i n fi n i t i v o
"A nossa memória é construída. O nosso cérebro projeta o futuro e o passado, e completa cada espaço vazio com as nossas narrativas. A minha forma de contar histórias é através do desenho. Eu coleciono imagens das coisas que vejo e do que carrego na minha memória."
"Our memory is a construction. Our brain projects the future and the past completing every empty space with our narratives. My way of telling stories is through drawing. I collect images of the things I see and of what I carry in my memory."
As if to embrace time...
There’s such intense poetic drive to Mateu Velasco’s recent production, it seems to aim for the infinitive. Like those who reflect upon fundamental philosophical issues such as being and existing in the world, his works suggest dodging the peculiar sequential length of Chronos on behalf of Kairos’ indeterminacy of time. Instead of the entropic and linear finitude of time, Velasco seems to thus wish for the infinite experience of the timely moment, hence his target is quality over quantity. From a playful approach, his works flow through an oneiric, mnemonic and fictional vocabulary. And it's no accident he employs varied medium and supports when making them, including painting, drawing, and embroidery, on wood, fabric or ceramics, in addition to pliable cut-outs.
There’s undisputed virtuosity to Mateu’s drawing skills. The fugacity of his drawing strokes seem to reveal his mental agility in shapes and structures that are analogue to imaginal nuance multitudes. Observe how there’s no fluency of color or stroke to the embroidered line. Notice how there’s no promptness to the ceramic support. Of course an embroidered circle, for example, requires a multi-tangential line; any ceramics demand cooking time; and loose juxtaposed paper cut-outs, like formal hourglasses, depend on someone’s handling, and so on.
In his eagerness to reach an agreement between forthcoming and perennial, the artist resorts to a strategy of suspension to deal with time layers. Thus curbing his hands and imposing them inquiries, he moves towards the infinitive of things, events and creation.
There's an urge to his recent production for spacing, thinking, reflecting… and having the following question as a starting point: “which images do I recall?”.
In his early childhood memories, pigeons stand out, according to him. Be it their flying away as he approached them while running at the park, or the retreating under the closed window of the smoky room on Saturdays with the family. From those afternoons, the colored stones stored in the glass shelf, like an “unsolvable puzzle”, are powerful memories. But not just them.
There are also those dreams… “Oh! And they’re so plentiful”, says him, “I could barely wrap my fingers around them.” If “time and space expanded and retracted as fed by expectations”, it's no accident that, according to Mateu, the present is revealed as a kind of “lump in the throat which merges past and future.”
A welcome lump! Here presented as an exhibition collection that can make sense of the collective longing (of all of us) for a never coming day. After all, being hypnotized by the suspension of time within the imposed quarantine resulting from the pandemics, when this isolation moment ends, “which images will we recall?”
In our poetic fantasy, the recurrence of certain elements in Mateu Velasco’s images is similar to the intentional clue to the comprehension of worldly things. Not as being symbolic of facts, but as reasons for existential reinventions above all. In addition to the aforementioned pigeons, we refer to chairs, worldly objects, and the invariable “human” anonymity. Like many consumer objects, the chair, for example, denotes the desire for the delusional power of property. Plants, like sundials, express the vital cycle in the form of vase emptiness. The stone, an extreme symbol of time flow, is like an inertial guidance of creation.
However, regardless of things from Mateu's images actually being references to situations experienced by him or not, the real/mental liminality inherent to his work is a means of traversing to the infinitive. Traversal which, as poet Pessoa suggests, “if we don’t dare to do, we’ll have been standing (...) aside ourselves”…
Sonia Salcedo del Castillo
"Esse período de isolamento aprofundou o meu olhar sobre o tempo. Testei formas de frear a explosão do desenho e dilatar o momento do fazer.
Porque o tempo é como a memória, ele existe de alguma forma, mas não da forma que se apresenta ali."
"This isolation period has deepened my regard of time. I’ve tested ways of slowing down the burst of a drawing and extend the moment of making.
Because time is like memory. It exists somehow, but not in the way it presentes itself."
Mateu Velasco was born in New York in 1980, and moved to Rio when he was just one year old. He graduated PUC-Rio in Industrial Design in 2003 and has a Master’s degree in Graphic Design from the same university. He began working professionally as an illustrator in 1999. He expanded his performance by painting public murals in the early 2000’s, developing his own language as a visual artist, which can be found in walls and galleries in São Paulo, Rio, Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Milan. He is a professor in the Arts and Design department at PUC-Rio and has been represented by Galeria Movimento Arte Contemporanea since 2008. The murals painted by the artist were of fundamental importance to the evolution of Rio’s urban art, because they brought a unique style of illustration that included a good dose of graphic design, - in colours, style and finishing - evidencing his work as an open dialogue between academia and the streets. As a travelling artist, Mateu has spent the last few years in different cities and countries, incorporating new elements to his imagery universe each trip.
Throughout this journey, he’s been collecting images from his daily life, transforming them into drawings, sketches, doodles and various graphics.
The junction of each fragment constitutes the guiding thread of his creative process, inviting the spectator to new possibilities of visual and poetic narratives.
Na série “Pequenos Achados”, ao adotar a cerâmica como suporte, Mateu revela os diferentes estratos do tempo que compõem a matéria.
When adopting ceramics as a support in the series “Pequenos Achados”, Mateu reveals the different time layers that make up the material.
Na série “Gavetas”, que articula recortes de papel, fotografias, fios de algodão e gelatina, Mateu mistura e reaproveita objetos acumulados pelo exercício coletor que é base de sua poética, para criar uma obra autoral. As “gavetas” manipuláveis lidam com o imprevisível e, a qualquer movimento do espectador, revelam composições infinitas e imprecisas. Assim como as memórias. São as múltiplas camadas e permanências de passados que conferem espessura ao presente do artista.
In the series "Gavetas”, that articulates paper trimmings, photographs, cotton shreds and gelatine, Mateu mixes and repurposes objects accumulated by the collecting exercise that is the basis of his poetics, to create an authorial work. The malleable “drawers” deal with the unpredictable and, at any time the spectator moves, reveals infinite and imprecise compositions. As do memories. It is the multiple layers and permanence’s of the past that give thickness to the artist’s present.
curadoria Sonia Salcedo del Castillo
assistente de curadoria Rafael Peixoto
fotografia Felipe Diniz
assessoria de imprensa Monica Villela
filme infinitivo Alessandra & Frederico
filme gavetas Gabriel Duran