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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.

Ronaldo Brito
Rio de Janeiro, March 2017