The exhibition Coupure, latence presents new works of the Brazilian artist Pablo Lobato, on the occasion of its first personal exhibition in Paris at Bendana | Pinel Art Contemporain.
Before starting any reflection on Pablo Lobato´s work one can notice an urgent appeal to the touch through the images. The artist once said that his work happens more from meetings than from searches. I believe he´s that emphatic because meetings are always open to the unpredictable and inevitably negotiate a mutual dynamic. Meetings activate singularities both in the conscience of alterity and in self-knowledge. This also finds resonance with many procedures by the artist in which his will is to react to the materials, not exactly intervening on them but hearing and answering to their mute predispositions. In that case, touching would be a very sensitive quality of approaching as much as of exchanging.
The very sensual gesture of piercing fruits to only reach for their seeds in “Muda” calls for the sense of touch just like the beam of light that projects the film “1000 x 1” is almost tangible and is an essential part the work as is the screening image that it reproduces. “Desvio”, for instance, establishes in the gaze the need to become tactile. The photograph shows a very rustic barrier made of brick partially lead the water down.
This sense of disenchantment is also present in “Front Light”, when a conscious change on the point of view of big advertising billboards can set aside such seductive rhetoric.By presenting the actual structure in which images take place, such a fragile thickness, the artificiality of advertising images become finally visible. The cut here brings a sense of materiality that confronts elusive discourses.
The ground´s flaws and stains are subtle signs of the topography and watercourse, layers of time and memory, a long-term weaving texture printed on the pavement. The space that announces the absent water flux is also where it is summoned. What is interesting is that the implications of those traces although visual information, point to the limits of our comprehension, the outskirts of representation. Closer to intuitive affection, they somehow have the nature of touching.
The intensity of the image overtakes the retinal capacities and calls for a generous phenomenological gaze. That statement is recurrent in Pablo Lobato´s art practice. With simple gestures, low materiality and non-expressive motifs the artist wants to intensively engage our gaze in experience, without exceeding neither the rhetoric nor the visibility of images. However, such stealth and delicacy don’t prevent the artist from precision and assertiveness, as we can see plenty strategies of intervening images, objects, spaces and ideas, all defined by him, radically and simply, as cuts.
The majority of the works gathered in the exhibiton “Coupure, Latence” deal with multiple procedures of cutting, that are understood and resorted by Pablo Lobato in its material terms and meaning possibilities. Although the notion of cutting might have migrated from the cinema and from the editing vocabulary, so familiar to the artist, he doesn’t understand it as a technical tool but as an expanded gesture, a thinking process. Therefore, he mobilizes the heritage of cinema promoting a migration of this language’s instruments to the field of arts and vice versa. Most of his artistic proposals are located in this reversibility zone between the discipline fields of cinema and arts. In this sense, the notion of cut in Pablo Lobato´s work has been redesigned, recontextualized and expanded in many works and it can be considered central to his artistic purposes.
No classification could be comfortable, no category could be productive when we think about a work like “1000 x 1”, eventhough the notion of cut would outline some of the complex exchanges, procedures and implications built in this work. It consists of a real 16mm equipment projecting repeatedly and statically the same image of a lightning crossing the sky. The materiality of the light manifests itself in the image and in its mode presentation. Therefore, none of the lights are neutral. More than a interface, the image disposes a circuit, perhaps resisting to the media, perhaps deeply unveiling its structure, perhaps liberating idle but powerful energy. As handled by Pablo Lobato, the cut certainly admits the meaning effects that can be generated only by touching the materiality of the language.
In critical dialogue with philosophical constructions such as the concepts of “Coupure-Flux” from Gilles Deleuze or “Métastabilité” by Gilbert Simondon, both defining states of latent potential, Pablo Lobato operates his cuts expecting not to reduce but to achieve a multiplication effect.
The word “Muda” defines a portion of a plant that can be replanted, that has the basic elements and requirements that allow reproduction. With his own hands Pablo has penetrated the fruits to extract the seeds from their inside. The photographs of “Muda” bring the register of this traumatic event so far from an idealistic representation and also the very seeds that were collected, now dry and are forever trapped inside the frames as dead witnesses. To prune trees would also be a perfect image to qualify a cut that promotes enlargements by subtracting. It´s the inspiration for the title of “Poda”, a flower vase, previously a decent simulacrum of nature, now cut by its side having its artificial consistence revealed.
Júlio Martins, curator
* Este texto será traducido posteriormente