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Exposio de 12 de maio a 01 de agosto de 2007

INTRODUO
LUIZ GUILHERME VERGARA
Diretor Geral do MAC de Niteri

Nem todos os artistas fizeram uma trajetria convencional, passando pela academia ou pelas etapas e exigncias para a formao artstica. Este o caso da to singular e rpida passagem de Paulo Roberto Leal (1946-1991), que iniciou sua carreira em 1970, no ano seguinte se apresentava na XI Bienal de So Paulo e em 1980 chegava Bienal de Veneza. Porm, devemos acrescentar que notrio o desafio a todas as instituies formais da arte, museus, academia e a prpria crtica, no sculo XX, acompanhar a amplitude inesgotvel dos meios de expresso, das rupturas das vanguardas experimentalistas com relao s convenes de suportes e categorias tradicionais dos discursos e prticas artsticas. Certamente reconhecemos o papel inaugural de Courbet e mais tarde dos impressionistas, que se rebelaram contra o confinamento dos meios de expresso aos cnones das escolas e sales de arte no sculo XIX, que no acompanhavam a velocidade das transformaes da vida moderna. A partir de ento, e at hoje, multiplicaram-se as diferentes formas de engajamentos artsticos em experincias diretamente ligadas desconstruo dos componentes da criao e recepo com os quais se organizam as aes comunicativas nas instituies onde se ritualizam os encontros entre arte e sociedade, principalmente aqueles que expandem o engajamento plurissensorial do espectador. Expor Paulo Roberto Leal investir nesse compromisso do museu de arte contempornea com sua condio de laboratrio de linguagens e meios de expresso que conduzem a histria da arte contempornea brasileira, sem perder o afeto e a preocupao com a comunicao humana pela arte. Especial elogio dedicamos sensibilidade e intuio de Joo Sattamini, que investiu na produo desse artista, o que nos permite hoje revermos sua trajetria com to ampla viso. Nesta ocasio cabe registrar o apoio em especial de Armando Mattos e do Projeto Concreto, assim como Mrcio e Fernanda Barbosa, que to cordialmente nos cederam preciosas obras que

preenchem as lacunas da nossa coleo.

DA MATRIA NASCE A FORMA DA ARTE NASCE A VIDA


Vises mltiplas entre arte e processo
LUIZ GUILHERME VERGARA
Diretor Geral do MAC de Niteri

A partir do momento em que todos pudessem criar, talvez o termo arte perdesse o seu sentido tradicional passaria, ento, a ser vida.
PAULO ROBERTO LEAL

As vanguardas do sculo XX, principalmente aquelas ligadas s razes construtivas, com certeza passaram de uma gerao para outra um dos mais desafiantes legados para um estudo mais abrangente sobre o desenvolvimento das estruturas mentais envolvidas na inveno artstica (termo proposto pelo movimento internacional de arte concreta), tanto as aes artsticas quanto sua percepo e recepo na sociedade. Ainda esto muito pouco estudadas as estruturas de percepo e expresso que se acumulam na trajetria das prticas artsticas. Como no caso de Paulo Roberto Leal, estas obras podem servir como campo potencial de experincias, que nos remetem a uma revoluo permanente dos processos cognitivos. Nesse sentido se prope repensar a arte como formas em expanso de conhecimento. Da, como compromisso deste museu de arte contempornea, devemos nos debruar sobre esses acervos e colees, no apenas como um conjunto de objetos estticos fora do tempo e das vivncias interpretativas, mas tambm como processos de passagens de uma vontade de expresso entre matria e pensamento-forma, e ento para novas formas de percepo e conhecimento expandido. Em outras palavras, os desafios comunicativos das sucessivas expanses dos conceitos de arte tambm so para as estruturas mentais de cognio e percepo. Este estatuto no mais de um objeto isolado, mas das estticas dialogais, ou relacionais, cada obra de arte vista como proposio de situaes e aes comunicativas inauguradoras de novas formas de linguagem e conhecimento. Estas mudanas em processo atingem diretamente os padres que regem da academia aos museus, principalmente os de arte contempornea, exi-

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gindo que tais instituies sejam repensadas no somente do ponto de

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vista das categorias documentais para a histria da arte, da esttica ou da antiarte, mas como laboratrios de uma nova tica das trocas simblicas, como construes dialogais de pensamento-forma / conhecimento. Assim, ao apresentarmos a trajetria experimental de Paulo Roberto Leal, to embasada na herana neoconcreta, resgatamos a importncia das colees e dos museus, como Mario Pedrosa apontou: um desafiante paralaboratrio. dentro dele (o museu) que se pode compreender o que se chama de arte experimental, de inveno.1 Toda obra que se apresenta em um museu, por mais que seja experimental, inusitada ou fora das convenes, traz uma histria de rupturas e referncias. Paulo Roberto, a partir dos anos 70, ao mesmo tempo que se nutre das conquistas da liberdade experimental acumuladas por diferentes geraes artsticas, leva adiante uma produo tambm conceitual que se vincula ao programa construtivo brasileiro iniciado na dcada de 50. Desta forma, ele atualiza um longo debate internacional de movimentos vinculados arte concreta, Bauhaus e escola de Ulm de Max Bill, que atravessaram as Amricas no sculo XX. Paulo Roberto resgata em suas proposies uma histria de programas de aes e inveno artsticas, tanto no Brasil (anos 50) quanto na Argentina (anos 40), que ultrapassavam uma busca pela autonomia e isolamento da esfera esttica pura. Por trs das invenes plsticas dessas vanguardas histricas, estavam tambm movimentos de engajamento poltico e aspiraes coletivas por uma reforma social pela arte ou a arte sendo parte desta. Rever esta histria da arte concreta, na Argen12

1 PEDROSA, Mario. Arte experimental e museus. In: ARANTES, Otlia. Poltica das Artes 1. So Paulo: Edusp, 1995.

2 Deste perodo de intensa agitao e criao se fundaram os grupos Madi e a Associao de Arte ConcretaInveno (1945-47). Em suas publicaes e estudos constavam as referncias s idias e experincias (invenes) de Malevich, Mondrian, Jean Arp, Kurt Schwitters, Rodchenko, Lszl Moholy-Nagy e Max Bill.

se apresenta nesta mostra as aspiraes que passam de uma gerao para outra, assim como os distintos momentos sociais e polticos que do solo cultural s expresses artsticas. Enquanto, a partir do trmino da Segunda Guerra Mundial, ambos os pases passavam por processos de mudanas progressistas, contrapondo as destruies na Europa, eram potencializadas as plataformas otimistas prmodernizao de suas economias e sociedade, sob as estratgias polticas dos governos de Getlio Vargas e Juan Pern. J na dcada de 40, o argentino Toms Maldonado se juntava a um grupo de artistas interessados em uma reforma radical pela arte engajada em processos que pudessem se vincular s teorias marxistas e ao materialismo dialtico. Os artistas concretos buscavam por experimentaes que pudessem abrir novos caminhos para uma esttica anticapitalista.2 Os argentinos e, mais tarde, os brasileiros, se alinham s praticas e idias da arte concreta como formas de luta para uma reforma social em oposio, tanto ao expressionismo abstrato da escola de Nova York, quanto ao niilismo ou existencialismo com o qual a Europa ps-guerra se refazia ou desfazia de suas esperanas em futuro ou em qualquer possvel crena nos domnios da razo capitalista-industrial. O experimentalismo dessas geraes levou a propostas que deslocavam o valor artstico dos processos de criao subjetiva para mtodos intencionais, quase-cientficos, chamados de inveno de objetos artsticos como mquinas estticas, esculturas cinticas, sistemas articulados e, principalmente, adotando o senso dadasta de jogo e acaso. Este esprito de confluncia entre arte e reforma social, arte e inveno, passava tambm para uma
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tina e no Brasil, significa ampliar o alcance do que

proposio coletiva dos fazeres e saberes artsticos. Este estado de inveno atravessa dcadas e cruza fronteiras, entre Europa, Argentina fecundando a Associao de Arte Concreta-Inveno e o Grupo Madi , e mais tarde, no Brasil, o Grupo Ruptura, os concretos e neoconcretos brasileiros. O que era parte de uma pedagogia na escola Bauhaus avanava na Argentina e no Brasil para uma relao interdisciplinar entre linguagens artsticas, da geometria cintica (do movimento) para uma arquitetura cintica, juntamente com esculturas e pinturas que pudessem ser articuladas, tocadas e ter suas formas manipuladas e manualmente alteradas. Estes so os atributos conceituais que vemos ressurgir na produo do Paulo Roberto Leal nos anos 70. Por exemplo, quando se oferecem ao pblico papis para serem enrolados como tubos formando um processo coletivo e acumulativo (aberto e infinito) de escultura ambiental. Nos anos 60 e 70 esta abertura da obra para proposies de processos ligados aos movimentos de contracultura, antiarte, tambm chamada de desmaterializao do objeto artstico, expande o conceito de arte para ao/situao, que atinge principalmente o entendimento do valor do objeto artstico, no mais como um ato fechado e isolado. Jean Arp foi um dos pioneiros dessa reformulao do papel do artista como um propositor de construes e atividades coletivas, que inclusive chegava a propor que no se assinasse
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Habitantes, 1981. Acrlica sobre madeira.

vai resgatar esta proposio coletiva de experincia artstica antiobjeto. Estas instigaes antiarte certamente esto carregadas de ironia dadasta, mas tambm j antecipavam uma tica emergente hoje de buscar formas de construo coletiva, tanto do conhecimento quanto da arte. nesta linha que Lygia Clark se inspirava para apontar para o fim do artista, dando lugar a uma atitude de agentes ou agenciadores de novos comportamentos compartilhados em esculturas coletivas com bases no afeto. O que se confirma na afirmao de Paulo Roberto Leal: A partir do momento em que todos pudessem criar, talvez o termo arte perdesse o seu sentido tradicional passaria ento a ser vida. Nas caixas de Paulo Roberto Leal, vemos tais convergncias entre processo e participao coletiva. Essas tendncias a invenes de objetos cinticos e participativos fizeram parte de uma busca maior das vanguardas de esquerda voltadas para as aspiraes marxistas, tendo como estratgia principal articular processos artsticos com atividades coletivas. As experimentaes tanto na Argentina quanto no Brasil se tornaram parte de uma grande escola de bases construtivas vinculadas s estruturas geomtricas dinmicas (arte cintica) que ultrapassaram a pura matemtica de Max Bill, e suas aspiraes a um discurso universal. No entanto, todas elas enfrentaram a difcil superao da rigidez da racionalidade da arte concreta para o que pode ser chamado de geometria sensvel, territrios de vivncias, que culminaram com a experincia neoconcreta (1959-1961). Com as costuras, dobras ao acaso, fitas colocadas acidentalmente dentro de caixas, Paulo Roberto tensiona este confinamento da racionalidade para alm das grades geomtricas com o orgnico, cintico e participativo. Um outro desdobramento dessa trajetria da arte concreta, que podemos observar nesta mostra, so os programas de inveno e os processos construtivos que cada artista leva ao seu limite, expandindo a potncia da arte do objeto esttico para a sua fruio, envolvendo a participao coletiva nos sistemas de fazeres-percepo, to bem declarada por Ferreira Gullar na Teoria do No-Objeto. O no-objeto no um antiobjeto, mas um objeto especial em que se pretende realizada a sntese de experincias sensoriais e mentais: um corpo
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mais autoria da obra. Nos anos 60 o grupo Fluxus

transparente ao conhecimento fenomenolgico.3 Esse percurso da arte concreta e dos estados de inveno um pouco da histria na qual Paulo Roberto se insere e que ele resgata para sua gerao e as futuras. A arquitetura do MAC de Niteri os ideais de reforma social pela arte no deixam de funcionar em sinergia com essas aspiraes revolucionrias que embasam a genealogia da produo de Paulo Roberto. Ao mesmo tempo que reconhecemos o valor desse legado das vanguardas do sculo XX, os museus, tais como o MAC, tm importante compromisso com a desalienao desses tesouros da liberdade criativa, guardados nos tradicionais cativeiros das colees. Mas no basta reapresentlos para a contemplao passiva do pblico, como mais um inventrio das vanguardas do nosso to recente passado de arte. preciso agregar novos olhares, lanar novas luzes sobre o que subjaz na base desses impulsos da mente criadora e sua participao em processos coletivos e sociais. O que se expe na mostra de Paulo Roberto est alm dos objetos e suas bases geomtricas, o ato criador ou ao inventiva que se faz com a matria, que por sua vez se refaz e se ressignifica como pensamento-forma. Da, o museu de arte contempornea se torna tambm um territrio de passagens e refluxos das foras psquicas (subjetividade artstica-humana em ao) e histricas (geografia dos movimentos artsticos) presentes nos processos ligados a essas obras. Como potencializar novas percepes sobre essas obras j to comentadas e reverenciadas pelos olhares ansiosos das crticas especializadas, que tanto contriburam na documentao dos processos e materiais com os quais Paulo Roberto moveu e
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3 FERREIRA, Gullar. Teoria do no-objeto. In: AMARAL, Aracy. Projeto construtivo brasileiro na arte: 1950-1962. Rio de Janeiro: FUNARTE, 1977.

