Elyeser do Sertão

Image: Elyeser Szturm


Commentary on the exhibition “Heavens and Us”, by Elyeser Szturm

The great area of ​​human studies and not, you see, the so-called human “sciences”, can be defined, in the last analysis, by repetition, by passing constancy, by false innovation and, mainly, by the invention and use of new terminologies to say the already said.

One of those questions that come and go is a question formulated more or less like this: does the author explain the work? The same question can be inverted (it is already a relative innovation): does the work explain the author? Or novelty novelty: does the author exist? The irony of this last formulation is that no “dead” author, while alive, has stopped running after the money that his work, by chance, has earned. Not even whoever “killed” the author did it!

I believe that anyone who knows Elyeser leaves convinced that he explains his work or, at least, what is readable in it today. It may seem strange, but he says little about his work. And he talks a lot about anything else! And that's where the key to knowing "heavens and us" from the Author's point of view lies. Elyeser talks about everything and everyone, with propriety. His houses, apartment in the city and studio in the countryside, are veritable libraries. Books and books and more books. Disks and disks and more disks (in CD format). Movies and movies and movies (in the clouds and in the rooms). Wine and wine and wine (with friends). He loves a good conversation, with people who have read many books and with simple people, from the land, from the countryside. It adapted or resumed our regional caipira language, Goianese. He talks without fussing with each other.

That's Elyeser's work: they are products made with earth, feet and hands on the ground, in knots! Head and eyes in the heavens, in the books. Head and eyes on the earth, on people. One trip only. That is, a journey alone and, at the same time, with your books, your music, your friends, your conversations. Your land. Feet and head that walked/walk around the world, one way or another, or one way and another! Who walked/walk through the Sertão. Paris/Sertão, always the same as himself, who changes being. Sertanejo, here is the first accurate definition.

He likes this: “Heavens and skies in blue, to godgiving. Go see, in Goiás, how the world fits the world” (Grande Sertão: Veredas).

And from this: “Things no longer want to be seen by reasonable people. They want to be looked at from blue” (Manoel de Barros).

But he also likes a place fixed in space, an earthly material good. I wrote this sentence and, as I wrote it, I realized how limited words are in their first senses! say that the Scrovegni Chapel, in Padua, is fixed in space (and it is), which is an earthly material good (and it is), it is a contradiction in terms. An insoluble contradiction, because at the same time that it is there, in Padua, it is everywhere. Its (the sky) blue is universal and heritage of humanity, its good is intangible, because of a beauty that no words can reach.

The blue of the Elyeser is the blue of Guimarães Rosa, the blue of Manoel de Barros and the blue of Giotto. It's the blue of the Sertão sky, the same blue that Giotto saw. And we are those tiny sparks, those tiny things in front of the vastness of this sky by Giotto, this sky by Elyeser. But it's us with our us. Our knots can reach the sublime blue of the skies and, at the same time, the wild ground of the Sertão. Elyeser lets us see these two dimensions of the same, of the diverse one. But at the same time, through the gap, the knots. Our littleness in the face of everything. The meanness of the world that is not in it but is in us.

And it could stop there, but Elyeser's work asks not to: it asks us for this sublime. The condition is to untie the knots or, at least, understand the knots. Grow to the sky, grow in the Sertão. Giotto/Sertão. Elyeser/Sertão. And the sky above us.

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

Presentation text of the exhibition by Elyeser Szturm, heavens and us, at the UFG Cultural Center, in March 2018.


Exhibition video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXzdCNImuo4&t=21s

See this link for all articles


  • About artificial ignoranceEugenio Bucci 15/06/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Today, ignorance is not an uninhabited house, devoid of ideas, but a building full of disjointed nonsense, a goo of heavy density that occupies every space
  • Franz Kafka, libertarian spiritFranz Kafka, libertarian spirit 13/06/2024 By MICHAEL LÖWY: Notes on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Czech writer
  • The society of dead historyclassroom similar to the one in usp history 16/06/2024 By ANTONIO SIMPLICIO DE ALMEIDA NETO: The subject of history was inserted into a generic area called Applied Human and Social Sciences and, finally, disappeared into the curricular drain
  • Letter to the presidentSquid 59mk,g 18/06/2024 By FRANCISCO ALVES, JOÃO DOS REIS SILVA JÚNIOR & VALDEMAR SGUISSARDI: “We completely agree with Your Excellency. when he states and reaffirms that 'Education is an investment, not an expense'”
  • A look at the 2024 federal strikelula haddad 20/06/2024 By IAEL DE SOUZA: A few months into government, Lula's electoral fraud was proven, accompanied by his “faithful henchman”, the Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad
  • Strengthen PROIFESclassroom 54mf 15/06/2024 By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO: The attempt to cancel PROIFES and, at the same time, turn a blind eye to the errors of ANDES management is a disservice to the construction of a new representation scenario
  • PEC-65: independence or patrimonialism in the Central Bank?Campos Neto Trojan Horse 17/06/2024 By PEDRO PAULO ZAHLUTH BASTOS: What Roberto Campos Neto proposes is the constitutional amendment of free lunch for the future elite of the Central Bank
  • Chico Buarque, 80 years oldchico 19/06/2024 By ROGÉRIO RUFINO DE OLIVEIRA: The class struggle, universal, is particularized in the refinement of constructive intention, in the tone of proletarian proparoxytones
  • Volodymyr Zelensky's trapstar wars 15/06/2024 By HUGO DIONÍSIO: Whether Zelensky gets his glass full – the US entry into the war – or his glass half full – Europe’s entry into the war – either solution is devastating for our lives
  • The melancholic end of Estadãoabandoned cars 17/06/2024 By JULIAN RODRIGUES: Bad news: the almost sesquicentennial daily newspaper in São Paulo (and the best Brazilian newspaper) is rapidly declining