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The illusion of gesture

Inventory; other art
MAC USP 2016/2017

“Although the gesture can be exemplary without aiming for such loudly spectacular effects, it is inseparable from an intention to appear or show, whereby the idea of spectacle is already introduced, albeit discreetly”.

Jean Galard

Gustavo von Ha's works allude to the myth of a heroic artistic gesture. A mark on the support left by the artist-creator who would thus found something new and original. This time, to discuss notions such as copying, simulation and appropriation, Von Ha chooses the visuality of gestural painting – non-geometric, non-figurative, also known as abstract expressionist, abstract-lyrical or informalist.Inventory; Another art is made up of a selection of images that the artist knows how to provoke our sensitivity, seduce us through color and gesture, and it is this apprehension of ours that he intends to destabilize.
The abstract-expressive poetics of the second post-war era generally pursued spontaneity as a bridge to the subjective and irrational, often borrowing surrealist automatic writing to guide the artist's gesture. In the North American environment, each artist – the so-called “action painters”, in the words of critic Harold Rosenberg – should have their own easily recognizable “style” and large canvases were seen as an “arena” for recording the power of the affirmative gesture, which characterized the artist’s presence in the work. “What should appear on the screen was not an image, but an event”, said Rosenberg.
In the European situation, in turn, the “incommunicability of form” was discussed – called other art because it was thought to escape tradition –, at a time of crisis in the face of post-war reality. The informalist was identified with his work, as if it attested to how much he was crossed by the existential conflicts of that moment – therein lay the originality of his production (especially in Jean Fautrier and Alberto Burri, whose critical fortune repeatedly highlights the war experience of both how she formally “translated” herself into her works).
Von Ha comments on this painting inscribed in a troubled period in the history of art, indicating how originality is something impossible in a history made up of references and allusions. He will appropriate, for example, Jackson Pollock's paintings which, in themselves, bring together these references in a synthesis that brings together learning from cubism (the palette of analytical cubism), Mexican muralism and historical painting (in dimensions), performance (in throwing and dripping), of surrealism (borrowing André Masson's all over). In another sense, Von Ha will also absorb the European notion of pictorial matter as a substance on which sensations are imprinted and how the record of the hand, which is a trace, is seen as memory, as exemplified by Fautrier's works.
The artist does not recreate works. It produces possible images. But the matrices for these simulations are not chosen randomly – they select what is interesting to appropriate. This is not just an appropriation of visuality, but also of the procedures used by the main names in abstract-expressive painting – as the video shows. Thus, there is a dimension of performance that runs through the production process: the works presented here reveal only part of what they actually are. The results present the study of procedures, materials and performances, inventorying for us the manual on how to do it.
In particular, the material paintings, made from a thoughtless accumulation of paint, are the result of scraping “constructive” canvases, copies made by von Ha of Volpi, Hercules Barsotti, among others. Therefore, his gesture is not one that creates, but one that undoes the clear form, with rigid contours, metamorphosing it into contemporary informalism. If the constructive and the formless, poetics located in the same historical period, concerned different ideologies, currently, they have lost these characteristics, becoming clichés or, at least, fiction.
Von Ha manages these visualities and procedures that inhabit our imaginary museum, but are only there latent. It is as if, through quotations and allusions, the artist accessed these images that we cannot locate. In this way, he ends up revealing the pervasive power of these poetics as visuality, especially for our common artistic formation based, to a large extent, on reproductions. In AndréMalraux's view, reproduced art is fictitious – in chromatic terms, dimensions, the three-dimensional to two-dimensional relationship.
The artist reminds us of the fate of these heroic gestures as parody – whether staged by themselves, as in Georges Mathieu's performance, or pointed out by artists of the same period who were aware of the emptying of meaning resulting from an excessive exploitation of the image of the conflicted artist. with reality sold by galleries and variety magazines, such as Robert Rauschenberg and Yves Klein.
In the current context, Von Ha warns about the contemporary mythification of the artist and art from the position of a forger, one who operates within the scope of reproductions and historical fillings. He points to the cliché that still prevails today as imitation, simulation and entertainment , once the transgressive characteristic of the gesture has been lost. We remain in this place without contours, between the seduction of painting and our need for an author and an original, for a truth of expression that guarantees the permanence of the aura of the work of art.

Ana Avelar

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