Por todo este percurso expositivo no MAC, onde as sries conceituais de Paulo Roberto so distribudas, somos tomados por uma tenso aparentemente superficial ou formal, mas que esconde toda uma gravidade e ambigidade das estticas e produes artsticas ps-anos 60: a repetio e a diferena. O filsofo francs Gilles Deleuze publica em 1968, em Paris, um ensaio filosfico que explora justamente a interseo desses opostos. Na obra e na vida de Paulo Roberto podemos rever essas dobraduras que simultaneamente so repetio e diferena. Paulo Roberto as inventa ou desloca da rotina bancria; do repetir burocrtico e automatizado dos clculos e acmulos de fitas de papis, renasce o artista para a diferena inaugural a potica, o engenho da imaginao. Se a cincia busca mtodos e leis
Uma nova fase, 1973/74. Dobradura de papel colorido e acrlico. Acervo Mrcio e Fernanda Barbosa. Entrelinhas, 1978. Linha de seda e acrlico. Acervo Projeto Concreto. Des-mo-vem, 1972. Dobradura de papel couch. Tecido branco e acrlico. Acervo Projeto Concreto.

para que se projete, domine e controle a natureza, ou a vida, pela repetio; se a rotina dos relgios das fbricas, das linhas de produo, necessita para levar perfeio a ordem da repetio; se toda a vida moderna se constituiu de uma base reprodutiva pela repetio mecnica de padres, como este mesmo sculo poderia transformar a repetio e serialidade em estesias, estranhamento e diferena? A gerao ps-moderna, dos anos 70, incluindo Paulo Roberto Leal, teria um entendimento bastante claro sobre esta critica automao mecnica da cultura industrial, ou dos manifestos utpicos de uma esttica total no mundo, como a da gerao de Mondrian projetou para o futuro. Neste jogo ou tentativas de flerte entre a arte e cultura
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multiplicou seus meios de expresso?

de massa-industrial, surgiram buscas estticas capazes de criar potncias de diferenciar pela repetio, repetir pela diferena. Assim, na genealogia das caixas de Paulo Roberto est uma sntese entre heranas e movimentos nacionais, tais como o neoconcreto, e tambm internacionais, como a arte concreta e mais tarde o minimalismo, a arte conceitual e a arte povera. Porm, ao invs de tender, como os artistas minimalistas americanos dos anos 70, para as exploraes e ocupaes de grandes parques industriais, buscou opostamente tirar da monumentalidade, da serialidade mecnica, uma expresso de ambivalncia (diferena) entre conceito e afeto, como expresso crtica e potica de um estado de ser j ps-moderno, pois no esconde a subjetividade em nome de formulaes universais da arte. Paulo Roberto traz para as suas primeiras caixas armagens armao (repetio) e imagem (diferena). Traz para a simplicidade da repetio a contundncia da ambigidade (diferena), chamando nossa ateno para as coisas pequenas e simples do cotidiano como um monge zen budista. Da repetio nasce o transbordamento e desse vazamento se desvia tambm da neurose para a criao-inveno artstica a diferena. Sua srie de Armagens, com fitas de papis, feita de fluxos que entram e saem de caixas, agora, descalculadoras. Se reconhecem padres e repeties, mesmos tamanhos, mesmos papis, dobraduras, mas a qualidade vem da diferena de ritmos nos jogos do acaso. Se a cincia busca conforto naquilo que possa ser previsto pela projeo e repetio, a arte busca qualidade pela diferena. Paulo Roberto joga como economista e artista pela disciplina e mtodo da repetio e alcana o sabor das diferenas mnimas. Da matria (da vida ou da morte da repetio) nasce a forma, a singularidade inaugural da diferena. Da sua arte extremamente conceitual pois se d pela clareza do encontro entre matria e forma, ou matria e luz; pensar com a matria: pensamento-forma, que dialeticamente se alternam na matria que forma o pensamento e no pensar que materializa a forma, unidos pela dobradura em matria e luz-forma. Cabe a todos ns colocarmos novos focos no apenas na trajetria do artista que se revela pelo fio que articula e une os diferentes est18
Sem ttulo, dcada de 70. Madeira, bobina e papel. Acervo Projeto Concreto.

descobriu j enquanto jovem. Mais ainda, lembramos, como uma gestalt entre o artista e sua poca, as mudanas de cenrios entre as trs principais dcadas nas quais este artista e indivduo se formou dos anos de chumbo (anos 60) at a abertura e as festas dos anos 80. preciso reconhecer como cada artista enfrenta, juntamente com toda a sua gerao, o duelo ou o dueto diante dos valores e olhares da crtica vigentes. Por um lado, os estranhamentos causados pela ruptura ou desvio para o novo; por outro, a frieza com que a crtica moderna trata a repetio. No caso do Paulo Roberto Leal, sua breve trajetria est intensamente imbricada com o percurso da crtica no Rio de Janeiro dos 70 aos 80. Ao mesmo tempo, travamos contato com as diferentes etapas das descobertas alqumicas deste artista, da passagem da matria (caos) para a forma (ordem, logos e linguagem+arte); de uma matria simples, mundana, reciclada da vida, ligada ao cotidiano do no-artista (bancrio), para a forma artstica. Juntamente com a iniciao como artista, Paulo Roberto se revela como inventor de novas ordens comunicativas, sistemas polissmicos, que muitas vezes foram abordados pelas lentes crticas de sua poca cuja proximidade com o artista e seus processos revelavam alto grau de ateno com o processo e os materiais. Verdadeiras prolas poticas eram
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gios de sua obra, mas tambm na trajetria da crtica que o percebeu e

inspiradas na matria lcida produzida pelo jovem artista. Roberto Pontual pode ser considerado um caso especial: Aqui, nessas caixas lmpidas em que o desenho feito luz se desenovela como um ponto imvel do exato sonho em andamento convergem o acaso e seu controle: h uma finita infinitude de formas aguardando a vontade de algum que as desencadeie e dome. H, sobretudo, nelas, um exemplo subterrneo de liberdade; o pssaro est contido, sim, mas ainda sobrevive de seu canto. Pontual se une por completo produo do artista com respostas muito mais poticas, que ultrapassavam preocupaes do juzo crtico no sentido de no se concentrarem no julgamento comparativo de valores, mas na inaugurao de sentidos em cada nova obra. Em Mover, multiplicando4, Pontual sintetiza a tenso construtivista de diferenciar pela repetio e repetir pela diferenciao. O artista inaugura sua carreira com uma srie de obras de alto grau de complexidade e ambigidade, entre armao (construo e estrutura) e imagem (magia) as armagens; as caixas se multiplicam, cada uma mais semelhante que a outra e to diferente. A ambigidade est tambm no nome, principalmente dentro do contexto de represso militar dos anos 70; nome e forma das armagens poderiam ser revistos como proteo pela arte. Da tambm era necessrio a Paulo Roberto dar novos nomes nominar para suas invenes, assim como vrios artistas da gerao neoconcreta o fizeram, como cientistas-inventores de mquinas.5 Pois suas caixas, ou armaes, armagens ou desmovem, so nomes que apontam para aes e operaes ligadas manipulao ou percepo in20

4 ROBERTO, Pontual. Mover multiplicando. In: LEAL, Paulo Roberto. Paulo Roberto Leal: mltiplos. Rio de Janeiro: Galeria de Arte Ipanema, 1971. 5 Hlio Oiticica nominou como Metaesquemas suas pinturas esquemticas geomtricas que adquiriam um outra dimenso metafsica. Como Blides chamou suas caixas, vidros e latas, com coletas e assemblagens de materiais e pigmentos.

6 MORAIS, Frederico. O papel do artista/o tecido da arte. Rio de Janeiro: Galeria de Arte Ipanema, 1976

e tambm desarticuladoras das ordens lgicas, falam de uma revoluo do caos sobre a ordem e progresso, sem armas, de movimentos e desmovimentos movncia e desmovncia, Pontual descreve. So inofensivas revolues pelas dobraduras da lgica em no-lgica, transbordamentos e desvios das cincias exatas, do positivismo da economia do milagre brasileiro dos anos 70 para as incertezas e futuras inflaes sem controle. Estas caixas, to singelas, se repetem e se repetem como metforas dos desbundes da contracultura, da antiarte, da morte da pintura, e todas as catedrais que ruram durante um sculo de duas guerras mundiais. Nascido em 1946, Paulo Roberto Leal traz do bero o alvio do ps-guerra, o peso da guerra fria, o vo dos astronautas, a Coca-cola e o nascimento da televiso. Da, como define Frederico Morais: Paulo Roberto Leal um artista do tipo novo, ps-moderno. Jamais cursou qualquer escola de belas-artes, tampouco teve mestres particulares. Seu aprendizado resultado de um convvio com artistas e crticos.6 No final dos anos 50, Mario Pedrosa lanava mo dos saltos de Hlio Oiticica e Lygia Clark para as instalaes ambientais, as experimentaes com a apropriao de materiais descartados do consumo dirio, a participao do espectador aos limites dos penetrveis e parangols como proposies ticas para uma esttica ps-moderna. Da arte como ao ambiental surgem tambm as caixas Blides de Oiticica, que transbordavam cores para o espao, to presentes no imaginrio do jovem artista Paulo Roberto. Suas caixas, por sua vez, inauguram um caminho de leveza e disciplina, pelas formulaes de estruturas fluidas e mutantes, como tambm inspiradas nas obras moles e trepantes de Lygia Clark.
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ventiva de cada obra. As caixas so descalculadoras,

