Rafael Carneiro appeared as talented representative of the new generation of painters who are part of Sao Paulo’s contemporary art scenario. Having developed various techniques, he has opted to refine his favorite: oil on large- scale canvases, where he combines traces from a variety of schools of art to come up with results that are as much innovative as they are seductive.
Carneiro’s exhibit in Montevideo consists of a series of paintings and designs that originate in interventions or drawings made on previously printed images. The second stage in his work implies the scanning of such images to turn them into paintings. The logic behind the interventions lies in the re-creation, the repetition or the boycott of the original meaning of the images found, by means of simple interventions such as vectors or lines connecting points within the image’s field. Their significance suddenly appears to benefit from the possibilities arising from the images in themselves, or as a result of the process. In the end, the displacement of the original image, its printing, and the intervention yield a painting aimed at leveling off linguistic differences with a kind of ghostly outcome. With the same treatment for materials in the different component parts (printed image and interventions), the paintings transport us to a limbo where the image’s own construction chronology is considered.
As it happened with this artist’s previous series of paintings –where he dealt with the reproduction of spaces like industrial warehouses, or the snapshots from filming done with surveillance cameras, or even collage pieces made up of clippings from vintage magazines and images from encyclopedias–, the palette of colors and the composition expressed on these canvasses clearly reveal Carneiro’s rigorous technique. This, in combination with his ability to generate a sense of displacement in his spectators, leads to a prevailing subtle ambiguity of space, time, symbology and the materiality of the painting itself, all of which become keenly reformulated.
According to Pascal, in his book on Fronto, and regarding the nature of literature and his pursuit of images: “Narrative should not be assumed first-hand (which in turn characterizes the account’s personal and human ways) because romance is a dragon. It should be impossible for the reader to set hand on what he reads. Roman narrative would lose its unpredictability if reasonability were subjected to a viewpoint. Without its unpredictability, it would also lack the shock that results from its own violence. And without its oddness, it would also lose its amazement… For a text’s pleasure to remain unpredictable, the reader must not know where the desire will be coming from. Desire cannot be affirmed as a SELF, nor should it have a countenance; it may only desire and challenge.”*
Rather than an attack on the first person in the narrative, that distance evidences the defense of unpredictability in the treatment of language. In diverse poetic traditions, music was the element that conveyed the chance required for a sound desire. Its external logic bent the reason of the right gaps and conveyed unpredictability and humor to revelations. As a cradle amidst such references, the pieces proposed are intended to function like a sort of “rebus” (figurative conundrum where words or sentences are expressed by means of pictures or symbols whose names resemble almost the same sounds of the words or sentences they are representing). The conundrums emerge from different fields of language, resembling a way of
hunting, where they acquire the aspect of a different weapon at each lodge.
(*quote of Pascal Quignard: Marco Cornélio Frontão – 1st Treatise on Speculative Rhetoric)