Foram feitos com muita humanidade estes últimos trabalhos de Maria Bonomi. Grandes peças de poliéster reproduzem os moldes de madeira de suas gravuras. Matéria sofisticada, recebeu ainda, por causa de Maria, um tratamento a mais. Apresenta uma qualidade, uma espessura, pouco vista. Tem transparências e cores próprias. É tão atual e tão antiga. Penetra no território da industrialização, da tecnologia “impessoal”, com sua personalidade marcante de indagações e esperanças novas.
O poliéster vem de longe. Acumula trabalho e tradição. Representa um processo continuo, onde a experiência se transfere numa linguagem que se aproxima às da ciência da natureza. Produto de inúmeras intervenções, feitas em épocas e oportunidades diversas, esse material é como segunda natureza que se oferece aos homens como possibilidade. Conserva, apesar de todo humano que encerra, de todo trabalho que acumula, o sentido do anonimato, proveniente das mais variadas contribuições, desde a divisão do trabalho até o não reconhecimento do trabalho pelos usuários de todos os tempos.
Mas a gravura em madeira, a gravura de Maria, o corte visto, ali, como gesto de Maria, como desejo de Maria, esse, nega todo anonimato e põe a pessoa inteira diante de nós. Mas, ela é muito mais do que ela nessas gravuras. Na grande roda, obstinadamente gravada, símbolos referentes a milênios, voltam para cada um de nós junto com a linguagem que está sendo feita para o nosso viver. A grande roda lembra a pré-história, o arcaico mundo chinês, a humanidade de todos os tempos. A grande roda, que veio da árvore, da gravura em madeira, dos procedimentos milenares, da tradição popular, da influência chinesa, dos tacos que narram, que descrevem, até a visão de Guttenberg diante dos apelos da vida universitária. A gravura em madeira nos fala profundamente. Está tão intimamente ligada à história do livro e do homem que se fez muito nosso, deste as gravuras de literatura de cordel, às gravuras de Maria.
E agora, diante do material novo – esse poliéster de muitas e milenares acumulações – dois mundos se encontra.
Dir-se-ia uma contradição. Mas não é.
Pensemos nos artistas do Renascimento. E mesmo nos anteriores. Devemos reconhecer os momentos em que se observava a organização da “natureza” em buscas de suas leis. Lembramos Leonardo da Vinci a desenhar e escrever sobre o comportamento do pano para explicar a lógica das dobras e o mistério do planejamento.
Ele mesmo voltado para as “Ciências da natureza”, estudando o comportamento da matéria, para submeter o tratamento dos rios nos seus planos para o Arno e Florença. Era a fascinante convivência da arte com a ciência realizada pelo humanista.
Mas o experimentalismo que se instaurou no Renascimento, em oposição as idealizações da Escolástica, pretendia examinar a realidade mais próxima, tudo o que nos cercava e nos atingia diretamente. Mas afinal, a realidade mais próxima é o corpo humano, é cada um de nós, o que valorizou a perspectiva como a visão a partir de um determinado ponto de vista, o ponto de vista da pessoa.
Mas para o homem contemporâneo a realidade mais próxima não é tão só o corpo humano. Estamos mais perto de muitos que estão mais distantes. As nossas aproximações são outras e estão no sentido dos nossos projetos.
Como hipótese de trabalho, diria que a visão histórica que a arte de Maria oferece, transferida para o poliéster, permite inúmeras reproduções, onde “o mesmo será utilizado diferentemente por muitos por conter cada um”. Com essas contribuições tendem a se restabelecer a riqueza do homem e da pessoa realizada, à medida que as Ciências da Natureza se aproximam das Ciências Humanas e ambas reconhecem o valor da atividade criadora.
