Fog, cloudy horizons, cracks, folds, deceleration, cognition, vision regime and so on. All these words or expressions have become, we know, more and more common in our everyday vocabulary, penetrating the speech of a certain collective imaginary that you seek – with more or less success – interpret and digest the complexity of human experience today.
While a hyper version of contemporary times shared by us as a common experience of time and space intensifies, contemporary art often launches the challenge of going against this avalanche of information, stimuli and other accumulated datas, hovering like solid clouds of obscenely distinct contents that are already indiscernible by our cognitive devices. Intitulated Quiçaça, the present series of paintings here gathered (next to a triptych woodcut, and a series of drawings and frottages) were conceived by the artist last year, at a time where it was rescued in a domestic environment, on the quarantine period and isolation needed in front of contamination by the Sars-Cov-2 virus.
Not that such isolation and certain loneliness were strange to Calzavara's artistic process, artistic that, through distinct means like photography, the video and painting, is always investigating the meanders of a possibly more silent and less histrionic world, instead of this where we find ourselves suffocated, disoriented in search of solid ground and solid answers about the future. The quiçaça of the title of the exhibition brings together the vegetation landscapes we see in fragments, excerpts and involuntary zooms, through the brushstrokes of Ana. A quiçaça is just the kind of plant that grows in wastelands, on the branches of brick and cement walls, in unlikely breaches of an architectural structure, pointing to its resistance and incorruptible desire to come into the world, to grow towards the sunlight and here to remain.
If today's world leads us to an experience where our cognitive apparatus find themselves in full dysfunction or walking into a sort of total collapse – we are bombed at every moment in different directions, through fingerprints, pixelated, in an irrefragable avalanche of their own – it is not uncommon for our eyes to miss something that, within this unbalanced and schizophrenic equation, is capable of capturing our attention and sensibilities. Or, by the words of Korean philosopher Byung-Chul Han, in his text “Not things”:
"Information falsifies events. They live off the stimulus of surprise. But the stimulus doesn't last long. A need for new stimuli quickly emerges. We used to realize reality in terms of stimuli, in terms of surprises. As information hunters, we become blind to quiet, discreet things, even ordinary things, trivialities or conventionalities that lack of stimulus, but that we perceive in our daily lives. They lack stimulus, but they anchor us into being.”
(Han, Byung-Chul; Not things - twisting of the world of life, 2023, Voices Editor).
Well, it doesn't have to go very far to articulate, theoretically and affectionately, the vegetation painted by Calzavara as precise examples of what the Korean philosopher calls silent, discreet, even ordinary things. Such an exercise in search of its deceleration and instauration of another regime of attention and availability to the world that we see around us is no news in the production of the artist. Here, however, this desire gains new contours at the step where Ana opts to exhibit only paintings, which her concepts often originated from her own photograph, sort of exploring, broadly, for about 25 years.
"How, today, does one make an image that persists?” is a continuing question the artist always makes for herself as a visual artist. Conceived on different scales and about distinct supports (canvas, Japanese paper, jute, plaster and clay), Calzavara paintings summon us, clear and indubitably, to be – experiments and experiencers of this possible other world, where a walk can lead us to true and profound moments of contemplation and assimilation of our ideas, anguish and such.
Revealing her own landscapes of her childhood (in paintings in which the typical red tile of simple houses, spread across the city and perpetuated in its impeccable aesthetic composition) or through plants that are presented to us already with the furor of a movement in blurred images, all what Ana present don’t deprive us of contemplating all that a banal ride can offer us. Feelings of optical beauty, nostalgia and even a certain melancholy. Everything is capable of affecting us. And so let it be.
Once back into the world of experience, we may be able to launch fundamental looks and a bit urgent to nature that surrounds us, for example. Be of the order of the quiçaças that persistently flourish in the most adverse conditions, be reflecting upon the future of the Amazon Forest, our current global concern, repeatedly to cross us, everywhere we go. Perhaps thinking of changing the world – through a dream-delirium of completely saving the amazon biome, or by the vain desire of extinguishing all corruptible ways that genuinely melt our brains and beyond – be a frightening thought, worthy of paralyzing any being that undertakes such an impossible, heavy and necessarily collective undertaking..
We must begin by the small things, for all that Ana Calzavara invites us here, to direct our eyes from tired retinas and blurry that (hopefully!) they'll renew after a good (and extended) gaze at the paintings, on part of visitors. "The strength of the weak is its slow time”, it already told us, in 1993, the writer and geographer Milton Santos, in the subtitle of its book.
We use this unsuspected and strange force, with determination and fury, a latent desire to find never the same world, but, yes, another old world, in constant mutation to all sides and infinite directions, many of which we are able to retain within us and, along with them, follow on a more harmonic walk, poetic and possible towards the unknown. With less mist, fog, storms or unbearable heat waves to whistle us. Walking, just, like we always did and so we'll continue to do.