DA MATRIA NASCE A FORMA VISES MLTIPLAS DE UM PROCESSO Outros aspectos vo se estabelecer no desenvolvimento da produo deste artista ps-moderno que muito bem expressam as principais tendncias dos anos 70, no s na arte, mas nos estudos sobre a natureza do conhecimento humano. medida que Paulo Roberto Leal foi reconhecido como mais um artista brasileiro que toma para si o legado das bases construtivas, com especial ateno s experincias neoconcretas, pode-se verificar atravs das suas diferentes sries de inveno artstica as primeiras caixas, as armagens, os des-movem, as entretelas, as armaes e os quasares um paralelo entre a livre experimentao direta com os materiais como estruturantes de um discurso logos e pensamento. nessa atrao recproca entre o processo orgnico (sensriomotor) e a assimilao das qualidades dos materiais que emerge singularmente para cada srie uma dimenso conceitual, como culminncia do desenvolvimento do conhecimento junto experincia-matria. Essa passagem que o artista reconhece como da matria nasce a forma pode ser abordada como uma evoluo construtivista do conhecimento. Um artista como Paulo Roberto, em seu estado de inveno e cognio, se alinha aos artistas concretos que historicamente, pelos seus processos experimentais de inveno-intuio, percorreram caminhos paralelos s abordagens construtivas do conhecimento. Da podem-se propor as etapas piagetianas de construo do conhecimento para a arte concreta inveno de bases construtivas. Nesta mostra, pela viso panormica que se pode ter da obra de Paulo Roberto, o museu pode ser visto como um laboratrio de construo de linguagens o artista desenvolve seus mtodos experimentais de construes visuais de discursos matricos. Podemos vislumbrar os mesmos saltos que Piaget aponta em um processo de construo de estruturas cognitivas no desenvolvimento humano, nas passagens de cada srie de Paulo Roberto: assimilao, descoberta e acomodao de novos conceitos atravs das qualidades especficas dos materiais. Seus programas de inveno (muito mais do que de criao, como defendiam os artistas concretos) em sries explicitam trajetrias indissociveis do pensamento-experincia em constante processo de assimilao (novos materiais, novas
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sem estacionar na acomodao das receitas e operaes, o artista refaz esses estgios a cada obra e, mais ainda, quando inicia uma nova srie. Da podemos aproximar os caminhos do desenvolvimento cognitivo de Piaget com as experimentaes construtivas deste artista. Os processos construtivos desenvolvidos pelas vanguardas russas, de Malevich, Tatlin e outros, foram os primeiros a expandir para o espao a materialidade temporal da arte, utilizando a interseo entre pintura, escultura e ambiente (arquitetura) com processos aditivos de construo da obra. Novos materiais foram trazidos para esta experimentao que combinava a experincia orgnica com a construo inaugural de uma forma espao-temporal conferindo um estatuto de conhecimento vivencial para a arte como sua quarta dimenso. Por caminhos diferentes, Piaget (1896-1980) explorava a relao intrnseca entre aes externas e pensamento interno essencial e indissocivel do desenvolvimento do conhecimento. O caminho da arte no sculo XX foi exatamente a confirmao desta abordagem das primeiras aes construtivas das vanguardas se atingiram as operaes conceituais, em que cada artista devia passar pela sua prpria iniciao ao conhecimento experimental operacional concreto para atingir o seu estgio de inventor de linguagens- sistemas, mundo e conceito. Aqui cabe lembrar o entendimento de Goethe de que todo incio ao, e s a seguir atingimos um estgio de operao. O legado construtivo das experimentaes artsticas das vanguardas do incio do sculo passado foi marcante para as nossas revolues modernas e ps-modernas, dos grupos concretos aos neoconcretos. O percurso de invenes de Paulo Roberto Leal sugere uma abordagem para a arte como inauguradora de novas formas de conhecimento expandido que se intui nas aes e operaes que conduzem suas prticas da matria nasce a forma (o logos e o discurso artstico). Mas certamente no se pode reduzir uma obra de arte a exerccios e jogos com materiais, pois para ocorrer a produo de um conhecimento especial h que se agregar outra dimenso da existncia humana, que para Piaget o afeto. Sem dvida, o artista aquele que torna o conhecimento uma fora afetiva e simblica. Nessa abordagem transversal aproximam-se as bases construtivas da produo de Paulo Roberto Leal, tanto para a herana das vanguardas
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questes) at atingir as novas ordens e sistemas de pensamento-forma;

histricas quanto pelos seus processos construtivistas para o desenvolvimento cognitivo implcito na histria da arte, como tambm na trajetria particular de cada artista. Podemos trazer tambm as contribuies de um outro construtivista, Vigotsky (1896-1934), que reconhece todo processo de construo de um sujeito como social e histrico o artista se constri pela ao no mundo que nunca isolada. O pertencer e conquistar o lugar em um mundo ou comunidade de artistas traz para sua criao uma outra esfera de jogo, entre contemporneos, entre geraes e saberes, e da tambm com o prprio legado da histria. Paulo Roberto no apenas recupera as experincias neoconcretas, todas aquelas vinculadas com as bases construtivas da arte brasileira; seu desenvolvimento acontece juntamente com sua aproximao e iniciao junto a um crculo de artistas e crticos de vanguarda para a sua poca. com este dilogo com a histria e os movimentos intergeracionais que sua criao artstica adquire dois elementos fundamentais alm do jogo cognitivo. A arte se d como acontecimento. Toda fruio da arte festa ritual de trocas simblicas modelada por experincias compartilhadas de cada poca e contexto social e poltico. Aqui tambm percebemos na curta trajetria de Paulo Roberto Leal as marcas deixadas pelas diferenas entre as dcadas de 70 e 80. Suas caixas, armagens, desmovem, podem tambm encapsular as presses polticas dos anos 60-70. Da mesma forma
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Bloco de estudo, c. 1984/86. Papel milimetrado, grafite e lpis de cor. Coleo Armando Mattos. Armadura, 1980. leo sobre tela e colagem. 7 Os quasares (do latim Quasi stelars objectus, ou Objetos quase estelares) so objetos de extrema luminosidade encontrados nos confins do Universo. A maioria dos quasares j observados possui um forte desvio para o vermelho no espectro indicando que esto se movimentando muito rapidamente, provavelmente a uma velocidade superior a 50 mil km/s, o que, pela constante de Hubble, leva a entender que esto muito distantes. (Wikipdia)

abertura econmica e festiva dos anos 80 vai expandir sua liberdade artstica mais ainda em direo pintura de grandes formatos e s atividades coletivas no Parque Lage. Nesta ltima fase, simblica e literalmente, Paulo Roberto sai das caixas e do casulo, leva consigo a experincia de ser um agente carismtico, e da um dos articuladores da Gerao 80. Ao mesmo tempo que as dcadas de 60 e 70 eram marcadas por contundentes conflitos internacionais, as manifestaes crticas contaminavam os engajamentos da contracultura e da antiesttica, a desmaterializao do objeto artstico para sua materializao como experincia ambiental, semntica, lingstica, ou a desconstruo de seus processos comunicativos, como proposies participativas para o espectador como parte dos processos de construo e significao da obra. Paralelamente s erupes coletivas no mundo da arte e da cultura, avanava ainda mais a cincia da cognio nas sondagens sobre as razes do conhecimento humano. Para alm desse espao matrico-operacional concreto, Paulo Roberto realiza um outro desvio da pintura para a matria luz expresso em uma trajetria singular de obras ligadas a uma srie monocromtica branca. As armagens cobertas por um acrlico leitoso (como uma veladura) retiram o foco da forma para uma percepo maior de um branco luminoso em si. Por fim, ele tambm se volta para o interesse na astronomia, muito freqente para os anos 60 e 70, devido s descobertas de mundos, galxias e objetos distantes, tais como os quasares.7 Assim como Antonio Dias, dentre vrios artistas nos
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que a descompresso da

anos 70, ou Mark Tobey nos anos 40, Paulo Roberto tambm obedece a um impulso na direo da desmaterializao da arte e da materializao da luz. Desta srie de obras explorando a potncia do branco, Paulo Roberto culmina com os quasares como desvios para o vermelho. Desde Malevich podemos encontrar pintores que exploraram a pintura como materializao espiritual o quadrado branco sobre branco um exemplo histrico de um artista que busca atravessar fronteiras da arte como representao para sua emancipao como visualizao matrica de uma idia forma pura, luz concreta. Esses so alguns pontos de introduo a esta mostra que poderia tambm ser chamada Da vida nasce a arte. colocando a trajetria deste artista nos percursos circulares do MAC, como uma constelao de vrios tempos simultneos, que se pode melhor estudar, sob uma perspectiva mltipla, a iniciao na dcada de 70 de um artista cuja obra se desdobra como jogo de fruio infinita, entre o biogrfico e o legado histrico, o internacional e o local, entre geraes passadas e as contemporneas. A partir da rica herana deixada pelas experincias concretas e neoconcretas (1959-1961) das vanguardas, Paulo Roberto pde combinar liberdade experimental, subjetividade e construtivismo. Em todo
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Corcovado, 1986. Acrlica sobre tela. Armagem, c. 1972 Colagem, papel e acrlico.

pouco alm dos jogos entre matria, geometria e forma, com os quais Paulo Roberto tece sua fluncia criativa, encontramos uma indagao maior, invertendo a prpria formulao do artista como ttulo de uma de suas obras quando percebemos uma outra possibilidade de leitura das relaes arte-vida: do pensamento artstico se libera a forma, renasce a matria como arte-expresso, e o sujeito pela arte se inventa para uma nova significao da vida. Reciprocamente, da criao artstica renasce a vida do prprio artista; dos resduos do exerccio bancrio, Paulo Roberto inventou a sua nova arte com a arte renasce sua vida. A reconstruo da trajetria de Paulo Roberto para esta mostra, alm de oferecer ao pblico viso completa da sua carreira to singular, rene tambm preciosidades das colees MAC de Niteri e Joo Sattamini to pouco vistas nas ltimas duas dcadas. dentro dos espaos circulares deste museu que se organizou esta exposio monogrfica, ressaltando as diferentes sries produzidas por este artista e oferecendo viso panormica dos desdobramentos experimentais entre matriaforma na sua trajetria, de 1970 a 1991. com a distncia e aproximao da riqueza dos embates entre a vontade criativa e a liberdade dos meios de expresso abertas nestas trs ltimas dcadas que se pode melhor tornar visvel o sujeito criador atrs da obra, ou a vida atrs da forma. O que se exibe nessas duas dcadas de atividade artstica
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caso, ao mergulharmos um

a tenso entre inquietude e impulso experimentao de novos materiais, to prprias s geraes ps-neoconcreto, por um lado, e programa construtivo intuitivo deste artista. Existe um sujeito inseparvel da criao que se descobre na relao entre o artista e sua poca. Assim, propomos abordar sua produo como um caminho que se faz literalmente por costuras e dobraduras como significantes elos entre arte e vida, articulados por uma base construtiva que representa as riquezas hbridas de sua produo. Tal abordagem ressalta a emergncia da subjetividade como tnus vital da produo artstica ps-moderna, como forma de rompimento com os parmetros e ambies internacionais de uma arte concreta, sem cargas e resduos subjetivos. Paulo Roberto incorpora como recursos artsticos elementos e prticas relacionados a sua vida, tanto familiar (ele era filho de uma costureira) quanto profissional (foi economista, bancrio e designer grfico), que se libertam para a expresso como recursos inovadores dentro de suas experimentaes, to evidentes nas Armagens e nas Entretelas. Da propormos unir, atravs do inventrio de obras de Paulo Roberto, os aspectos biogrficos de uma rpida passagem de vida s suas inovaes artsticas.

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ARMAR COM IMAGEM


CLAUDIA SALDANHA
Diretora da Diviso de Teoria e Pesquisa do MAC de Niteri

Penso, reflito, estudo. No escrevo, e, sim, corto. Recorto e dobro. Uso a cola. Recorto para costurar. Uso a linha. Uso a tinta e corto. Procuro, ento, fazer com que o sentido da obra seja a sua prpria construo. Para isto, emprego aqueles mesmos materiais que sempre estiveram suportando imagens. Esses materiais so personagens bsicos de meu trabalho. A lei que os rege libera suas principais caractersticas fsicas para organizarlhes o jogo numa construo final que geomtrica. Em acumulaes, dobras e quedas, invases e superposies fosse ontem com o papel, seja hoje com a tela o positivo e o negativo desenham uma modulao infinita, onde a forma fruto de sua permanente recomposio. Assim a obra se faz, se desfaz e se refaz, como o artista, ser humano diante da vida.
PAULO ROBERTO LEAL, 1978

Em sua breve e intensa trajetria, iniciada nos anos 70 e encerrada em 1991, Paulo Roberto Leal produziu uma obra fecunda em que a plasticidade do relevo, da construo e da pintura foram exploradas de maneira singular. Sua pesquisa levou adiante idias geradas no final dos anos 50, a partir de experincias com superfcies moduladas de Lygia Clark e com relevos espaciais de Hlio Oiticica. Paulo Roberto pertenceu a um grupo de artistas que optou por retomar o projeto neoconcreto, depois de quase quinze anos, revigorando-o frente aos novos rumos da arte contempornea brasileira. Na contramo de tendncias que incluam caminhos conceituais e a retomada da figurao, seguiu seu projeto com independncia e liberdade, procurando, como ele prprio dizia, fazer com que o sentido da obra se tornasse evidente em sua prpria construo.
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O mtodo do artista inclua atividades simples e planejadas. Estratgias como o corte, a dobra, a costura, e at mesmo a pintura - aplicada de maneira inusitada (como no verso da tela) - buscavam estreitar relaes entre planos, texturas e cores. Das Armagens sua primeira srie de trabalhos com papel s Armaduras, passando pelas Entretelas quando introduziu telas de algodo ou de brim , Paulo Roberto desenvolveu uma linguagem despojada, de lirismo singular. O plurissensorialismo presente na obra de Paulo Roberto est ligado genealogicamente s experincias realizadas por artistas como Ivan Serpa, Lygia Clark, Hlio Oiticica e Alusio Carvo que propunham a valorizao da expresso e privilegiavam a experincia como momento gerador da obra. Para esses artistas, forma, fundo e cor deveriam ser tratados com o mesmo nvel de importncia e o quadro seria no mais um suporte para a obra, mas sim um campo ampliado a integrar-se ao espao externo. Neste contexto, desaparecem a moldura da pintura e a base das obras tridimensionais. Como resultado do rompimento com os ideais construtivos, ao longo e aps os anos 60, surgiram pesquisas como a nova figurao, a arte conceitual e outras prticas ps-construtivas. Lygia Clark encontrou na psicanlise um terreno frtil a partir do qual props sesses teraputicas com utilizao de seus objetos relacionais. J Hlio Oiticica
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Armagem, c. 1975. Colagem, papel e acrlico. Sem ttulo, 1976. Tela costurada.

