[…] in the early 1960s, when, once a week,
he went to our house to give us painting classes, he invents! “,
he repeated, when, in front of empty cardboard,
we asked what to do. *
A trajectory of the look. Screens turned upside down. Paintings inside out. Make up the painting.
Éder Roolt sees painting in everything and seeks with this this “inventive state” said by Hélio Oiticica.
He is a painter and is of the painting dealing on his canvases.
Chemical engineer training, can not separate things, rather, likes to separate and deconstruct the matter that makes up the world. The world that makes up the painting.
Of course, painting has already happened to everything that can be imagined of themes, ways of painting and not painting. Artists even imploded it (it was not literal), as did the cubists. Other artists tried to do away with easel and picture painting, as did Piet Mondrian in the first decades of the twentieth century, in which he extrapolated the edges of the canvas by sliding to the wall which served only as a support when removing the frame and paint the sides of it.
The history of painting has been a long, centuries-old, if not millennial, and throughout its trajectory has undergone great transformations according to society and times.
Of flat paints without depth with the figure of flat profile and without perspective were seen in Ancient Egypt. For those who imitate nature, painters bring depth to canvas in the European Renaissance and Romanticism. From Expressionists to Impressionists to the purest paintings such as the canvas painted without brush marks, artist’s gestures or made with a single color, as it was the way of painting of the suprematists and later of the minimalists, could be black on black, white on white, red on red and even the unpainted canvas, turn a painting. Or in the action painting of the 1950s, in which all colors were mixed with artists with a brush or without a brush. Paintings were done with a broom, with shovel, with squeegee or just with the gesture of throwing the paint from the tin directly on the canvas.
Large enough that the landscapes portrayed turned into vertiginous vertiginous gulfs where the viewer could dive into tiny paintings to see with a magnifying glass. These were mainly seen in the Netherlands from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. They are perfect in their billing to portray the almost photographic man and nature in times that the machine of photos still did not exist.
Also came the perfect and imperfect paintings, purposely, in the execution as those of the young São Paulo artist Henrique Oliveira who covers areas in the format of screens with discarded wood plates with the natural shades of action time on these plates. Then he went on to the artificially colored ones in order to achieve subtle chromatic variations.
Others were well-painted in the quest for mastery of technique. Other badly painted on purpose happened casually and we could call them accidental paintings. Paintings that are not paintings, only plans of industrialized synthetic material that function as fields of color. Like those of the São Paulo artist Carlos Fajardo of the 1970s. Works that we could not call painting since they are only surfaces of colored formica.
It happened and everything happens in the painting in such a way that it led us to believe at a certain point that we had arrived at its exhaustion and, even, its disappearance was suggested.
None of this happened. This is not what we see in contemporary art. The painting remains strong and present in the current production. We have artists who are dedicated to investigate the pictorial language bringing new questions to the painting. In some cases, reinventing it.
That’s what the artist Éder Roolt is looking for. His technique is to realistically paint his themes by creating a simulacrum between the reality that is seen on the screen and what the observer actually sees.
This insistence, to paint realistically, and I say this positively, does not make much more sense today, since painting has lost this function with the advent of photography. Before the painting had to be a picture of reality. Today no more. The artist relieved himself of this function. And this is the boldness of the artist when working with realism in his paintings, sculptures and drawings. Dare to defy in the XXI century what is meant by a contemporary painting by wanting with his technique very studied and that presses for the pursuit of perfection, to change the perspective from the point of view of the observer using traditional techniques. Create a foreground, a second and a third within your paintings to give the notion of depth. But when he paints the plastic bubble that simulates “packing” his paintings, he creates a flat room, breaking with the tradition of painting to have only three planes. What you actually see when you paint the fourth plane, it works like a skin that ends up canceling out the notion of depth brought by the first planes.
When you see the work the attempt is to wonder if there is an image on the supposed front of the screen. The artist leaves traces on the sides of the painting, which would induce even more this imaginary painting.
At first glance, without realizing what it is, we think we see only a screen hanging from its back to the viewer. But it is not. It is indeed a painting. When I speak canvas and painting it is because the artist works on the two phases of a painting itself.
One where the screen view is just the bottom of the screen empty in what would be in front of you. He paints the bottom of the painting and the sides as if they were part of a painting facing the wall. But the front is blank or it is the actual background of the screen. There is nothing on this side except the fund itself. The painted sides give the idea of the existence of a painting that would extend to the front. Simple. The work is in the vicinity of the surreal.
The second is the very mimicry of a background of a still-blank screen. The surface was painted, as if it were facing away from the wall. We thought we would see a canvas painted with backgrounds. Nothing more than that. But it is not a painted canvas facing the bottom, but a painting as if the canvas were seen from the background.
It seems to have been complex what I have been insistently describing so far, but seeing the works of Eder Roolt is so clear that it is not at all difficult to understand his artistic process when we look at the other series of paintings and drawings that he has made, it becomes easier to understand than it is. Painted canvases that deceive our inattentive gaze. We only notice what is painted when we stare and pay attention to what we are observing, it is a truism.
