Double Crossing or the line through the mirror,
or how to reveal the crossing.
" Historically, there are countless references to the mirror as a tool for research and the production of images, and throughout his years of work Von Ha has likewise made use of it in his investigations."
In Double Crossing, Gustavo Von Ha presents two series of artworks whose point in common is the investigation of the process or act of crossing. This inquiry takes place through a procedure of crossfading, used to consider the relation with the process for producing the image: the image/mirror that produces a sort of fusion between the “two sides.” In this proposal, when the instrument used to begin the process is withdrawn, the fusion disappears, and we can therefore consider how the strategy allows the artist to materialize, on the surface of the paper, the image that is born from that first instance that is offered for the production of this latter one, which now becomes part of the world. A birth, or better, a rebirth of the image that originally exists in time and space, but in this new proposed interplay presents itself to the eye with a new body, with a subversion of its starting point.
The artist’s choice of universal references – in the set featured in this show, constituted by Tarsila do Amaral and Leonilson – can be read in different ways, whether those set forth by Gustavo Von Ha himself, or those that present themselves to our inquiring and investigative gaze: after all what are these “copied drawings” originally by artists so clearly identifiable by their production, by the distinctive characteristics of their images, by their insertion in the history of art, particularly Brazilian art? What gives rise to this process, which, after being apparently identified, points to explicit references such as the history of Brazilian art, investigations into drawing along with its potentials in contemporary art, as well as questions involved in the questioning procedures of contemporary production, such as rereading, copy, appropriation, inversion, mirrorings and other possible readings? And isn’t it also possible to consider the artist’s explicit interest in other subjects such as memory, notions of beauty, or nonsense?
It is moreover necessary to return to the idea of the mirror, as a place in which the image does not exist – in a physical/material perspective – and vanishes. Historically, there are countless references to the mirror as a tool for research and the production of images, and throughout his years of work Von Ha has likewise made use of it in his investigations.
For the artist, the images he produces exist on their distinct supports; the first image, which gives origin to the second, as well as this latter one that arises through the work of the mirror, which is the place of the passage, of the crossing over, and not of existence, or permanence. While the image is completed and realized by way of the mirror, it is important to underscore that it also takes place through the mirror’s intermediation. It is therefore necessary to make a clear distinction between the two terms, since the process presupposes this game of double meaning for them.
There is a further question that must be considered – even if not answered, at least not right here and now – and which should be borne in mind during the process of analyzing the works, whether in our reading of them, or in the very process of their elaboration. I am referring to the signature, or to a possible way of identifying the drawings. Why sign them? Or perhaps it is further necessary to ask how to sign them?
If these pictures were elaborated from preexisting ones, if assuming them individually as an image means fusing all their elements, including what there is in terms of a “signature” in the original, then how can this puzzle be solved without also crossing through the mirror, in the search for the author’s identity? But this is a further question among Gustavo Von Ha’s proposals, whose solution demands that we delve into the drawings, analyzing the aims and provocations that the artist is proposing, while also, perhaps, inviting us to cross through the mirror.
São Paulo, December 2010
Professor and curator of
the Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado – FAAP