e vivenciada do participador. Transitoriedade e mutao passaram a ser atributos utilizados por muitos artistas do perodo como Ione Saldanha, cujas ripas, surgidas na superfcie de suas pinturas, adquiriram corpo, inclinando-se contra as paredes, e propondo inmeras combinaes de cores e formas. A cor tambm transmutou-se e tornouse corprea na obra de Alusio Carvo, que passou a adot-la como elemento principal. Cubocor, um cubo de cimento coberto de pigmento vermelho o auge da pesquisa do artista. Nesse ambiente surgem artistas que experimentam a pintura e projetam-na para alm da superfcie do quadro como Ascnio MMM, Luciano Figueiredo, Raymundo Colares, Manfredo Souzaneto e Paulo Roberto Leal. Com os Des-mov-em, mltiplos de acrlico com cintas de papel colorido que se movem, Paulo Roberto parece evocar tambm experincias cinticas que, em conjunto com o Neoconcretismo, fundaram, nos anos 50, uma geometria sensvel no Brasil e outros pases da Amrica Latina. Nos Des-mov-em pode-se notar o que Roberto Pontual pontuou como carter perecvel, e da conceitual de sua proposta, que a qualquer momento pode ser desfeita. A este legado do movimento neoconcreto Paulo Roberto adicionou idias do movimento minimalista especialmente em sua fase final, quando artistas norte-americanos como Robert Morris e Sol LeWitt abandonaram seu interesse pelo objeto e lanaram-se pesquisa dos processos de fazer arte, abrindo caminho para prticas
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buscou nos Parangols uma integrao completa

que posteriormente levaram a aes relacionadas ao meio ambiente, como a landart, ao corpo como a bodyart, e performance. A ar te minima lista qu e s e i n s t a u ro u n o s E s t a dos Unidos nos anos 60 reagiu subjetividade e aos excessos do expressionismo abstrato, e navegou entre o formalismo, com Donald Judd, e o informalismo, com Richard Serra que com Splash Piece derramou chumbo derretido no canto de uma galeria. Outra influncia importante, a arte povera, aproximou mais ainda o artista da investigao, tornando ainda mais evidente o carter emprico e especulativo de sua obra que privilegiou a utilizao de materiais primrios como papel de embrulho, linha de costura, papel laminado, tecidos, placas de acrlico e outros materiais encontrados. Adotar a tela como suporte para a experimentao e abdicar da representao no foi um partido exclusivo dos artistas do pvera italiano ou do minimalismo norte-americano, mas de boa parte da arte produzida no perodo. Nos anos 60 vimos surgir, quase que simultaneamente, em vrios pases, movimentos que defendiam valores marginais e pobres como o sensorial, o lrico, o potico e o subjetivo. Para o crtico italiano Germano Celant, que cunhou o termo arte pvera, e produziu uma srie de ensaios para exposies que organizou, esta forma de arte deveria estar liberta de toda superestrutura
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Mdulo 16 [Armagem], 1972. Colagem, papel e acrlico. Quasar, 1982. Acrlica sobre tela e colagem.

princpios, este novo artista-alquimista precisava descobrir as razes das coisas, participar de acontecimentos naturais para descubrir-se a si mesmo, seu corpo, sua memria, seus gestos e tudo que decorresse de seus sentidos. Como a superfcie de uma Armagem, a exposio Da matria nasce a forma desdobra-se em torno da arquitetura curvilnea de Niemeyer proporcionando ao visitante vivenciar a obra de Paulo Roberto Leal. Nas obras Habitantes e Muralha do Quasar, o artista combina calculadamente diversos elementos e constri um sistema atravs da repetio e modulao de unidades e/ou movimentos. O espectador vivencia a obra e participa do processo criativo a partir de sua experincia pessoal, reconstruindo e recombinando suas partes. Na srie Armagens, realizada no incio da carreira, Paulo Roberto manipula folhas de papel e compe formas de resultados diversos. Soma de armao com imagem, essa primeira seqncia de trabalhos resultado da pesquisa do artista com papel kraft, de embrulho e cartolina. Ora enroladas sobre uma mesa e sem proteo alguma, ora encerradas em caixas acrlicas, as Armagens j anunciavam o interesse de Paulo Roberto pela participao do pblico. Sobre esta srie escreveu o crtico Roberto Pontual: To deliberadamente precrio o ncleo de sua obra que s no prprio momento e ato de arrum-la em exposio alguns de seus trabalhos passam a tomar forma final menos final porque cabe a ns desarmar determinadas dessas armagens, como se to-somente brincssemos.
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histrica e simblica. Mais do que trabalhar sobre

Brincadeira que engloba um grmen de muito: a plenitude significante potencial de simples folhas de papel: plenitude pura e simplesmente de tudo que existe.1 Nas Entretelas e Sobretelas que surgem em 1975, Paulo Roberto lana mo da tela de brim, do zuarte e da linha de costura que, aplicada mquina, percorre o campo do quadro dividindo, agregando ou mesmo sobrepondo tecidos. Esse novo campo de expresso, quase to antigo quanto a prpria pintura, revelado nas suas inmeras possibilidades de frente ou do avesso, cru ou tingido, tencionado ou dobrado , proporcionando no apenas um comentrio sobre a pintura, mas tambm sobre sua ausncia. Na apresentao do catlogo da exposio do artista na Galeria Grafitti neste mesmo ano, Osmar Dillon escreve: A tela em branco. A tela-campo para o quadro que no ser pintado. A tela mostrando sua pele nua e o avesso cirurgicamente costurado (com a verdade de sua trama) face lavada, lisa e preparada para a pintura que no ser.2 Alguns anos mais tarde, Paulo Roberto inicia a srie Armaduras: telas cortadas e coladas sobre outras telas, pintadas de ambos os lados ou mesmo dispostas sobre a parede, diretamente, sem chassis, molduras ou qualquer outra proteo. Mais uma vez o artista busca enfatizar a autonomia do material frente ao processo de fazer arte. A pintura ganha ento corpo, encobre o tecido no seu
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1 PONTUAL, Roberto. Spro: armagem do precrio. In: ENCONTRO DE ARTE MODERNA, 2., 1970, Curitiba. II Encontro de Arte Moderna. Curitiba: [s.n.], 1970. p. 20-21. 2 DILLON, Osmar. A tela em branco. In: LEAL, Paulo Roberto. Paulo R. Leal. Rio de Janeiro: Graffiti Galeria de Arte, 1975. p. 2. Sem ttulo, 1975. Tecido, jeans costurado. 3 MORAIS, Frederico. Paulo Leal: na abertura qual o espao da arte? O Globo, Rio de Janeiro, 29 set. 1980. Artes plsticas, p. 22. Da Matria Nasce a Forma, 1981. Tinta a leo sobre tela.

constri a forma persistindo assi m em sua rec usa da representao. Para Frederico Morais, A e x i s t e u m a l u t a e n t re o branco da tela que quer se impor, fazer-se espao ou mesmo cor, e o vermelho, pressionado nos cantos da tela. Mas pode ser tambm o inverso; o vermelho que, penetrando pelos extremos angulares do quadro, quer ocupar o novo territrio, anular o branco, satur-lo com sua fisicalidade de cor. uma guerra, que pressupe no s um interior ativo e um exterior cujos limites ou fora desconhecemos. Num caso e em outro, portanto, a mobilidade constante. E esta mobilidade no apenas da estrutura, do jogo que se arma entre o desenho da obra e o material utilizado na sua construo. O prprio material se move. Antes, como lembra o prprio Leal, um de seus objetivos era criar ondulaes com o prprio papel, hoje so as placas de brim pintadas dos dois lados que criam, com o tempo, suas ondulaes. Antes a fragilidade era sugerida, tinha um sentido metafrico, hoje ela o resultado de sua prpria qumica.3 Para Roberto Pontual, h algumas constantes bsicas na obra de Paulo Roberto: A primeira sua pulso construtiva. A segunda, a linguagem modular, tomando por modelo o quadrado. A terceira, o recurso serial. A quarta, a troca da imagem pelo conceito. A quinta, o dilogo entre o plano e o espao pleno. A sexta, o aproveitamento especfico
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verso e no seu reverso e

de cada material utilizado (...) E a stima, a incorporao do acaso que vem com o ludismo, virtual ou real. (...) Todas essas constantes convergem para a criao de um novo espao expressivo (...), onde a linha, pelas mais diferentes maneiras, acontecimento plstico e smbolo regente. Com esta exposio o MAC de Niteri rene, pela primeira vez, uma parte significativa do conjunto de obras de Paulo Roberto Leal pertencentes Coleo Joo Sattamini e outras colees particulares. A partir dela podemos viver os quase 25 anos de carreira do artista que nunca cursou escola de belas artes ou teve mestres particulares e observar a importncia da obra do artista no contexto geral da arte contempornea brasileira.

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BIOGRAFIA
Paulo Roberto Leal Rio de Janeiro, 1946-1991

1969

Realiza seus primeiros trabalhos de programao visual para catlogos de exposies no Rio de Janeiro. Faz reviso tipogrfica do Dicionrio de artes plsticas no Brasil, de Roberto Pontual. Estabelece contato com o poeta e artista Osmar Dillon.

1970

Inicia suas atividades como artista plstico sem abandonar seu emprego no Banco Central do Brasil, onde atuava como economista e bancrio. Participa de mostras coletivas, como Materiais transfigurados, na Sala Goeldi da Funarte, no Rio, e selecionado entre trinta artistas para a XI Bienal de So Paulo que ocorreria no ano seguinte.

1971

Ministra curso durante o evento Domingos de Papel (desdobramento dos Domingos da Criao no MAM do Rio). Realiza sua primeira exposio individual Mltiplos na Galeria Ipanema, com texto de apresentao de Roberto Pontual. Participa da XI Bienal de So Paulo e obtm o Prmio Internacional com sua srie Des-mov-em (caixas de acrlico com fitas de papel colorido). indicado para a XXXVI Bienal de Veneza, que seria realizada no ano seguinte.

1972

Integra com Franz Weissmann e Humberto Espndola a representao brasileira na XXXVI Bienal de Veneza, mostrando seus primeiros conjuntos de Armagens, relevos de papel no interior de caixas de acrlico transparentes ou translcidas. A partir de ento, sua obra passa a integrar acervos de colees e museus internacionais. Realiza exposio individual na Galeria Ipanema com boa repercus-

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so na crtica.

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1973

Intensifica sua participao em exposies coletivas e individuais por todo o pas, com destaque para o prmio no Concurso Nacional de Mltiplos promovido pela Petite Galerie, no Rio.

1981

Monta para o Projeto ABC, da Funarte, no Rio, o ambiente A casa e expe em sala especial no Salo Nacional de Arte de Belo Horizonte. Expe tambm no Museu Postal e Telegrfico de Braslia, onde apresenta pela primeira vez a srie Cartas folhas de papel que se unem por linhas de costura.

