Prof. Ana Luisa Howard de Castilho, Ph.D.
I sogni non vogliono farvi dormire, al contrario, vogliono svegliare. (René Magritte)
Blue are the days which we represent the world through our look.
Yes, blue vibrant days are those which we gain some doubts and certainties, and, after series of colourful soberer days, we hate a part of us that ensnare the acquired knowledge.
An artist inspired by the archetype of the Renaissance man, being an architect, photographer, sculptor, writer, and also worrying about technic, searching for inspirations by the transpiration and observation of botanic or anatomic drawings, such as Shinnin’s, Kawaguchi’s, Adriaan Van Spiegel’s and Bernhard Seigfried Albinus’, designers that, with observation, took notes with the aim of knowing the human body and giving it their possible representation. This work was paramount for the medical advances during more than five centuries.
Although the inherent difficulties due to the representation that might have occurred, age, genre and race are some factors that can propitiate the emergence of variations among the anatomic pieces, such as other characteristics allow observing the variations in botanic. However, looking at repeated pieces lead us to organize them and look for seriation.
Five hundred years later, dissecting the human brain is already possible, from cellular genome to neuronal circuits – that process the information -, embracing every layer and zone, or brain region. However, the creation of the computer that can replicate the operation of human brain becomes the goal of this effort; revisiting Gertrude Stein (1926) that understood that the artists have this capacity of creating in their time from a particular look which for their contemporaries can be unacceptable. Along the same lines, Ezra Pound presents the following question, in the book The ABC of Reading (1934): “(…) before deciding whether a man is a fool or a good artist, it would be well to ask, not only ‘is he excited unduly’, but ‘does he see something we don’t?’. Is his curious behavior due to his feeling an oncoming earthquake, or smelling, a forest fire which we do not yet feel or smell?” Confirmations of historical thinkers for contemporary findings: maybe it would be good observing with kindness the movements that cannot be absorbed naturally.
Pencil, photography, lithography, lito-offset, etching, modular constructivism and digital art. These are the techniques chosen by Carlos Rezende to represent how he sees his contemporary one transposing the body – anatomical material – for a drawing through a vector platform, that results in the project of ‘anatomic fictional modules’, confirming that what matters to him is the notation process, created by Renina Katz, and not the literal representation of the object, like his source of consultation and inspiration aimed.
The representation resources take him to the establishment of a link between the seriation of objects and the way he represents them. Series, in this case, generates an identity, with sense of unity, and not with the sense of equality. The seriation is an important component in his work, because his projects are capable of multiplying and he, gently, takes them to our appreciation.
Nevertheless, the artist craft is guided by questions that emerge from the process of construction of his work, and those don’t look for being conclusive. Contrariwise, they remain open exactly to ensure them essential reformulations.
That the ‘Blue days’ remain with us.
The Body’s Scale
Since the beginning of times the body is an object of celebration. However the search for spirituality based on the divine soul balanced the form and essence. The Egyptian, Greek and Roman – that symbolize the classic man – searched for the self-representation nearly perfectly. During the Dark Ages – century V to XV – although the representation of the body through drawing and sculpture was vastly known, that was marked by schematic, abstract, uneven aspects, and that still did not express personality. Considered the foundation of the divine soul, the representation of the medieval body covered it. The idea to value the human being emerges in the Renaissance, and from it, the pursuit to know it through the soul of the ethos, the natura, and the pathos. The records of the man’s portrayal began through drawing, painting, and sculpture; molding, then, the general knowledge about itself, the living beings, the planet, and the universe. That was the historical moment when were released the foundation of the technique and technology; which provided the possibilities to knowledge through the representation in the architecture, arts, and the improvement of modern science and medicine.
The understanding of the human body was only possible through practical studies, the dissection, and the noting of anatomy. Some examples are the work done by Shinnin Kawaguchi, Adriaan Van Spiegel, and Bernhard Seigfried Albinus, artists that, through observation and record, registered the object, looking to be loyal to what they saw, with the main objective: to know the details of the human body, desacralizing it and altering their views in order to change general knowledge and science. Marcia Tiburi (2004) claims that in that moment, the body “sets itself up as res extensa, like an object for scientific analysis until it becomes machine, the denying of the organism. Like a set of gears, the body can be analyzed mathematically and geometrically, it can be dissected and divided, weighted and measured.” On this matter, the body starts to assume the condition of artifact, something that not even the genius Leonardo da Vinci – inserted in the universe of knowledge and feelings from his time – could assume. When da Vinci notes the tear-duct, he concludes: “the tears come from the heart to the eyes.” Artigas (1986) interpreted this conclusion with humor and noted, “When there is a mistake in science, it can be fixed with poetry.”
The theme body and machine was explored by many philosophers and researchers, due to the contribution of the records by Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564), in his book “De Humani Corporis Fabrica” (translates to “The Factory of the Human Body”), where the comparison with the machine altered the intrinsic relationship between identity and body.
The idea to transform the body in machine, and the opportunity of its reproduction has been a running theme in society since the coming of robotics. The need to understand the human body through drawing, sculpture, and even through photograph are becoming rare. After over five hundred years, to dissect the brain, the most complex area in a human body, it is much simpler to be executed and it goes from cell genome to neuronal circuits – where the information is processed. The computers, though, are improving each day so they can imitate the brain’s functions. Since the Renaissance, records do not correspond to the human needs to register its composition or to obtain perfection through its auto representation. In the contemporary world it is possible to interfere on your own body through esthetic treatment, plastic surgery, approaching an ideal image and liable of reproduction.
The notation drawing, foundation of “Blue Days” by Carlos Rezende, comes from the verb to note, which also means to notice, to distinguish, to contemplate, or even, to discover. After these notes were completed, the idea for the project had elements enough to be launched. The notation drawings were made from anatomy books and constitute graphic commentary about printed records and not about anatomic information. The idea to note the human body helps the process to unveil the behavior from each time period society, aside from clarifying how men see themselves and the world around them.
Prof. Ana Luisa Howard de Castilho, Ph.D.