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Considerations About Eternal Life

by Elisa Byington

 

In the beginning there was drawing. A sharp drawing, with harmonious colors, shadows that shape the forms with balance, volumes that embrace the paper or canvas’ surface, as if belonging to them. Drawing is a mental issue, above all. The materialization of an idea in an image is the result of the well-trained hand, capable of shaping what one has in mind[1].

Walmor Corrêa has been drawing since he can remember. And even when he paints, he’s drawing. The precise outlines, the delicate chromatic relations, the definition that suggests some closeness to the model, they all emphasize the drawing as supreme expression, a privileged vehicle of observation and knowledge, intellectual speculation and poetic phantasy. This instrument, perfected early on, allowed the artist to choose the language of scientific illustrations for his work, an artifice that can mimic his creative process in a universe from different the visual arts’ one and resourcefully navigate scientific researches and poetic fictions.

For Leonardo, knowing how to draw gave the painter knowledge of anatomy, superior to doctors. Unlike his fellow artist, who were interested in the plasticity issues of the classic statues’ models, for the Florentine artist the main challenge was the faithful reproduction of nature, faithful as a mirror, so that it becomes a “second nature”[2]. At that time, the collaboration between scientists and artist wasn’t reduced to anatomy, but also happened in deciphering new geometries and ancient texts. The artists new how to give visual form to thoughts, and important aspect in understanding fields of knowledge.

Walmor’s poetics feeds from this border where science and imagination mutually nurture one another. But his work is situated in a further point in history, when naturalistic collections are already featured in large illustrated books, framed following a codified template of text and image. The artist uses taxonomic drawing methods and models with which he brings to life fantastic hybrids, worthy of medieval bestiaries, whose bone structures and anatomic particularities are exposed with a scientific realism in the series Metamorfoses e heterogonías (2007), leaving no doubt regarding their existence. In parallel, he investigates the physiology of legendary beings, such as curupiras[N.T] and mermaids, revealing their internal organs – and even performing an EKG on the romantic bewitcher of men.

Walmor’s art doesn’t purport to formal innovations. It feeds on the ambiguities of visuality, the illusions of science. THE certainties of the imagination and the concreteness of subjectivity, debating Cartesian Manichaeism.

What could the eight portraits in this current work be? The hardly recognizable unornamented heads – despite their celebrity status – are Clementina de Jesus, Pixinguinha, Grande Otelo, Lupicínio, Clarice, Drummond, Villa-Lobos and Oswald de Andrade. What were the painter’s intentions with this pantheon of musicians and poets with their brains exposed? The colors emphasize different areas, meaningfully, as well as the words that surround them indicate qualities.

Walmor investigates the reach of Cognitive Portraits, the science that mixes behavior, mind and brain, psychology and neuroscience, exploring new aspects of knowledge. For each of personalities, he choses an emblem, a visual image, and object with which he translates the “melancholy core”, a kind of synthesis of each person, able to concentrate the narratives he selected in his research.

The relational structure between the parts that compose the quadriptiques – ramified diagrams – mixes science and concrete poetry. Working side by side with neurologists, the artist seeks to map the eternal life of his chosen subjects, the virtues for which they remain alive in our culture and in his personal life – and a problem for which his work tries to find a concrete and definitive solution.

 

[1] The conception about the mental aspect of drawing was frequent among artists in turn of the 15th to 16th centuries. Leonardo focuses especially on the mental superiority of painting over sculpture in the dispute for primacy in the arts. Leonardo, Libro di Pintura (Codice Urbinate), org. C. Pedretti, ed. Giunti. Florence, 1995, l, p. 153; the fiery complete formulation regarding the relation between mind and hard in drawing is Vasari, Le vice de’più excellent pittori (…), 1568, org G. Milanesi, ed. Sansoni, 1906-1998, Florence, l, p. 169.

[2] Leonardo, Libro di Pittura, Idem, p. 173

[N.T.] Mythological being from Brazilian folklore whose feet are turned backwards.