1974

Primeira exposio individual em So Paulo, na Galeria Arte Global. Exibe junto com suas Armagens uma verso de ampulheta, obra sem ttulo manipulvel de papel e acrlico. Na mesma ocasio um documentrio de Andr Palut aborda a obra de dez artistas brasileiros Paulo Roberto Leal entre eles selecionados para integrar o acervo de arte contempornea do Museu de Ontrio, no Canad. 1983 1982

Participa da exposio In comunicabile/Inter-comunicvel, com artistas brasileiros e estrangeiros, no MAC de So Paulo. Com a srie Quasar participa de exposio da Coleo Gilberto Chateaubriand na Fundao Gulbenkian, em Lisboa, Portugal. Integra o jri do Salo Nacional de Artes Plsticas e participa da mostra flor da pele pintura e prazer, no Rio.

1975

Inicia nova srie de trabalhos, as Entretelas, usando recortes de tecidos costurados mquina. Realiza exposio na Galeria Graffiti, no Rio, com texto de apresentao de Osmar Dillon. A escolha de novo suporte inspira uma srie de matrias da crtica especializada. 1984

Em parceria com Marcus Lontra realiza a curadoria da exposio Como vai voc, Gerao 80?, na Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage, no Rio. Durante os anos 80 realiza vrias exposies individuais e coletivas por todo o pas. So desse perodo trabalhos como Habitantes, Rio ziriguidum, A vila, Morro da Urca, Corcovado e Batuque, que tm a cor como elemento fundamental.

1976

Realiza com Haroldo Barroso exposio itinerante por vrias cidades brasileiras. Participa tambm da mostra Arte agora I: Brasil 70-75, no MAM do Rio.

1977 1978

Olvio Tavares de Arajo realiza filme sobre sua obra por ocasio da exposio itinerante O gesto criador. Realiza nova srie de trabalhos com telas recortadas, pintadas e coladas sobre diferentes suportes. Com as Armaduras participa da exposio Arte agora III: Amrica Latina Geometria sensvel (as peas foram consumidas pelo incndio do MAM do Rio). Apesar do reconhecimento como artista continua trabalhando no Banco Central do Brasil e assume por dois anos o cargo de curador do Museu de Valores. 1993 1991 1989

Mostra Concerto concreto, sua ltima exposio individual, na Galeria 110 Arte Contempornea, no Rio. Morre de pneumonia aos 46 anos, no ms de fevereiro, no Rio. Com o objetivo de preservar sua memria e sua obra, o crtico Roberto Pontual e os artistas Armando Mattos e Manfredo Souzanetto criam o Projeto Concreto PRL, que tem Gilberto Chateaubriand como um de seus conselheiros.

1980

Participa do Panorama da nova pintura latino-americana, exposio inaugurada em Buenos Aires e que circula por vrios pases. Participa da repre1995

O MAM do Rio implanta o Centro de Referncia Iconogrfica e Textual PRL e pe disposio arquivo documental para consulta e pesquisa do pblico.
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sentao brasileira da XXXIX Bienal de Veneza.

1998

Sua obra participa das exposies coletivas O moderno e contemporneo, no MASP, e Espelho da Bienal, no MAC de Niteri, e ganha pequena individual no Estdio Guanabara, no Rio.

1999 2000

Os Des-mov-em e as Armagens trabalhos sobre papel so expostos no Parque das Runas, no Rio. O acervo do Projeto Concreto PRL exposto pela primeira vez em mostra retrospectiva no Centro Cultural Light, curada por Armando Mattos. Na ocasio publicado o primeiro catlogo sobre a obra do artista. Sua obra exposta em individual na Galeria Laura Marsiaj, com curadoria de Fernando Cocchiarale, e participa da exposio Situaes: arte brasileira dos anos 70, na Casa Frana-Brasil.

2001-2006

Integra as coletivas Imagem sitiada, no Espao SESC, Rio (2003); Onde est voc, Gerao 80?, no CCBB, Rio (2004); Espao ldico Um olhar sobre a infncia na arte brasileira, no BNDES, Rio (2004); O ldico na arte, no Ita Cultural, So Paulo (2005); e Abrigo potico Dilogos com Lygia Clark, no MAC de Niteri (2006).

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ENGLISH TRANSLATION FORM IS BORN FROM MATTER Paulo Roberto Leal INTRODUCTION
Luiz Guilherme Vergara | Director Not every artist takes the conventional route, attending art school or going through the different steps and prerequisites for becoming an artist. One such exception is the notable, swift trajectory of Paulo Roberto Leal (1946-1991), who started his career in 1970, took part in the 11
th

with deconstructing the components of creation and reception by which the communicative actions in the institutions of ritualized encounters between art and society are organized, especially those that expand the spectators multisensory engagement. To exhibit Paulo Roberto Leal is to invest in this, the contemporary art museums commitment to its condition as a laboratory of the languages and means of expression that have guided the history of contemporary Brazilian art, without losing a sense of affection or concern for human communication through art. We pay special tribute to Joo Sattamini, who demonstrated great sensitivity and intuition by investing in this artists production, allowing us to review his career today from such an ample viewpoint. It is also fitting here to mention the support given particularly by Armando Mattos and Projeto Concreto, as well as Mrcio and Fernanda Barbosa, who so kindly lent us some precious works to fill the gaps in our collection.

The 20th century vanguards, especially those with links to constructivist roots, certainly passed down through the generations one of the most challenging legacies for any broader study into the development of the mental structures involved in artistic invention (term proposed by the international Concrete Art movement), including both artistic actions themselves and their reception and perception by society. Very little has been studied of the structures of perception and expression that are built up through artistic practices. In the case of Paulo Roberto Leal, his works can serve as a potential field of experiences, referring us to a constant revolution in cognitive processes. In this case, it may be apt to propose the idea that art be rethought as forms in an expansion of knowledge. This leaves our contemporary art museum with the duty of investigating these archives and collections not just as a set of static objects removed from their time and interpretative experiences, but also as processes for the passage of an expressive will between matter and form-thought, and then on to new forms

municative actions and situations that bring to life new forms of language and knowledge. These changes underway directly affect the dominant standards, from academia to museums, especially those of contemporary art, and urge them to be reworked, not only from the perspective of the documental categories of art history, aesthetics or anti-art, but as laboratories of a new ethic of symbolic exchanges, like mutually interactive constructions of form-thought/ knowledge. Thus, in our presentation of the experimental trajectory of Paulo Roberto Leal, which is so deeply rooted in the Neoconcrete heritage, we are able to revive the importance of collections and museums. As Mario Pedrosa has pointed out, they are a challenging paralaboratory. It is within this (the museum) that one can comprehend what is called experimental art, invention.1 Every artwork that is presented in a museum, no matter how experimental, unprecedented or unconventional it may be, bears a history of rifts and references. As of the 1970s, while Paulo Roberto Leal was capitalizing on the experimental freedom acquired by successive artistic generations, he also developed works of a conceptual nature with links to the Brazilian Constructivist program, which started in the 1950s. In so doing, he brought to date the historic international web of movements linked to Concrete Art, Bauhaus and Max Bills Ulm school, which were con-

So Paulo Bienal the

following year, and was included in the Venice Biennale in 1980. However, we should add how notorious a challenge all the formal art institutions, museums, academia and even art criticism face in the 20th century as they try to stay on par with the seemingly boundless means of expression and schisms set up by experimentalist vanguards in response to the conventions and traditional categories of artistic discourse and practice. There can be no question as to the initiatory role played by Courbet, followed by the Impressionists, who reacted against the restriction of means of expression to the canons established by art schools and exhibition halls in the 19th century, which failed to keep pace with the changes occurring in modern life. Since then, we have seen a multiplication of different means of artistic engagement in experiments concerned

FORM IS BORN FORM MATTER LIFE IS BORN FROM ART


MULTIPLE VIEWS OF ART AND PROCESSES

of expanded perception and knowledge. In other words, the communicative challenges of the successive expansions of art concepts also apply to the mental structures of cognition and perception. In these terms, there is no longer an isolated object, but rather interactive or relational aesthetics. Each artwork can be seen as a proposition of com-

Luiz Guilherme Vergara | Director If everybody could create, maybe the term art would lose its traditional meaning it would simply be life. Paulo Roberto Leal

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veyed across the Americas in the 20th century. Leals art propositions revive a history of programs of artistic actions and inventions, both in Brazil (1950s) and in Argentina (1940s), which went beyond a quest for the autonomy and isolation of the pure aesthetic sphere. These vanguards artistic inventions were also founded on political movements and collective hopes for social reform through art or with art as part of this. If one is to review this history of concrete art in Argentina and Brazil, one must broaden the scope of what is presented in this exhibition the aspirations that were handed on from generation to generation, just like the different social and political moments that provided the cultural backdrop for the artistic manifestations. As both nations underwent periods of progressive change after the end of World War II, in stark contrast to the destruction being tackled in Europe, the upbeat promodernization cornerstones of their economies and society were strengthened under the political aegis of the Getlio Vargas and Juan Pern governments. In the 1940s, Argentine Toms Maldonado joined a group of artists keen to bring about far-reaching reform through an art engaged in processes that could be linked to Marxist theories and dialectical materialism. The Concrete artists sought to achieve an anti-capitalist aesthetic by means

of experimentations that would open up new routes. 2 First the Argentines and later the Brazilians aligned themselves with the practices and ideals of Concrete Art as a means of striving for social reform, countering both the abstract Expressionism of the New York school and the nihilism or existentialism with which post-War Europe was remaking or unmaking its expectations for the future or for any possible belief in the domain of industrial/capitalist reason. From these generations experiments there sprung a number of proposals to shift artistic value from subjective, creative processes to intentional, quasiscientific methods, called the invention of art objects, aesthetic machines, kinetic sculptures, articulated systems and above all by adopting the Dadaistic sense of play and chance. This spirit of confluence between art and social reform, art and invention, also developed towards a collective proposition of artistic deeds and knowledge. This state of invention persisted throughout decades and crossed frontiers between Europe, Argentina pollinating the Asociacin Arte Concreto-Invencin and Grupo Mad and later Brazil, with Grupo Ruptura, and the Brazilian Concrete and Neoconcrete schools. What was part of a pedagogic approach in the Bauhaus school took on new dimensions in Argentina and Brazil as an interdisciplinary relationship between

artistic languages, from kinetic geometry (of movement) to a kinetic architecture, alongside sculptures and paintings that could be articulated, touched and have their forms manipulated and altered manually. These are the conceptual features that can be seen reemerging in Paulo Roberto Leals output from the 1970s. For instance, when the public is offered sheets of paper to be rolled up like tubes, forming a collective, accumulative (open, infinite) process of environmental sculpture. In the 1960s and 70s this expansion of the artwork to embrace process-related propositions linked to counterculture and anti-art movements, also called the dematerialization of the art object, stretched the concept of art to include action/situation, which particularly affected how an art objects value was conceived, no longer as a complete or isolated act. Jean Arp was one of the first to rethink the artist as a proposer of collective constructions and activities, and even suggested that artworks should no longer bear any signature. In the 1960s the Fluxus movement revived this concept of art experiences as collective propositions, as anti-arte/anti-object. These propositions were certainly heavily imbued with a Dadaist irony, but they also foretold of an ethic that is emerging nowadays: a quest for means of collective construction, both in knowledge and art. It was in response to this that Lygia Clark was

inspired to denote the end of the artist, making way for an attitude of agency or facilitation of new shared behaviors in collective sculptures based on affection. Which is confirmed in a statement by Paulo Roberto Leal: As of the moment that everyone can create, maybe the term art loses its traditional meaning and it comes to be life. In Leals boxes we see convergences of this kind between process and collective participation. The trend to invent kinetic and participative objects was part of a greater quest by the leftist, Marxism-inspired vanguards, whose main aim was to coordinate art processes with collective activities. The experimentations in both Brazil and Argentina became part of a great constructivist-based school linked to dynamic, geometric sculptures (kinetic art) that went beyond Max Bills pure mathematics and his aspirations for a universal language. However, they all faced the tough challenge of the rigidity of Concrete Arts rationality as they attained what could be called a sensitive geometry, territories of experiences, which culminated in the Neoconcrete experiment (1959-1961). With his seams, random folds and strips deposited haphazardly inside boxes, Paulo Roberto Leal stretched the limitations of this rationale beyond its geometric confines by turning to organic, kinetic and participative elements. Another outcome of this path taken by Concrete Art that we can see in this

