shadow cartographies



Commentary on the artistic trajectory of Regina Silveira

Referring to drawing as her chosen place of invention, provoking other means (engravings, installations, objects), Regina Silveira situates them as “a pursuit of the world of ideas”. In the book Shadow Cartographies – dedicated to the presentation and analysis of her artistic trajectory – it is interesting to observe that in the interview given to Angélica de Moraes the theme of persecution appears repeatedly.

Accompanying his confident speech, lucid as to his choices, intelligent as to the inscriptions on the artwork, one feels the presence of someone who hunts determinedly. She is very reminiscent, by contrast, of the image of persecution in Cortázar's short story: while Johnny, the hallucinated jazz player, pursues enlightenment through destruction, Regina makes present the destruction of the idea of ​​art, arranging operations that reveal the implausible. Regina's art is a shot at verisimilitude.

Detaching himself from any origin, including the artisanal practices of painting and engraving at the beginning of his work, he plays with the fascination of similitudes and simulations. Rigor and irony lead to an indefatigable conceptual exercise, whose technical virtuosity -projected and recently extended by the resources of new image technologies- and paradoxical imagination make counter-illusion devices proliferate. Shadows, anamorphoses, topographic drawings mediate an inquiry constituted in a project, which highlights a position on art, a way of thinking, a certain articulation of the aesthetic and the cultural, sometimes with a political meaning.

In the book Shadow Cartographies interpretations of Regina Silveira's work – texts by Angélica de Moraes, Walter Zanini, Aracy Amaral, Annateresa Fabris, Tadeu Chiarelli and Kim Levin – highlight the coherence of the operations committed to the realization of the non-retinal conception of art, in which, however, the geometric emphasis does not dispense with surreal effects. In all passages of the trajectory, that is, in the unity of the succession of points covered since the moment of immersion in the conceptual tonic, reflexivism stands out: the questioning of the idea of ​​art, of sensorial perception, of conventional modes of vision. Simultaneously, the figure of artist and teacher appears as a figure consistent with the directions of experimentation: social nonconformity and technical rigor; professional commitment and aesthetic definition.

In addition to highlighting this exemplary figure of an artist, outstanding in the formation and definition of the paths of many artists who, since the 1970s, have been specifying the conceptualist trend, this book allows the understanding of the destinations of deconstruction after the limit experiences carried out by the ruptures of the avant-gardes of the 1960s.

Regina's poetics, detectable in her work and clearly exposed by her in the aforementioned interview – configuring the theoretical-historical matrix of her trajectory-, manifests basic bets of modern and contemporary propositions: de-automatization and decentering of the look, questioning the modes of perception, problematization of mimesis, the limits of the art system and the position of the spectator. His conceptualism, the use of parody and simulacra, the exploration of the perverse effects of perspective projection, the use of signs and subverted cultural codes, aim at dismantling the idealizations that cover art, the illusions of centered perception and the very notion of reality. that underlies the artwork.

Regina incessantly dialogues with a modern constellation taken as a reference: Duchamp, De Chirico, Magritte, primarily. From them come indications for her counter-illusionism; however, this is reprojected on the various illusionisms: mannerist, surrealist, perspective etc. If some dialogues are direct, as with Duchamp, others are intriguing, as in the case of surrealism.

Perspective simulations and deformations, shadows and anamorphoses, shape distortions, photograms and reticles work the denaturalization of the gaze: modern interventions are thus specified according to the conditions of the means of production available. According to the observation of Annateresa Fabris, they propose to the spectator the reification of conventional ways of seeing.

Regina travels, therefore, through the interior of modern work according to a conceptual procedure – to reconceptualize it; this is your approach contemporary. It focuses on the problem of the image, perhaps the most pressing issue in contemporary art. For, from pop and minimalist radicalization -which completes the modern work of dismantling the image- how can we still propose the effectiveness of desublimated images? How to push the limits of deconstruction, still playing with the operations that made it effective and, even more so, in the situation where research converges with the institutionalization of art? Finally, returning to a theme dear to the artist: how is it possible to maintain the symbolic charge of art?

For her, perhaps, everything is a matter of strategy and tactics. According to Michel de Certeau, the strategy outlines a trajectory, circumscribes a place of enunciation that aims at many targets and founds an autonomy; tactics are the cunning of interests, humor and desires, properties of the instant that subvert strategic design. The solutions for visuality, proposed by the artist, result from the combination of constructive strategies and perverse tactics, speculating on the current possibilities of conceptualism.

*Celso Favaretto is an art critic, retired professor at the Faculty of Education at USP and author, among other books, of The invention of Helio Oiticica (Edusp).



Angélica de Moraes (org.). Regina Silveira: Cartographies of the shadow. Edusp, 360 pages.


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