After three years (since 2012) without an individual exhibition in the city, Paulo Pasta will be showing a collection of new works in São Paulo from November 12. Entitled There is an outside inside us and outside us an inside (Há um fora dentro da gente e fora da gente um dentro), the exhibition marks the inauguration of Galeria Millan’s new space in the capital, presenting a collection of paintings in which the artist combines experimentation, intuition and precision and also brings to light his promising reencounter with the landscape genre.
Like the verse that Pasta borrowed for the title from the poet from Minas Gerais Francisco Alvim, the exhibition creates an intersection – in this case, between two different groups of apparently disparate works, but with surprising moments of contact and identification. On one hand there are the landscapes, once more reintegrated into the painter’s repertoire after decades of absence; on the other, the abstracts, marked by an intense and ambiguous chromatic atmosphere and refined geometrical structure, the hallmarks of his unquestionable prominence in Brazilian contemporary painting. Both arise from the same interest in pictorial work, in reinventing the world and in an art where experience goes hand in hand with intuition.
The exhibition will simultaneously occupy both of Millan’s premises in the city. In the traditional part of the gallery differently shaped canvases will be shown that are part of Pasta’s persistent search for a strict and delicate balance of shape and color. However, together with these, it will be possible to see one of the landscapes produced recently by the artist, in which he has used his native town of Ariranha as a starting point. In the new Anexo Millan, just a few meters away from the main gallery, the same discordant process will be present in this other section of the exhibition. Dedicated to landscapes, the new space will also house an enormous abstract canvas painted directly on the wall, as a mural. “The idea is to indicate that I didn’t stop doing anything, I just added to it”, says the artist, to explain the reasoning and the interwoven structure of the double event.
It is important to reiterate that landscapes are not a new thing in Paulo Pasta’s trajectory. They were centrally important at the start of his career. It was precisely the works born out of confrontation with the arid landscapes of the big sugar cane plantations around his hometown that rounded out his first exhibition, in 1984. However his work rapidly refined itself to become a rich and complex structure of planes, shapes and colors. It is only recently that the memories and the desire to resume the process of landscape construction have been budding again and gaining space, cautiously but persistently, in his daily efforts with the paintbrushes.
The trigger for this process came from reading a biography of Van Gogh, which renewed his fascination for 19th Century landscapes. The painter stresses that there is no figurative or imitative intention in this process. These works stem much more from the act of painting than from nature itself. The return to the same scene portrayed in his youth does not derive from an adulatory relationship, but rather from an intimate connection between the work and memory. For 26 years, between 1977 and 2003, he routinely traveled the approximately 370 kilometers between São Paulo and Ariranha, at least once a month. “It wouldn’t make sense to paint any other landscape”, says the artist, explaining that for him, painting is connected to the act of remembering. “My relationship with painting is one of mutual construction: my memory affects my painting and the painting affects me. It’s something that grew over time”, he adds. He makes it clear that his interest is not in narrative and summarizes: “It’s the empty spaces that fascinate me; I love to paint skies”.
A few years ago these drawings, as the artists calls all his works on paper, achieved publication in an insert in the Moreira Salles Institute’s Revista Serrote. They were then exhibited at the Figueiredo Ferraz Institute, in Ribeirão Preto where an interesting dialog was established with the northwestern region and its landscape, similar to that of Ariranha. Only now is this now greatly expanded series, reaching São Paulo where it has the chance to forge a relationship with the rest of the artist’s production.
It is not only the landscapes however, that bring something new to Pasta’s work. Compared to previous works, there appears to be greater freedom in the abstracts exhibited in the Galeria Millan exhibition. The color contrast is more intense, the colors themselves more luminous and bold. Paulo Pasta is not an abstract artist in the strictest sense of the word. His forms unquestionably derive from the world around him, inspired by small details, images captured here and there and refashioned. Crosses, arches or bits of broken tiles for example, are recurring themes in his production.
Among the more recent studies (the exhibition only shows works from the last three years) an example that stands out is the emergence of the reason for the Annunciation. Drawing on the varied representations of the angel’s annunciation to the Virgin Mary, in which the two characters are always separated by a column, Pasta recreates a space that is synthetic yet scenic, with a gentle three-dimensional essence thanks to the hitherto unseen use of the diagonal line in his works.
Together with the exhibition the gallery will launch Landscape Fable (Fábula da Paisagem), a coffee-table book (25 cm x 20 cm) with around 25 of the landscapes created by Pasta. The critic and Doctor of Literature Samuel Titan Jr. has edited the book and written the introduction.
MILLAN’S NEW EXHIBITION SPACE
Paulo Pasta’s show is the synthesis of Galeria Millan’s expectations with its expansion. Named the Anexo Millan, the new space was designed by Sérgio Kipnis (of Kipnis Arquitetos Associados) and Fernando Millan, authors of the prize-winning design for the gallery’s original home, located in the same block on Rua Fradique Coutinho, in the district of Vila Madalena. The new building will give the gallery greater flexibility and versatility, allowing more large-scale installations to be exhibited, as well as performances, in addition to improved management of the collection and implementation of residency projects.
It took 18 months to finish the construction, with its straight, minimalist lines. The 450 square meters (1476 sq. ft.) of built area house two contiguous exhibition rooms of different sizes. The first of them, connected to the entrance patio which is right on the street, looks like a huge cube, with 60 m2 (297 sq.ft.) of surface, double-height ceiling (6m/20 ft. high) and natural lighting provided by two large glassed cut-outs near the ceiling. The second space is larger – 25m (82 ft.) long by 5m (16 ft.) wide – and has a diagonal false ceiling (4m /13 ft. high on the right and 3m/10 ft. on the left). Separating them, merely a huge retractable door. Furthermore, the plan incorporates a small apartment to house resident artists.
“The exhibition space also needs to be a place for reflection”, affirms André Millan, who hopes to achieve a new dynamic for the gallery. After this dialog between the different paths explored by Paulo Pasta – the density of which would be difficult to show without the use of the Anexo -, other events are already being planned, such as exhibitions of Miguel Rio Branco, Tunga and Fernando Lemos, in addition to a performance by Lenora de Barros.