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exhibition is the programs of invention and constructive processes that each artist took to their extreme, pushing the potential of the art of static objects to its peak, inviting the participation of all in systems of perception-deeds, as expressed so well by Ferreira Gullar in Teoria do No-Objeto [Theory of the Non-Object]: A non-object is an anti-object, but a special object in that it is designed for the synthesis of sensorial and mental experiences: a body that is transparent to phenomenological knowledge.3 This course taken by Concrete Art and the states of invention is a part of history to which Leal contributes and which he revives for his own and future generations. The architecture of MAC and the ideals of social reform through art do not fail to work in synergy with the revolutionary aspirations that provided the genealogical backdrop for Paulo Roberto Leals output. While we recognize the power of the legacy left by the 20th centurys vanguards, it is one of the jobs of museums like Museu de Arte Contempornea de Niteri to de-isolate these treasures of creative liberty, kept in the traditional captivity of collections. But it is not enough merely to put them on display to be contemplated passively by the public as just another inventory of works by some group of pioneers from our recent artistic past. New viewpoints must be added and new light cast on what underlies these urges of creative minds and their role in col-

lective and social processes. What one can see in this exhibition is much more than a set of objects and their geometric basis; it is the creative act or inventive action performed on matter, which is in turn remade to gain new meaning as a form-thought. Thus, the contemporary art museum can also become a territory for the passage and recurrent flow of the forces, both psychic (human-artistic subjectivity in action) and historical (geography of art movements), that are present in the processes related to these works. How can one empower new perceptions of these works, which have been discussed at such length and venerated by the restless eye of art critics, who have themselves helped greatly by documenting the processes and materials with which Leal moved and multiplied his means of expression? Throughout the whole exhibition inside MAC, where Leals conceptual series are distributed, one is struck by a tension that is apparently superficial or formal but which hides the whole sense of gravity and ambiguity of post-1960s art aesthetics and output: repetition and difference. In Paris in 1968, French philosopher Gilles Deleuze published an essay that explores precisely the junction between these opposites. In the life and work of Paulo Roberto Leal, we can review these folds, which are at the same time repetition and difference. Leal either invents them or shifts them away from the routine of banking. From

the bureaucratic, automated repetition of calculations and accruals of paper strips, the artist is reborn to the primal difference: poetics, gadgets born of the imagination. If science seeks methods and laws for projecting, mastering and controlling nature or life through repetition; if the routine of factory clocks and production lines requires the order of repetition for it to attain perfection; if all modern life is founded upon reproduction by means of a mechanical repetition of patterns, how could this same century turn repetition and seriality into sensibility, the uncanny and difference? The 1970s post-modern generation, of which Paulo Roberto Leal was a part, had a very clear take on this criticism of the mechanical automation of the industry culture and the utopian manifestoes of a total world aesthetic, as Mondrians generation forecast for the future. In this game or attempted play-off between art and industrial/mass culture, aesthetic quests emerged that offered the potential to differentiate through repetition, to repeat through difference. Thus, in the genealogy of Leals boxes there is a synthesis between national legacies and movements, such as the Neoconcrete movement, as well as international ones, such as Concrete Art and later Minimalism, Conceptual Art and Arte Povera. However, unlike the Minimalist artists of 1970s America, who were drawn to make explorations and occupations of large industrial

complexes, Leal sought to distill from monumentality, from mechanical seriality, an expression of ambivalence (difference) between concept and affection, like a critical or poetic expression of an already post-modern state, for he does not hide subjectivity in the name of universal art formulations. Paulo Roberto Leal brings armao [structure] (repetition) and imagem [image] (difference) to his first boxes: armagens. He brings the keenness of ambiguity (difference) into the simplicity of repetition, drawing our attention to the simple, small things of daily life like a Zen Buddhist monk. Repetition gives birth to an overspill, and it is this emptying out that effects a shift from neurosis to artistic creationinvention: difference. His series of Armagens, with paper strips, is made of fluxes into and out of boxes, which are now uncalculating. Patterns and repetitions can be picked out, same sizes, same papers, folds, but the quality comes from the different rhythms of the random moves made. If science seeks to derive comfort from whatever can be predicted by projection and repetition, art seeks quality through difference. As an economist and artist, Leal employs the discipline and method of repetition, attaining a taste of minimal differences. Form is born from matter (life or the death of repetition): the primal singularity of difference. To this extent his art is extremely conceptual,

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since it is made through the essence of the encounter between matter and form, or matter and light; it is thought with matter: form-thought, which themselves dialectically alternate between the matter that forms thought and the thought that materializes form, united by folds in matter and form-light. It is our job to cast new light not just on the artists trajectory, which can be seen by the guiding line that links and unites the different stages of his work, but also on the trajectory of the art criticism which brought him to attention while still young. Further, like a gestalt between the artist and his time, we call to mind the changes that occurred in the three decades during which this artist and man matured from the Anos de Chumbo [Years of Lead] in the 1960s to the expansion and optimism of the 1980s. It is important to comprehend how each artist, along with his/her peers, plays out the duel or duet with the values and critical perceptions of the time. On the one hand, the sense of uncanny caused by schisms or deviations towards novelty; on the other, the coolness with which modern criticism treats repetition. In the case of Paulo Roberto Leal, his brief career was closely interlinked with the trends in art criticism in the 1970s and 80s in Rio de Janeiro. Likewise, we can look at the different stages in his alchemistic discoveries: from the passage of matter (chaos) to form (order,

logos and language+art); from a simple, mundane material recycled from life and derived from a non-artistic living (banking) to art form. While Leal took his first steps as an artist, he was also revealed as an inventor of new communicative orders, polysemic systems, which were often investigated by the critics of his day whose proximity to the artist and his processes reveal a significant degree of attention to process and materials. Veritable poetic gems were inspired by the luminous matter the young artist produced. Roberto Pontual could be considered a special case: Here in these limpid boxes in which design unfolds like light like a static point in the course of a particular dream , chance converges with its control: there is a finite infinity of forms awaiting somebodys will to set them off and master them. Above all, they contain an underground example of freedom; true, the bird is contained, but it still survives by its song. Pontual identified completely with the artists output, responding with far greater poetry and going beyond the concerns of critical judgment in that he did not concentrate on comparative value judgments but on the awakening of senses in each new work. In Mover, multiplicando [ To move, multiplying]
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a series of highly complex, ambiguous works, somewhere between armao (construction and structure) and imagem (image, magic): his armagens. The boxes multiply, each as similar as the next and yet so different. The ambiguity is present in the name, especially within the context of the military repression in the 1970s; the name and form of the armagens could be seen as protection through art. This was also why Leal had to give new names to his inventions, just like many artists from the Neoconcrete generation did, like scientist-inventors of machines. 5 For his boxes, structures, armagens or desmovem are names that indicate actions and operations concerned with the inventive manipulation or perception of each work. The boxes are both decalculating and de-articulating of the logical order of things; they speak of a weaponless revolution of chaos over order and progress, of movements and unmovements, as Pontual puts it. They are harmless revolutions through the unfolding of logic into non-logic; overspills and deviations from the exact sciences, from the positivism of the Brazilian economic miracle in the 1970s to the uncertainties and runaway inflation of later years. These boxes, so simple, are repeated and repeated like metaphors for the impacts of counterculture, anti-art, the death of painting, all the cathedrals that were toppled during the century of the two World

Wars. Born in 1946, Paulo Roberto Leal could not help but feel the sense of post-war relief, the weight of the Cold War, the first flights by astronauts, Coca-cola and the birth of television. He is, indeed, much as Frederico Morais defines him, an artist of a new, post-modern kind. He never went to art school or had private teachers. His learning is the result of close contact with artists and critics.6 In the late 1950s, Mario Pedrosa took stock of Hlio Oiticica and Lygia Clarks shift into environmental installations, experimentations with appropriations of everyday discarded materials, spectator participation and the boundaries of the Penetrables and Parangols as ethical propositions for defining a post-modern aesthetic. Art as environmental action was also expressed by Oiticica in his Blide boxes, with their color overflowing into space, which must have been a strong presence in the imagination of the youthful Paulo Roberto Leal. In turn, his boxes struck a course of deftness and discipline through formulations of fluid, mutating structures, likewise inspired by Lygia Clarks Obras Moles and Trepantes. FORM IS BORN FROM MATTER MULTIPLE VIEWS OF A PROCESS Other aspects take root in the development of this post-modern artists output which aptly express key trends in the 1970s, not just in art but also in the

, Pontual sums up the construc-

tivist tension of differentiation through repetition and repetition through differentiation. The artists career began with

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studies into the nature of human knowledge. As Paulo Roberto Leal came to be recognized as another of Brazils artists to adopt the constructivist legacy, especially the Neoconcrete experiments, his different series of artistic inventions the first boxes, the armagens, desmovem, entretelas [betweencanvases], armaes and quasares [quasars] evidence a parallel between direct free experimentation and materials structuring discourse logos and thought. It is in this mutual pull between the organic (motor-sensorial) process and the assimilation of the materials qualities that a singular conceptual dimension emerges for each series, like a culmination of the development of knowledge through the matter-experience. This transition, which the artist recognized as form is born from matter, can be approached as a constructivist development of knowledge. In his state of invention and cognition, Leal aligned himself with the Concrete artists who, through their inventive and intuitive experimental processes, took paths that ran parallel to the constructivist approaches to knowledge. It is thus feasible to talk about Piagets stages of knowledge construction in association with constructivist-based Concrete art/invention. In the broad overview this exhibition provides of Leals body of work, the museum can be seen as a laboratory for the construction of languages: the artist developing experi-

mental methods for visually constructing matter-based discourse. In the course taken by each of Leals series we can envisage the same leaps that Piaget sets out for the human process of constructing cognitive structures: the assimilation, discovery and accommodation of new concepts through the specific qualities of the materials. His programs of invention in series (rather than creation, as the Concrete artists proposed) lay bear certain routes that are inseparable from experience-thought in a constant process of assimilation (of new materials, new questions), until new orders and systems of form-thought are attained. Without sticking to set formulae or operations, the artist reworked these stages in each work and even more so whenever he embarks on a new series. Seen in this light, there is a parallel between cognitive development as proposed by Piaget and this artists constructivist experimentations. The constructivist processes developed by the Russian vanguards, by Malevich, Tatlin and others, were the first to push the temporal materiality of art out into space by using the intersection between painting, sculpture and environment (architecture), by means of accumulative constructive processes. New materials were introduced to this experimental ground, combining organic experience with the inaugural construction of a time-space form, giving art a fourth

dimension in the shape of experiential knowledge. Along different lines, Piaget (1896-1980) was exploring the intrinsic relationship between external action and internal thought, regarded as essential for and indissociable from the development of knowledge. The course taken by art in the 20th century quite simply confirmed this approach. The first constructivist steps taken by the vanguards led to conceptual operations, where each artist should pass through their own initiation towards experimental knowledge a concrete operational stage to attain a state for inventing languages, systems, world and concept. Here, it is worth recalling Goethes understanding that every beginning is action and that only after this do we reach an operational stage. The constructivist legacy left by the early 20th century vanguards artistic experimentations was formative for Brazils modern and postmodern revolutions, from the Concrete to the Neoconcrete groups. The development of Paulo Roberto Leals inventions suggests that art can be approached as giving birth to new forms of expanded knowledge, which can be perceived intuitively in the actions and operations that guide its practices: form is born from matter (logos and artistic discourse). But one cannot reduce an artwork to exercises and games with materials, for if any special knowledge is to be produced, another dimension of human existence must be added, which

Piaget considers to be affection. It is surely the artist that turns knowledge into an affective and symbolic force. This oblique approach brings the constructivist bases of Leals output closer both to the legacy left by historical vanguards and, thanks to his constructivist processes, to the cognitive development implicit in the history of art and in the particular route taken by each artist. We could also cite the contributions made by another constructivist, Vigotsky (1896-1934), who saw every subjects constructive process as having a social and historical nature the artist constructed by his/her action in the world, which can never be in isolation. Belonging to or gaining a place in a world or community of artists brings the artist a new arena for operating with peers, with generations and acquired knowledge, and thus with the very legacy of history. Paulo Roberto Leal did not just revive the Neoconcrete experiences, with their links to the constructivist roots of Brazilian art; he matured as he became closer to and gained membership of a circle of contemporary vanguard artists and critics. It was through this interchange with history and intergenerational movements that his artistic output acquired two crucial elements beyond the cognitive game. Art is made as a happening. All art expression is a rite a ritual of symbolic exchanges modeled by shared experiences from each time and its social and political context. Here, too,

