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This is another achievement of Cícero Alves dos Santos, Véio. From Nossa Senhora da Glória to Paris, Venice, London, and now to Rio de Janeiro.
Sensitive man, he realized his gift quite early in life. He was aware that he was an artist, and when I met him, he knew very well that what he wanted was recognition. He got it, and that's not an easy thing to achieve. Always a sculptor, his work has gained space in the art market among collectors and institutions, such as Pinacoteca de São Paulo and Cartier Foundation in Paris. In Rio de Janeiro he is part in the collections of MAM and MAR. His name and work are known and acknowledged.
The happy association of Galeria Estação with Gustavo Rebello Galeria de Arte brought us here. Gustavo, a dear friend and admirer of Véio, has become an important partner so that the “Wonderful City” also became the stage and headquarter of this individual.
And the fact that Ronaldo Brito accepted with joy the invitation to the curatorship crowned this project. His generous and precise text is yet another step towards understanding the contemporary work of Véio. It needs to be read and assimilated because, among many attributes, it has the merit of contributing to ending false borders in art.
Suddenly into the World
What is striking is the free and frank way this imaginary fauna reaches the real. Almost always in motion, more or less as a beast comes out of the bush and suddenly appears before us. And it is not a represented movement – its own formalization is that it is busy, fast and succinct, the sculpture presents itself and interrogates us. It thus translates the modern ideal of self-sufficiency of form: it sustains its aesthetic surprise as if it wanted to appear, again and again, for the first time. I do not know, sincerely, if Véio knows Picasso and Miró. In any case, they know him, they surround his imaginary, they participate in his production process.
Given their deformity, many of these figures deserve to be included in the category of the Grotesque. They might even respond to André Breton’s celebrated surreal appeal: “Beauty will be convulsive or it will not be”. However, the fun economy of means, the spontaneity with which they come to be, a certain relaxed tone of life perhaps make them more comfortable under the heading of the Picturesque. In my eyes, at least, they do not look at all scary. Strangely familiar, they would surely have something oneiric, nevertheless never evoke the terror of the nightmare. But the main thing, what really matters is his poetic modus operandi. Notice the resourcefulness with which they match up ways and means – whatever their original enigma, its intriguing appearance, the contortions of wood never lose sight of the basic sculptural demand: the piece must stand on its own. These unlikely animals begin by facing the test of elementary reality: to exist on their own, to exercise their freedom of action.
Contrary to the canon of the so-called Brazilian Popular Art (besides, in the modest understanding of the outsider in this field, a decrepit essentialist classification), Véio’s sculptures are anything but hieratic. They do not emerge, static and ecstatic, from the depths of time, to preserve traditions and experiences swept away by the predatory action of modernity. Neither do they obey the ineradicable religiosity of a humble statuary that is usually graced – and thus aesthetically sublimated – with the aura of pure humanity. In comparison, by its casual mobility, the sculpture of Véio is decidedly profane. No one will dare to contest his mythical extraction. This is said above all by its formal findings, indissociable, of course, from its content of historical and existential truth. It attracts us just because of its contemporaneity, because it pulsates in a current imaginative life.
Immediately, without preamble, we find ourselves with a combinatory verve capable of articulating, disarticulate and rearticulate its plastic elements in a coherent and inventive way. That said, Véio would demonstrate, above all, expedient. He is the agile repentista, to improvise with the native woods of his wild habitat, accompanying or against the rhymes of its morphology, and of them take unexpected effects. Some pieces seem almost ready-made in the sertão – two or three inspired maneuvers are enough for the artist to turn the dry branches of a dead tree into a slight sculpture.
No critical text, however short and unpretentious, would be pardonable to be silent in the face of the small scandal that represents the color in the sculpture of Véio. And not only because they show open colors, without nuances or shades, extroverted and vibrant, able to compete with the brutal light of the sertão. Even his black seems susceptible to glow in the dark. The important thing is that they act substantively in the definition of the body of the sculpture, characterizing its personality. Intuitively, Véio would make a topological use of color. They promote the interaction between the parts of the pieces so as to make them a modern discontinuous Whole. The sculptures are not limited to simple figures projected against a neutral background. They react to their surroundings, they happen in the world.
Rio de Janeiro, March 2017
Sergipe born artist Véio shows sculptures in Gustavo Rebello Arte gallery
Exhibition opens on April 25, in Copacabana
April 25th through May 25th, 2017
Gustavo Rebello Art
Av. Atlântica 1702, Loja 8, Copacabana
Tel: +55 21 2548-6163
Monday to Friday, 12am to 8pm
Sergipe born Cícero Alves dos Santos, known in the art world as Véio, shows his sculptures carved in trunks, branches and roots between April 25 and May 26 at Gustavo Rebello Arte in Copacabana, this being his first solo exhibition in Rio de Janeiro. The work of this artist combines aspects of popular tradition - such as wood carving, the use of figures suggested by trunks and branches and the use of rudimentary tools - with intense colors, much closer to industrial colors than to the hues of nature.
This somewhat pop strident is intensified by a formidable imagination, which makes us see in his woods hybrid figures, which share traits of the animals we know with the androids and film and cartoon transformers. With a simple knife, Cicero sculpts diminutive forms in size, but with an enigmatic figuration, which restores the strength reduced by the scale.
