Contemporary Fables and a Portrait ◄ Back

"In 1976 Luís França Machado had his first solo exhibit. It was in his city's museum, when he was in the last year of his painting degree at the Lisbon School of Fine Arts (ESBAL), wich he concluded two years later, when this school was going through a difficult period of restructing itself. This exhibit was composed of exercises of billowing clouds and ocean waves hitting against solitary rocks, miniature oil paintings on paper. Then, form the end of the 80's to the beginningof the next decade, this artist produced new individual work in private spaces or in the official sector, covering a wide geographical area, both regional and national. In the meantime, his work was also selected for collective exhibits, namely, in his native island in the showing 'Azoreans in Portuguese Contemporary Art - Homage to Canto da Maia', wich I curated and organized in 90 (March - April) for the Nordeste Museum, and wich was officially inaugurated the following year. With the works of this new exhibit, Luís França Machado gives continuity to graphic statements made previously, but now with incursions into spatial organization wich is at times subdivided. This is a memory coming from a different lesson, better adapted to the bigger dimension of these works, through a discourse of images leading to a distinct reading of the group. At the root of this painting, the gesture refereing to the real remains, but with neither malformation of forms, nor dependency upon the radical insistence of dispersing the colors. In the chromatic system utilized, he is faithful to the absence of violent contrasts, although ocassional transgressions do occur, namely in the splashes of bright red in 'Susana I' or in one of the 'Leda and the Swan' pieces, this, nevertheless, without damaging the lighting effects, wich dominate the color range as well as the process utilized for combining tonalities. It is in this painting game that the artist constrcuts the space of this works, with the gestural freedom necessary to his abstract matrix, but with tha hand control necessary to gve form to the elements wich consitute the respective external structure. Through this type of figure formation - wich reassumes modernity through diverse tendencies that are expressionistic but not abstract - the direction of the internal structure of the pictorial space gives way to knowledge of the real, without morphic mimesis, because he denies his forms all that is superfluous to their immediate identification. Made into images of the artist's memory or, perhaps, of a reinvented, still recent every day, these become proposals of new contemporary myths, through personal understanding, or good-humoured, ironic fantasies, with respective titles adapted and adopted from ancient tradition - 'Return to Europe' and 'Leda and the Swan'. Others, with similar dedication, are his own invention,affirmations of delicious satire of the present where, in a time of national iliteracy, we have '...reading monkey', and where it is also possible for the artist, under revolutionized golden nebulousness - tranformed into 'August Moonlight', to promenade - or in his place 'The Conceptual Monkey with Friends' - navigating in a canoe perched upon the back of an amiable bull. This figure appears also in the domestic sweetness wich satisfies a 'Europe' removed from the Greek myth and, even more, defeated by a 'Leda' lacking amorous desire, in a landscape dominated by coldness of the color yellow. The motif of the beast, masquerading as a docile wild animal, has antecedents in the 92 exhibit, along with the representation of the wale - the dichotomy land/sea, substituted in the present by other zoomorphisms, the presence of the duck being amply repeated: in the lap of the naked girl, desiring the apple held by the tree - an inversion of the mythological protagonist of the divine order, evil of all evils, and wich in 'Three Ducks and a Girl', from 'History of the Soldier...' seems to be the logical result passed on by Judeo-Christian tradition. As figurative elements, among the others wich populate the space, they are parts born of what was already lived and what remains within the artist's personal eye. It is in this sense that they function within this line of painting, detached from objective intention, just as a solution of perspective does not fit into the space constructed by Luís França Machado. As a result, and in keeping with his aesthetic attitude, in each painting there is no hierarchy of figurative or abstract values, since these are suggestions of essential forms and the space was created as a subjective experience. And this is equally valid for the act of affective personalized memory entitled 'Portrait', in the apparent discrepency of being also a self-portrait. Nestor de Sousa"


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FONSECA MACEDO - ARTE CONTEMPORÂNEA | 2017