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we pick up in Leals short career some of the marks left by the differences between the 1970s and 80s. His boxes, armagens and demovem can be seen to encapsulate the political pressures of the sixties and seventies. Meanwhile, the decompression in the 1980s, as the economy and national spirit opened up, allowed him greater artistic freedom to paint large formats and develop collective activities in Parque Lage. In this late phase, Leal symbolically and literally emerged from his cocoon and his boxes and took on the experience of being a charismatic agent and thus one of the key figures from the 80s generation. While the 1960s and 70s were marked by turbulent international conflicts, critics were active in influencing the engagement of counterculture and antiaesthetics, the dematerializtion of the art object to its materialization as an environmental, semantic or linguistic experience, or the deconstruction of its communicative processes, seeing it as a proposition for the spectators participation to help shape an artworks meaning. And while the world of art and culture had their collective outbreaks, cognitive science was progressing even further in its investigations into the realms of human knowledge. Beyond this concrete operational-material space, Leal made another detour from painting to light matter, as expressed in a singular set of works linked to a white monochrome series. His

Armagens, covered with milky acrylic (like a sheen), shift the focus away from the form to a greater perception of the luminous white itself. Finally, he also renewed his interest in astronomy, which was commonplace in the 1960s and 70s because of the discoveries of distant planets, galaxies and objects, such as quasars.7 Just like Antonio Dias, one of many artists in the 1970s, or Mark Tobey, from the 1940s, Paulo Roberto Leal also followed his impulse to dematerialize art and materialize light. Leal topped this series of works exploring the potential of white with Quasars like red shifts. Ever since Malevich there have been painters who have explored painting as a spiritual materialization, the white square on white being a historical example of the artist seeking to cross the frontiers of art as representation and find emancipation in the material visualization of an idea: pure form, concrete light. These are just some ways to approach this exhibition, which could also be called Life is born from Art. And by placing this artists output along MACs circular walkways like a constellation of different simultaneous times, one is given the chance to have a variety of perspectives on his work, from its beginnings in the 1970s and as it unfolded like an unending play-off between its biographical and historical legacy, international and local influences, and generations past and contemporary.

Setting forth from the rich heritage left by the Concrete and Neoconcrete experiments (1959-1961), Leal was able to combine experimental freedom, subjectivity and constructivism. Whatever the case, if we delve beyond the play between geometry, form and matter with which Paulo Roberto Leal weaves his creative fluency, we perceive a different way of interpreting the relationship between art and life, and chance upon a greater question: form is released from artistic thought, matter is reborn as art expression, and the subject is invented through art to a new meaning of life. Reciprocally, the very artists life is reborn from his artistic creation; Leal invented his new art from the remnants of his life in banking and his life is reborn through art. The reconstruction of Paulo Roberto Leals artistic career for this exhibition not only provides the public with a comprehensive view of his singular career, but it also brings together some gems from the MAC de Niteri and Joo Sattamini collection that have been exhibited very little in recent decades. The artists output is organized within the circular spaces of this museum to highlight the different series he produced and provide a broad overview of the outcome of his experiments with matter and form throughout his career stretching from 1970 to 1991. And it is thanks both to the distance and the proximity of the prolific clashes between creative

will and freedom of expression opened up over these last three decades that the creative subject behind the work, or life behind the form, can best be brought to light. What can be seen from these two decades of artistic activity is a tension between restlessness and an impulse to experiment with new materials, which is characteristic of the post-Neoconcrete generations, and this artists constructivist and intuitive program. There exists a subject that cannot be separated from the creativeness residing in the relationship between the artist and his time. Thus, we choose to approach his body of work as a course that is literally taken by seams and folds as significant links between art and life, coordinated by a constructivist basis that represents the hybrid wealth of his output. Such an approach highlights the emergence of subjectivity as a driving force in post-modern art production, a means of breaking free from the constraints and international ambitions of a Concrete Art stripped of any subjective weight or content. Paulo Roberto Leal takes elements and practices related to his family (his mother was a seamstress) and his professional life (he was an economist and banker) and uses them as artistic resources, liberating them for expression as novel elements in his artistic experimentations, as can be seen so clearly in Armagens and Entretelas. With this inventory of Paulo Roberto Leals work, we seek to bring together

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biographical elements from the fleeting course of his life and his innovativeness as an artist.

and painting in a highly individual way. In his research, he built on ideas that first emerged in the late 1950s in Lygia Clarks experiments with modular surfaces and Hlio Oiticicas spatial reliefs.

emergence. These artists held that form, background and color should be given the same degree of importance and that a painting was no longer a support for the artwork, but rather an expanded field that reached out into space. As a consequence, the frames of paintings and bases for three-dimensional works were banished. After the schism with Constructivist ideals, new lines of investigation arose throughout the 1960s and later, such as New Figuration, Conceptual Art, and other post-Constructivist practices. Lygia Clark found psychoanalysis a fertile ground upon which to base therapeutic sessions using her relational objects. Meanwhile, Hlio Oiticica produced his Parangols in a quest for the participants total, experienced integration. Transience and mutation were attributes prized by many artists in the period, like Ione Saldanha, whose strips gained substance as they emerged out of the surface of her paintings, leaning against the walls and suggesting countless combinations of color and form. Color was also transmuted and took on substance in Alusio Carvos work, where it came to be the principal element. This line of work reached its climax in Cubocor, a cube made of cement and covered in red dye. Within this environment, a number of artists emerged who were experimenting with painting, projecting it beyond the surface of the canvas, including

Ascnio MMM, Luciano Figueiredo, Raymundo Colares, Manfredo Souzaneto and Paulo Roberto Leal. Leals Desmov-em, multiple acrylic boxes containing strips of paper that can move, seem also to hark back to the kinetic experiments of the 1950s which, alongside the Neoconcrete movement, founded a geometria sensvel in Brazil and other Latin American nations. In Des-movem one can see what Roberto Pontual described as the fleeting and therefore conceptual nature of his proposal, which could be undone at any moment. To this Neoconcrete legacy, Leal added ideas gleaned from Minimalism, especially its late phase, when American artists like Robert Morris and Sol LeWitt renounced the object and delved into the processes of making art, blazing new trails for practices that later led to environmentally-related interventions such as Land Art, body-related actions such as Body Art and performance. The Minimalist Art that took root in the USA in the 1960s reacted against subjectivity and the excesses of abstract Expressionism, striking a course between formalism, with Donald Judd, and informalism, with Richard Serra, who poured molten lead into the corner of a gallery for his Splash Piece. Another significant influence, Arte Povera, brought the artist closer still to investigation, highlighting the empirical and speculative nature of his work,

BUILDING UP THE IMAGE


Claudia Saldanha | Director of Theory and Research Department I think, I reflect, I study. I do not write, but I cut. I cut out and fold over. I use glue. I cut out to sew up. I use thread. I use paint and I cut. I try, then, to make the works meaning its own construction. In order to do so, I use the same materials that have always supported images. These materials are essential elements of my work. The law that rules over them releases their key physical characteristics to organize the game for them in an ultimate construct which is geometric. In accumulations, folds and falls, invasions and overlaps as in the past with paper, or today with canvas the positive and negative design an infinite modulation whose form is the fruit of their permanent recomposition. This is how the work is made, unmade and remade, like the artist, a human being living life. Paulo Roberto Leal, 1978 In his brief, intense career, which began in the 1970s and ended in 1991, Paulo Roberto Leal produced an abundant body of work in which he explored the artistic potential of relief, construction

Leal was one of a group of artists who decided to resume the Neoconcrete project fifteen years on, revitalizing it through contact with the new routes in Brazilian contemporary art. In a movement that ran counter to the trends at the time, which included conceptual leanings and a return to figuration, Paulo Roberto Leal advanced with an independent, free-thinking stance, seeking, as he himself said, to make the meaning of the work clear through the way it was made. The artists method involved uncomplicated, well-planned activities. He used cutting, folding, sewing and even painting, albeit in an original way (like on the back of the canvas), to draw closer ties between plane, texture and color. In Armagens, his first series of works using paper, in Entretelas [Betweencanvases] when he introduced canvases made of cotton and denim, and in his Armaduras [Armory] Leal developed an unconstrained, uniquely lyrical language. The multiple sensoriality present in Paulo Roberto Leals work has genealogical links to the experiments in the late 1950s by Ivan Serpa, Lygia Clark, Hlio Oiticica and Alusio Carvo, who strove to highlight expression and experience as a key element in the works

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which features the use of raw materials such as wrapping paper, sewing thread, foil, cloth, acrylic sheets and other everyday materials. The decision to use the canvas as a support for experimentation and abdicate representation was not an exclusive domain of the artists from Italys Arte Povera or Americas Minimalism, but rather a feature of much of the artwork produced during the period. The 1960s saw the almost simultaneous emergence in different countries of movements that defended marginalized, poor values, such as sensuality, lyricism, poetry and subjectivity. In the view of Italian critic Germano Celant, who coined the term Arte Povera and wrote a series of essays for exhibitions he organized, this art form should be released from any historical or symbolic superstructure. These new artists-cum-alchemists were not about to work on principles, but needed to delve into the roots of things, take part in natural phenomena to discover themselves, their bodies, their memory, their gestures and everything deriving from their senses. Like the surface of an Armagem, the exhibition Form is Born from Matter takes shape around Niemeyers curvaceous architecture, giving the visitor an experience of Paulo Roberto Leal. In both Habitantes [Inhabitants] and in Muralha do Quasar [Quasar Wall], the artist intentionally brings together di-

verse elements to build up a system of repeated or modulating units and/or movements. Spectators experience the work and interact with the creative process by drawing on their own personal experience, reconstructing and recombining its parts. In the Armagens series, from the beginning of his career, the artist works with sheets of paper to create a variety of forms. This first sequence of works, a compound of structure (armao) and image (imagem), is the result of the artists experimentations using kraft paper, wrapping paper and card. Whether rolled up on a table without the slightest protection or enclosed in acrylic boxes, Leals Armagens already hint of his interest in spectator participation. Art critic Roberto Pontual wrote the following about this series. So intentionally precarious is the core of his work that it is only in the very act and at the very time of setting them up at an exhibition that some of his works take on their final form not so final, because it is up to us to dismantle certain of these armagens, as if we were but playing. In a game that encompasses the seed of much: the potential, meaningful abundance of mere sheets of paper; an abundance, quite simply, of everything that exists.8 In Entretelas e Sobretelas [Betweencanvases and Oncanvases] of 1975, Paulo Roberto Leal turns to canvases

made of denim, blue denim and thread which, when machine-sewn, crosses the field of the painting, separating, adding or even overlapping fabrics. This new range of expression, which is almost as old as painting itself, reveals countless possibilities from the front or behind, dyed or untreated, stretched or folded , forming a commentary not only about painting but also about its absence. In the foreword to the catalog for the artists exhibition at Galeria Grafitti this year, Osmar Dillon writes, The white canvas. The canvas playing-field for a painting that will not be painted. A canvas baring its naked skin and its back surgically sewn (with the truth of its thread) to the smooth, washed face prepared for the painting that will never be.9 Some years later, Paulo Roberto Leal started his Armaduras [Armory] series: canvases cut and glued onto other canvases, painted on both sides or even placed straight onto the wall, with no support, frame or any other protection. Once again, the artist seeks to underline the materials autonomy in the process of making art. The painting thus gains substance, it covers the fabric on its reverse side and constructs the form, insistently rejecting representation. Frederico Morais writes, there is a struggle between the white of the canvas that wants to take precedence, to be made space or even color, and the red, pressing into the corners of the canvas. But it could equally be

the other way around: the red, invading the angular ends of the painting, wanting to occupy the new territory and blank out the white, saturating it with its physical presence as color. It is a battle that assumes both an active interior and an exterior whose boundaries or power are unknown to us. In either case, therefore, the one constant is mobility. And this mobility is not just structural, pertaining to the play set up between the design of the work and the material used to construct it. The material itself moves. Before, as Leal himself reminds us, one of his aims was to create ripples in the paper itself, which today are the sheets of denim painted on both sides that form these undulations with the passing of time. Before, there was a suggestion of frailty, a metaphorical sense; today, it is the result of its own chemistry.10 In the view of Roberto Pontual, there are some basic constants in Leals work. The first is its constructive drive. The second is the modular language, with the square as its model. The third is the use of series. The fourth is the exchange of image for concept. The fifth is the interchange between plane and open space. The sixth is the specific utilization of each particular material (...) And the seventh is the incorporation of chance, which is allied to virtual or real playfulness. (...) All these constants converge in the creation of a new space of expression (...), where the line, in the

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most varied of ways, is an artistic happening and a dominant symbol.11 With this exhibition, Museu Contempornea de Niteri brings together for the first time a significant portion of the set of works by Paulo Roberto Leal belonging to the Joo Sattamini Collection and other private collections. Through them, we can experience the almost 25-year-long career of this artist who never went to art college or had private teachers and appreciate the importance of the artists output in the overall context of Brazilian contemporary art.

