Ronaldo de Castro Garcia
(version by Anthony Doyle)
In 2009, in the middle of one bitch of crisis, those old questions pop up again, as if they`d ever really left me: why do art at all, and why does it attract me so? That takes me straight back to my boy, surrounded by knives and naked women. I hope there are no psychoanalysts reading this!
Since the first time I took pencil in hand I knew I`d make a lousy draughtsman, despite my best efforts. But that in no way dented my interest in art—in making and modifying images–, quite the contrary. I started looking for others who, like me, believe that art didn`t lie in drawing from observation or in still life. If I had to make a living drawing or painting people as they`d like to be portrayed I`d certainly die of hunger, thought I strongly suspect that every artist in this country- with the enormous difficulties it has in understanding the importance of this figure as a nurturer of culture- is on the verge of perishing of precisely that complaint.
With my university studies on the subject, specifically at Escola Guignard (UEMG), a forum for the most interesting debates on art and a platform from which some major artists have been launched onto the international scene, I began to see art through more mature eyes and a more childlike heart. I realized that my lack of patience to dedicate myself to mastering appearances wasn`t so much a defect as a trait. And discovery of oil on canvas, that old staple that, for me, will never fall out of fashion, was all I needed to convince me that I would be doing this for the rest of my days.
One way or another, as we have no control over life, thought I walk through the shadows of the Valley of Death, I shall fear no evil`s, because, in addition to my love of art, I also have a passion for Law, and as a lawyer, the shadows of the Valley of Death are as many would say, my natural habitat. What matters is that all those issues I believe to be important will always find space in my artistic labour, whatever the technique I find each issue demands, but especially my favorite medium, oil.
Having understood that art was more than just the simple production of images with the pretension of abiding is space and time, particularly the space and time of some lady`s living room, I have dedicated myself to this practice as it to an addiction. In all professions, people decide what they want to be and dedicate themselves to that goal; but in art, for those truly born to art, the reality is quite another: the artist does his work because he can`t not do it.
But what is it that blinds us to the production, fruition of, or mere curiosity about, this thing called Art? What lies behind the smile of the Mona Lisa that makes so many seek her out as if on a pilgrimage to some sacred relic? Who is it that determines the importance of this or that object and decides what should or should not be raised on a pedestal and recognised as Art? I have developed millions of theories in answer to these questions, each the perfect contradiction of the other, but I discovered that no single man can determine the nature of Art, but can only produce his share of it, because he could not do otherwise, even if he tried.
Having had first-hand experience of the system that encompasses the production, discussion, and, albeit viewed from a certain distance, the sale of what will call art, at least for the time being, I can now say that the situation is even more complex than I had previously thought. Among all of the elements that have their say in whether or not a given object can be designated “art”, we have the interests of the artists themselves in creating the work; the gallery owners, who sift through the output in search of the objects best suited to their largely moneyed clientele, who, advised by those same gallery owners as to what is and is not “interesting” decide which artworks to hang in their “well-decorated” apartments; and host of others punters, such a critics, who spend so much time discussing art they have none left to really think it, and the cultural producers- the latter wholly indispensible!
Over the course of my travels across this bogland of art, I have been lucky enough to stumble upon some unrivalled opportunities, including the Center of Experimentation and Information In Art seminar entitled “Painting Beyond Painting”, which gathered artists and thinkers in a warehouse for a number of days and even some nights to contemplate, produce, and debate painting and its place and pertinence in this postindustrial world. What lies beyond painting? This question still makes me swoon, but these artistic encounters have left an indelible mark.
My line of research has always been based around the theme of “man and his social relations”. I have always believed that Art is politics. Even when we have no political will, in the strict sense of the term, we always take side when we produce art. Even when we attempt to shirk our responsibility as questioners of the system in which we live, we are political. There is no escaping the fact. Mankind is a creature that lives politics with each breath, and the artist is no different.
The experience that unfolded at the seminar was enriching for all who had the opportunity to participate in some way. So many different minds with such similar interests. It was a huge atelier that not only turned out works of art, but in which relationships between interesting people were formed or strengthened. Debates, laughter, coffees, cakes, and beers all helped in my search for the work that is such a big part of my life.
As for the rest, I don`t know. Fumbling around for an answer to the question “what lies beyond painting” I found the world. A world that will go on having bitches of crises, bur will at least still have painting and Art in general.
Life is void without Art, and art, impoverished without painting.
Publicado no Livro “Pintura além da Pintura”- Centro de Experimentação e Informação de arte” -2011- pag. 302/303
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