Flávio Motta, 16/06/1972
Texto original de Flávio Motta com que ele inaugurou nossa aula na FAU, em 29/06/1972
MARIA BONOMI ENGRAVES HERWORKS IN CONCRETE
With a gouge and e burin, the artist creates compositions over vast areas oi wood that are later covered with reinforced concrete. The foundation of this work is essentially that of engraving. seconded by a specialized application of sculpture. Once removed, the reinforced concrete applied onto the matrix engraved by the woodcut instruments becomes a sole copy - contradicting the ideology ot the prints serial reproduction - in other words, it acquires another status, that of a mural in which the high and tow reliefs construct an extremely rich landscape.
Maria Bonomi makes a copy of her unique print with reinforced concrete. The research and use of this material provides the artist with a unique experience within the genre, as the high costs preclude studies ot the orthodox states of a print. During his work process, the print-maker takes copies from the matrix in order to assess the development of his idea, of his original project. Each one of those possible copies - the states - provides an overview of the engraving's progress on the plate. In the case of reinforced concrete this procedure is untenable, and prevents the artist from moving on to eventual corrections, or even to the erasure of certain areas that might be deemed unsatisfactory.
Radhá Abramo, 1979.
ABRAMO, Radhá. “Maria Bonomi Grava suas Obras em Concreto”.
Folha de S. Paulo, São Paulo, 1. dez. 1979.
TO FEEL AND UNDERSTAND THE TRIPTYCH OF THE IGREJA MÃE DO SALVADOR
Dealing with a space destined to the liturgy is no easy task. particularly when one does not make use of conventional discourse. Maria welcomes the challenge. In clear, simple (albeit indirect) language, she integrates her contemporary message of Christianity into the architectural space. The classic criteria of the liturgy are dramatically developed and narration does not lean on worn-out rhetoric. The cross, its basic symbolic element, does not occupy the center as a conventional focus: it is present throughout the entire trajectory of the panel.
Dismembered, referred, insinuated and even configured, it is the key symbol - it stems from recognition. And the way or organizing space marks the place of liturgical convention: the right side and the left, with their meanings of sacredness and profanity and the center as the place of the ascension.
All related in a seamless development, worth more than the desire to find the best form at representation. Above all, it matters as an intention of making the point that integration matters more than breaking with lhe dualities and ambivalence of the human condition.
Renina Katz, 1976.
MARIA BONOMI SPEAKS
Olívio Tavares de Araújo
: Bonomi's new wood block prints [...] grew out of two trips the artist made since 1973. The first (to the Transamazonian [highway] and to the north of [the state of] Bahia) took place from May to July of this year; the second (to China) occurred in early 1974. Bonomi came back from each of them with a vast collection of over three hundred notes she slowly transformed into prints. Some twenty of them have already come to ilfe (and twelve of them are being exhibited). According to the artist, the remaining ones will “someday” be worked on that they may acquire a final form: that of wood cut prints.
: In spite of the "figurative" titles of your work from other periods, the works themselves have always belonged to abstraction. As for this exhibition. the prints were the direct result of your travels and, in the catalog you refer to “visual reportage". Have you really become involved with the [human] figure again?
: Not quite. There is a record of coexistence with the figure, there is a valorization of certain themes, and reality becomes more palpable behind the abstraction. But this is not new to my work. Actually, of all the prints I have made to this day, not one was imagined: I always saw them. I always based my work on something seen, even if only in my imagination. My creative process is visual. I start with a note, a record which, in turn, might be the result of an experience: a newspaper clipping, a film, e story you told me, something that happened to me. For me, the subject is an essential dado. I always worked more in this key - that of the theme - then in the key of a style.
: What has most deeply affected your current work: what you saw in your travels or what you experienced during them?
: I fillnd it hard to differentiate between what is seen and what is lived. Whenever I see, I live. It might be more appropriate to reply: “what one becomes aware of” because we always become aware of an image in terms of a situation.
: What impressed you the most about lhe Amazon and China?