Domingos da Criao held at Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro). Held his first solo exhibition, Mltiplos, at Galeria Ipanema, with an introductory text written by Roberto Pontual. Participated in the 11th So Paulo Bienal and won the international award for his Des-mov-em series (acrylic boxes with colored paper strips). Nominated for the 36th Venice Biennale, to be held the following year. 1972 Represented Brazil at the 36th Venice Biennale alongside Franz Weissmann and Humberto Espndola, exhibiting his first sets of Armagens, paper reliefs inside transparent or translucent acrylic boxes. From then on, his work

1975 Started a new series of works, Entretelas, in which he used patches of machine-sewn fabrics. Held an exhibition at Rios Galeria Graffiti, whose introductory text was written by Osmar Dillon. His choice of a new support inspired a number of articles by art critics. 1976 Put on an exhibition together with Haroldo Barroso that toured several Brazilian cities. Also participated in Arte agora I: Brasil 70-75, an exhibition held at Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro. 1977 Olvio Tavares de Arajo made a film about Leals work, O gesto criador, to coincide with the touring exhibition. 1978 Made a new series of works using canvases that were cut out, painted and glued onto different supports. His Armaduras were exhibited at Arte agora III: Amrica Latina Geometria sensvel; the works were lost in a fire at Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro. Despite his growing recognition as an artist, he carried on working at the Brazilian Central Bank and held the post of curator of the banks museum for two years. 1980 Participated in Panorama da nova pintura latino-americana, an exhibition that opened in Buenos Aires and then toured several other countries. Was a member of the Brazilian delegation to the 39th Venice Biennale. 1981 As part of a project entitled Projeto ABC, at Funarte in Rio, he assembled an environment called A casa, and had his work exhibited in a special room at the

Salo Nacional de Arte de Belo Horizonte. Also exhibited works at Museu Postal e Telegrfico de Braslia, presenting his Cartas series for the first time: sheets of paper held together by seams. 1982 Participated in the exhibition In comunicabile/Inter-comunicvel with Brazilian and foreign artists at Museu de Arte Contempornea da Universidade de So Paulo. His Quasar series was included in an exhibition of the Gilberto Chateaubriand collection at Fundao Gulbenkian in Lisbon, Portugal. 1983 Was a jury member at the Salo Nacional de Artes Plsticas and took part in the exhibition flor da pele pintura e prazer in Rio. 1984 Alongside Marcus Lontra, curated Como vai voc, Gerao 80?, an exhibition put on at Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage in Rio. Held a number of individual and joint exhibitions in different parts of Brazil throughout the 1980s. His output in this period included Habitantes, Rio ziriguidum, A vila, Morro da Urca, Corcovado and Batuque, in which color is a fundamental element. 1989 His last solo exhibition, Concerto concreto, was held in Rio at Galeria 110 Arte Contempornea. 1991 He died of pneumonia in Rio in February, aged 46. 1993 In a bid to preserve the his memory and work, art critic Roberto Pontual and artists Armando Mattos and Manfredo Souzanetto created the Projeto

BIOGRAPHY
Paulo Roberto Leal, 1946-1991 1969 Carried out his first visual programming work for exhibition catalogs in Rio de Janeiro. Proof-read Dicionrio de artes plsticas no Brasil, by Roberto Pontual. Established relations with poet and artist Osmar Dillon. 1970 Started activities as an artist without giving up his job at Brazils Central Bank, where he worked as an economist and banker. Took part in joint exhibitions, including Materiais transfigurados, at Sala Goeldi in Funarte, Rio de Janeiro, and was one of thirty artists selected for the 11th So Paulo Bienal held the following year. 1971 Gave a course during the Domingos de Papel event (an offshoot of the

was added to private collections and international museums. Received critical acclaim for an individual exhibition held at Galeria Ipanema. 1973 Took part in more joint and solo exhibitions across Brazil, and was given an award at the National Competition for Multiple Works put on by Petite Galerie in Rio de Janeiro. 1974 Held his first solo exhibition in So Paulo at Galeria Arte Global. Alongside his Armagens, he exhibited an hourglasslike piece; an untitled work of paper and acrylic made to be handled. At the same time, Andr Palut made a documentary about the work of ten Brazilian artists, including Paulo Roberto Leal, who had been selected for inclusion in the contemporary art collection of the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada.

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Concreto PRL project, with Gilberto Chateaubriand as one of its trustees. 1995 Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro opened its PRL Center of Iconographic and Textual Reference, making document archives available to the general public for reference and research. 1998 His work was included in the joint exhibitions O moderno e contemporneo, at Museu de Arte de So Paulo, and Espelho da Bienal, at Museu de Arte Contempornea de Niteri, and in a small individual exhibition at Estdio Guanabara in Rio. 1999 Des-mov-em and Armagens, both works using paper, were exhibited in Rio at Parque das Runas. 2000 The collection of the Projeto Concreto PRL was exhibited for the first time at a retrospective at Centro Cultural Light, curated by Armando Mattos. The first catalog of the artists body of work was published on this occasion. His work was exhibited in a solo exhibition at Galeria Laura Marsiaj under the curatorship of Fernando Cocchiarale, and was included in Situaes: arte brasileira dos anos 70, at Casa Frana-Brasil, Rio de Janeiro. 2001-2006 Had works included in the following joint exhibitions: Imagem sitiada, at Espao SESC, Rio (2003); Onde est voc, Gerao 80?, at CCBB, Rio (2004); Espao ldico Um olhar sobre a infncia na arte brasileira, at BNDES, Rio (2004); O ldico na arte, at Ita Cultural, So Paulo (2005); and Abrigo potico Dilogos com Lygia Clark, at MAC Niteri (2006).

NOTES
1 PEDROSA, Mario. Arte experimental e museus. In: ARANTES, Otlia. Poltica das Artes 1. So Paulo: Edusp, 1995. 2 Grupo Mad and the Asociacin Arte Concreto-Invencin (1945-47) were founded during this period of intense activity and creativeness. Their publications and studies contain references to the ideals and experiences (inventions) of Malevich, Mondrian, Jean Arp, Kurt Schwitters, Rodchenko, Lszl Moholy-Nagy and Max Bill. 3 FERREIRA, Gullar. Teoria do no-objeto. In: AMARAL, Aracy. Projeto construtivo brasileiro na arte: 1950-1962. Rio de Janeiro: FUNARTE, 1977. 4 ROBERTO, Pontual. Mover multiplicando. In: LEAL, Paulo Roberto. Paulo Roberto Leal: mltiplos. Rio de Janeiro: Galeria de Arte Ipanema, 1971. 5 Hlio Oiticica called his geometric, schematic paintings that acquired a metaphysical dimension Metaesquemas [Metaschemes]. He called his boxes, jars and tins with collections and assemblages of materials and pigments Blides. 6 MORAIS, Frederico. O papel do artista/ o tecido da arte. Rio de Janeiro: Galeria de Arte Ipanema, 1976 7 Quasars (from the Latin Quasi stelars objectus, or quasi-stellar object) are extremely bright objects encountered in the far corners of the Universe. Most quasars that have been observed have a very high red shift, which indicates that they move very fast, probably greater than 50,000 km/s, which, when combined with Hubbles law, implies that they are very distant (Wikipedia) 8 PONTUAL, Roberto. Text for Venice Biennale catalog, 1980 9 DILLON, Osmar. A tela em branco. In: LEAL, Paulo Roberto. Paulo R. Leal. Rio de Janeiro: Graffiti Galeria de Arte, 1975. p. 2. 10 MORAIS, Frederico. Paulo Leal: na abertura qual o espao da arte? O Globo, Rio de Janeiro, 29 set. 1980. Artes plsticas, p. 22. 11 PONTUAL, Roberto. Quasar e habitantes. In: LEAL, Paulo Roberto. ______. Rio de Janeiro: Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, 1983. p.3.

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PREFEITO DE NITERI Godofredo Pinto SECRETRIO MUNICIPAL DE CULTURA Andr Diniz SUBSECRETRIO MUNICIPAL DE CULTURA Marcelo Velloso FUNDAO DE ARTE DE NITERI Presidente Danielle Nigromonte Superintendente Maria Ins de Oliveira MUSEU DE ARTE CONTEMPORNEA DE NITERI Direo Geral Director Luiz Guilherme Vergara Direo de Acervo Collection Director Mrcia Mller Coordenadoria Executiva Executive Coordination Volmira Salgado Gerncia de Desenvolvimento Development Management Tatiana Assumpo Richard Assistente da Direo Director assistant Joseane Rocha DIVISO DE ADMINISTRAO Administration Department Administrador Administrator Alessandro Perlingeiro Noronha Assessor e Assuntos de Segurana Insurance Advisor Lus Rogrio Baltazar DIVISO DE ARQUITETURA Architeture Department Direo Director Sandro Henrique Silveira Assistente Assistant Kamila Cobbe Teixeira Chefe de Manuteno Head of Maintenance Pncio Muniz DIVISO DE ARTE E EDUCAO Art and Education Department Direo Director Beatriz Jabor Coordenao de Projetos Pedaggicos Coordinator of Educational Programs Mrcia Campos Pesquisa e Mediao Research and Mediation Eduardo Machado, Ivan Henriques, Maria Thomas

Coordenao de Programas com Jovens Coordinator of Programs for Youth Roberta Condeixa Coordenao de Programas de Educao Infantil Coordinator of Educational Programs for Children Igns Guimares Coordenao de Programas Comunitrios Community Program Coordinator Leandro Baptista DIVISO DE MUSEOLOGIA Museology Department Direo Director Anglica Pimenta Conservao de Acervo Collection Conservation Nice Mendona Museloga Museologist Mayra Brauer Morgado DIVISO DE TEORIA E PESQUISA Theory and Research Department Direo Director Claudia Saldanha Bibliotecria Librarian Lda Maria Abbs Assistente de Pesquisa Research Assistant Beatriz Lemos CURADORIA Curator Claudia Saldanha e Luiz Guilherme Vergara PROJETO GRFICO Graphic design Dupla Design REVISO DE TEXTOS Proof-reading Itamar Rigueira VERSO PARA O INGLS Translation into English Rebecca Atkinson FOTOGRAFIA Photography Paulinho Muniz ASSESSORIA DE IMPRENSA Press office CW&A Comunicao MONTAGEM Assembly Ado de Oliveira, Cas de Arajo e Moiss Barbosa COORDENADORES DAS BASES EDUCATIVAS ngela Lombardo, Hugo Richard e Mnica Duque AGRADECIMENTOS Special thanks Mrcio e Fernanda Barbosa, PROJETO CONCRETO e FUNARTE

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MUSEU DE ARTE CONTEMPORNEA DE NITERI Mirante da Boa Viagem, s/n Boa Viagem Niteri RJ tel/fax [55 21] 2620 2400 / 2620 2481 mac@macniteroi.com.br www.macniteroi.com.br HORRIO DE VISITAO De tera a domingo, das 10h s 18h [das 10 s 19h, no horrio de vero] VISITAS MEDIADAS PARA GRUPOS Agendamento pelos telefones 2620 2400 / 2620 2481 ramal 29 [Diviso de Arte Educao] SEJA UM AMIGO DO MAC DE NITERI Informaes www.macniteroi.com.br ou desenvolvimento@macniteroi.com.br

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