Another one of these “paintings” uses the background of a canvas as the front packed by a “protective” plastic characterizing this would be the background, in front of the canvas that is still supported on two paint cans. The plastic turns into a film that gives a preciousness to the empty screen. The cans in turn are painted wood sculptures that mimic true cans.
These works of Eder deal with parallax vision, that is, what we see is not quite what we see. We see two things that do not correspond to reality. What we see is a painting painting or painting inside a painting that mimics the background of a canvas or a can.
In another case, the front that would be the painting, which does not exist, is the bottom of the canvas. The background is the front and what we see is the painting at the bottom of the screen. It sounds confusing but it’s simple, and it’s to confuse us what Éder Roolt does. It paints the wood and the folding of the fabric that composes the bottom of a canvas and exposes like the background of a painting. A background of a canvas is the painting hanging on the wall. That’s what we see. It is a trick that creates an optical illusion. The illusion of seeing a screen turned away from the wall, nothing more. Strangeness occurs when we come across the background of the painted canvas that mimics the same background.
The interesting thing about this work is to lead us to think or paint with our mind the painting we do not see and that would be in front of the exposed canvas background. What would face the wall is a blank screen. The painting that is supposed to be there exists only in our imagination that always seeks to complete things. Whenever we encounter the void we seek to fill it.
A painting that exists only in the mind of the beholder. Everyone imagines the painting they want.
There is a quest for refinement in your painting. There is study. There is an insistence on this search for the perfect painting that simulates reality and confuses us. What you see is not quite what you see depending on the angle or distance you see your work.
Many artists have done so in other times and others have done so at the present time. I refer here as an example to the works of Iran of the Holy Spirit and Hildebrando de Castro. Artists that are reference for Éder Roolt. Although the three artists work realism or hyper-realism each in its own way. All three have different interests and interests. Both in the way of painting, as in thematic choice or in the way of provoking our look. In the case of Éder Roolt, his paintings are not exactly what we see or imagine seeing.
The Dadaists, the Surrealists, the Cubists, the abstractionists and even the figurativists, did something innovative, no doubt. From painting to mimic nature, to the American artist Jackson Pollock who painted with the simple gesture of throwing buckets of paint on the canvas stretched out on the floor.
He had even those who did not intend to paint. They wanted to paint nothing. But nothing is impossible, then remained for the Italo-Argentinean artist Fontana, simply rip the painted canvas.
Roolt makes his paintings and sculptures in a very strict and obsessive way in the pursuit of perfection. A painting that creates effects of reality by imitating, for example, the crumbling of cellophane paper. It paints the plastic bubble that packs a screen in such a way that at first glance we think we are actually in front of a screen packed with this material. And it is indeed. It is the real matter transformed into painting.
The look today becomes a difficult exercise. It is only the superficial look that little sees and in perspective for the screen that we only perceive of what it is after a time of observation.
These are paintings that mimic the bottom of the canvas, the folds of cellophane paper or bubble wrap.
In another series of drawings, Eder Roolt simulates reality by inventing treats on paper. Bullets, bonbons and candies are painted in hyper-realistic technique. They seduce by form and color. They are alive. They really look like the perfection of drawing. They are delicate and seductive. It makes you want to take it but it’s just drawings in the paper plane.
It is a game of the artist. The drawings although the plane of the paper is evident, appear three-dimensional. It seems to exist in truth on the sheet of paper. They seem to take volume. Become volume. They become drawing. In the other previous cases, they become painting. It’s painting we’re dealing with.
Text by Ricardo Resende
For the exhibition “INVENTED PAINTS, PAINTINGS OF MIND” by Éder RoolT.
Ricardo Resende, Master in History of Art from the School of Communications and Arts of the University of São Paulo (USP), has a career focused on the museological area. He worked from 1988 to 2002, between the Museum of Contemporary Art of the University of São Paulo and the Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo, when he served as art educator, exhibition producer, museographer, assistant curator and curator of exhibitions. Since 1996, he is the curator of the Leonilson Project. From March 2005 to March 2007, he was director of the Museum of Contemporary Art at the Dragão do Mar Cultural Center of Art and Culture, in Fortaleza, Ceará. From January 2009 to June 2010, he was director of the Visual Arts Center of the National Arts Foundation, Ministry of Culture. He is currently the director general of the São Paulo Cultural Center.
In 2011 he was curator of the retrospective shows Under the Weight of My Loves, by the artist Leonilson, at Itaú Cultural and Sérvulo Esmeraldo, at the Pinacoteca of the State of São Paulo, in São Paulo. Still in 2011, he was curator general of Arte Para – Year 30, in Belém do Pará. In 2012 he was curator of the retrospective exhibition Under the Weight of My Loves, by artist Leonilson, at the Iberê Camargo Foundation in Porto Alegre.
* VALENTIN, Andreas, VALENTIN, Thomas. Light as air – Rio / New York, 1974. Folha de São Paulo – Open Archive / Memory that saw Stories. Illustrated: São Paulo, May 11, 2014, p. 9.