Celma Albuquerque presents the solo exhibition by artist Duda Moraes entitled Andar imaginário. The young artist from Rio, in her first exhibition in Belo Horizonte, brings a series of multicolored paintings that make reference to the organic elements present in nature. Initially focused on representations alluding to flower pots with brushstrokes characteristic of watercolor, Duda Moraes’ painting has matured, gaining a more solid gestural / abstract structure through which we can perceive an intense play between form and color. Both simultaneously fluid, shape and color are added to the two-dimensional surface of the canvas, in which there is no presence or suggestion of depth, building a territory rich in chromatic experiments.
The path of painting has not been easy throughout its history. Amid wreckage and death decrees, however, the luminous and optimistic belief in painting was never really interrupted. It is enough just to remember that, in 1912, a brief, but notable, pictorial melody had been able to overcome the adversities and critical clashes incurred by the painful First World War: Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Frank Kupka, Fernand Léger, Francis Picabia, and even a young Marcel Duchamp led the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, in full industrial modernity, to remember the Greek myth of Orpheus to name a movement – Orphism – that associated the intangible and lyrical dimension of music to the formal and, mainly, chromatic rhythms of the ink on the plane of the screen. As pilgrims towards an uninhabited critical terrain that is difficult to summarize in figurative terms, the orphists carried out works of great magnitude, not in terms of scale, but with regard to the invention of a new artistic language: abstraction.
Crossing the terrain of this vocabulary invented about a century ago, Rio de Janeiro’s Duda Moraes paints “La Huaca”, “Sacsayhuaman”, “Atahualpa” and other works of great vigor and eloquence, carried out shortly after her trip through Peru and which are part of her first individual exhibition in Belo Horizonte. These are works that bear in their titles and on their surface the marks of their journey, not only physical, but also sensitive for lands neighboring our country. These chromatic traces, marked with contrasts and explicit sensitivity, refer precisely to certain ambitions of the brief, but striking, orphist movement and temporarily displace it by connecting it in a unique way to Peruvian culture, which in turn assimilates indigenous and Spanish traditions. In the movement operated by Duda, the European avant-garde dialogues and contrasts simultaneously with ancestral Inca myths and the particular Baroque of the Andes in the heart of Minas Gerais, reaffirming the ability of painting to connect poetical and conceptual moments and places that are often distanced by historiographies.
In “Coricancha”, a large format work that deserves to be highlighted, a dense and luminous yellow disc of oil paint is placed at the top of the painting and floats on stains to symbolically refer to the Inca “golden temple”, located in Cusco. In this work, organic multicolored forms, but that sometimes imply a certain geometric character, sometimes overlapping, sometimes intertwining, conceiving a kind of unconscious landscape or construction, suggesting the sensations of the artist’s contact with the material and immaterial power of the sacred building in question. To Duda, it may be impossible to represent exactly the impact of her experience when entering this singular space. In this way, the elusive and praiseworthy character of the ambiguity of the abstraction of this painting serves masterfully as a way of remembering the perplexity that many of us feel when we immerse ourselves and surrender body and soul to certain spaces dedicated to the sacred.
In an age of sensationalist and supposedly relational arts, Duda’s works romantically seek to walk through places that escape massification and consumerist anxiety or, still, a shallow idea of Brazilianness. The artist’s interest lies not only in the physicality of the canvas and inks, but in an individual, emotional and immaterial journey. It is not just a hike through mountainous and holy lands. The artist’s works reveal a journey that will never end in a concrete and specific place, as the destination of the true sacred land of painting evoked by Duda is the infinite.