Cícero Alves dos Santos lives in the vicinity of Nossa Senhora da Glória, an important city in the hinterland of Sergipe, with approximately 50 thousand inhabitants and a renowned fair in the state. The coexistence with such an ambiguous and dynamic environment certainly instigated even more the talent of this unusual “sertanejo”, who made the preservation of the memory of his people the reason for his existence, showing a rural world that is disappearing. This work has already been shown in London, in a solo exhibition at the Seeds Gallery, and has participated in a collective at the Cartier Foundation in Paris.
"When Vilma Eid from Galeria Estação approached me about a show of Véio's work, my affirmative response was immediate. The artist's work has always fascinated me, because it dialogues with the issues of current Brazilian art, it is not restricted to the label of naive and popular art, it transcends it, "analyzes the gallery owner, Gustavo Rebello.
"What attracts attention right away is the free and frank way this imaginary fauna reaches the real. Almost always in motion, more or less as a beast comes out of the bush and suddenly appears before us. I do not know, sincerely, if Véio knows Picasso and Miró. In any case, they know him, they surround his imaginary, and they participate in his production process. The fun way, the spontaneity with which they come to be, a certain relaxed tone of life, perhaps make them more comfortable under the heading of Picturesque ", analyzes the curator of the exhibition, Ronaldo Brito.
Véio is like an agile “repentista” to improvise with the native woods of its wild habitat, accompanying or contradicting the rhymes of its morphology, and taking of them unexpected effects. Some pieces seem to me almost ready-mades of the hinterlands - two or three inspired maneuvers are enough for the artist to turn the dry branches of a dead tree into a slight creature of sculpture.
"No critical text, however short and unpretentious, would be pardonable to be silent in the face of the way that color is represented in the sculpture of Véio. Not only because they show open colors, without nuances or shades, extroverted and vibrant, able to compete with the brutal light of the backlands. Even his black seems susceptible to glow in the dark. The important thing is that they act substantively in the definition of the body of the sculpture, characterizing its personality. Intuitively, Véio would make a topological use of color. They promote the interaction between the parts of the parts so as to make them a modern discontinuous Whole. The sculptures are not limited to simple figures projected against a neutral background. They react to their surroundings, they happen in the world, "analyzes the curator of the exhibition, Ronaldo Brito.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2016 - Véio, SEEDS Gallery, London - England
2015 - Desdobramentos, SESC Santo Amaro, São Paulo | SP - Brazil
2015 - Becoming Marni, a parallel to the 56th Venice Biennial, in the Abbey of St. Gregory, Venice - Italy
2014 - Cicero Alves dos Santos - Véio | Sculptures, Gallery Station, Sao Paulo | SP - Brazil
2010 - Véio | Sculptures, MAP - Museum of Popular Art, Diadema | SP - Brazil
2006 - Chipped Nation: Art and Metaphor of Véio, National Center for Folklore and Popular Culture, Edison Carneiro Museum, Rio de Janeiro | RJ - Brazil
2003 - The Things We Own, Espaço Cultural, Assembléia Legislativa, Aracajú | SE - Brazil
1999 - Art and Knowledge, Espaço Cultural, Assembléia Legislativa, Aracajú | SE - Brazil
1991 – Northeast, Tancredo Neves Culture Center, Belo Horizonte | MG - Brazil
1986 - Véio and Sergipe, Convention Center in Natal, Natal | RN – Brazil
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2015 - A private collection - Contemporary art in the Pinacoteca collection, Pinacoteca of the State of São Paulo, São Paulo - Brazil
2015 - 10th Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre | RS - Brazil
2014 - Fresas Triennial of Art Sesc Sorocaba, Sorocaba | SP - Brazil
2014 - Tatu: Football, Adversity and Culture of the Caatinga, Rio de Janeiro Art Museum, Rio de Janeiro | RJ - Brazil
2014 - Almost figure, almost form, Galeria Estação, São Paulo | SP - Brazil
2014 - Vivid Memories, Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, Paris - France
2013 - Crossed Worlds: ART AND POPULAR IMAGINARY, MAM, Rio de Janeiro | RJ
2012 - Histoires de Voir, Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, Paris - France
2012 - Teimosia da Imaginação - ten Brazilian artists, Paço Imperial, Rio de Janeiro | RJ - Brazil
2012 - Teimosia da Imaginação - ten Brazilian artists, Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo | SP - Brazil
2010 - Brazilian art beyond the System, Galeria Estação, São Paulo | SP - Brazil
2009 - Voices of the Imaginary, National Center for Folklore and Popular Culture - Edison Carneiro Museum, Rio de Janeiro | RJ - Brazil
2001 - All together, Galeria Pé de Boi, Rio de Janeiro | RJ – Brazil
PUBLIC / INSTITUTIONAL COLLECTIONS
Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris - France
Pavilion of the Brazilian Cultures, São Paulo | SP - Brazil
Pinacoteca of the State of São Paulo, São Paulo | SP - Brazil
MAR – Rio de Janeiro | RJ - Brazil
MAM - Rio de Janeiro | RJ - Brazil
AfroBrasil Museum, São Paulo | SP - Brazil
SESC – Belenzinho, São Paulo| SP - Brazil
SESC – Santo Amaro, São Paulo | SP - Brazil