lecture on that author or artist. And he did. A capacity to apprehend knowledge that I knew existed in theory, but that I saw taking place in him. He basically wanted to listen to music, paint, chat with friends. Stay alone at home.

Nina was born from his marriage to Márcia, a Dj who filled him with pride. I still saw him and Márcia together. We all got married at about the same time, but by the time Nina was born, we had drifted far apart. I don't know Nina, but I know the deep love and pride he had for her. And he had Hector and Pimpo. In fact, they were three. I'm fourth because Heitor and Pimpo took Didí to Barra do Garças. At the time when she wrote to herself by mail, there was a period when we wrote each other every day. Me in Goiânia, he in Cuiabá. When I traveled, his drawn letters still arrived practically every day.

When Drummond told us not to stray too far, he already knew we were going to stray. It was a request for the fado not to happen. Perhaps because of his political conscience, that ambitious young man with a great career ahead of him, who fearlessly faced São Paulo and the great art salons, after a certain moment this cooled down. He was quieter in Cuiabá. The world of arts has changed, to the call “How are you, Generation 80?” Didí won't answer anymore. But the artist Adir Sodré will be more and more present every day. His anticonformism is engraved in each and every one of his paintings and drawings. Not even time will erase. Didí will also stay with us. It doesn't split.

* Anselmo Pessoa Neto is a professor of Italian literature at UFG. Author, among other books, of Landscapes of Neorealism (UFG).

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