: At first, everything we already know: the vast spaces, the incredible distances, the presence of nature, a feeling of openness. When one lives in a few available square meters, as in today's big cities, one begins to see things in a limited and deforming way. Whereas when you find yourself, for instance, somewhere like Marajó Island, a place where it is impossible to have any idea of when it will be possible to leave, and where the people around you have not the least reference regarding anything that is part of your world of values. It makes one reexamine everything. You clean things up, get rid of baroque excess, intellectual and behavioral vices, and begin to move towards the essence of things. Nowadays, if there are two places in which it is physically possible to capture man's essence, in terms ot life's purpose, of dignity, of reasons for being, they are the Amazon and China. And this can be visualizes, you can make an image of it. In the Amazon, on the other hand, we discover the existence of an immense referential of visual possibilities that has nothing to do with European anxiety, with the North American obsession with its own navel, with the troublesome problems of people who have been in wars we never had, who experienced famines we never experienced (we have our own hunger, which is of another nature), and so forth.
: Do you believe there is such a thing Brazilian art? Your prints, instance, are they Brazilian prints? Or would it be the same anywhere?
: It wouldn't be the same anywhere. I believe there is such a thing as Brazilian art, insofar as there are Brazilian imaginations to be revealed. When, for example, someone comes up to me and says that engraving is dead I have to retort: nonsense. What died was a tired, old kind of imagination that belonged to people who never looked outward, not only in terms of landscapes but in terms of coexistence, or contrasts, of space. Prints that kept reproducing European situations on a slightly larger or smaller scale, with nostalgic refinements that do not speak to us — they no longer exist. And something else died that wasn't even the Brazilian print. Truly Brazilian prints have not yet come into full being.
Maria Bonomi a Olívio Tavares de Araújo, 1975.
ARAÚJO, Olívio Tavares de. “Fala Maria Bonomi”. Vida das Artes, São Paulo, 4, set. 1975.
I raised my eves to see who had spoken. But I only heard the ﬁghting voices. And saw that it was in Heaven and on Earth. And they said to me: Shadow! Stone Arch, tower embedded in clouds, bell over sea and white-winged moon... My fear stalks, embracing questions. It walks round and round my soul: and the music and the hourglass melt away in heaven, in my plaintive hands, and the vastness of love is fragmented in mosaics.
The calm architecture within which saints walk with sleepless eyes, observing labyrinths of sad earth wherein destinies are interwoven. ...l am caught, like the rose and the crystal in the edges of exact, delicate ciphers that meet and come apart: in polygons of farewells... Winged form, where do we coincide?
Cecília Meireles, Flor de Poemas, 1972.
M.S.2 Maria Bonomi Exposição de Módulos Solombras.
Tecnologia de Salvatore Iannaccone.
São Paulo, Cosme Velho Galeria de Arte,
8 jun. 1972. (Cartaz de Exposição).
LETTER ABOUT MARIA BONOMI
Listen to me, friend, for l wish to speak. I would explain to you - for you must have been surprised - why I did not attend the closing night of Maria Bonomi's exhibition of prints - an exhibition I shall call The Eagle Exhibition .
Although, among others, Maria had shown an impressive series about terror and in that case, too, it might have been called The Terror Exhibition.
The exhibition drew a large crowd in need of a truth. And they drank from it until their thirst had been quenched and they were full. Maria‘s prints are touchable and yet the ineffable emanates from them like a veil. Even at MAM Maria improvised a studio in wich, in full view of visitors, she made matrixes and printed. Creative work is so mysterious that one is able to watch its procedures even as they remain a mistery.
The idea of the Eagle in Maria Bonomi haunts me.
The eagle, its large wings spread and its long crooked ivory beak - for that is what I see in its abstraction - is, for one moment, immobilized. Enough so that Maria was able to capture its majestic image and print it onto the solid softness of wood, that noble raw material.
I imagine Maria in her studio using her hands - man's most primitive instrument. With her fine powerful hands she holds the instruments and imprints the heroic human force of the spirit, cutting and smoothing and carving. And little by little Maria dormant dreams are transmuted into wood made form. These objects are touchable and, so to speak, shuddering, as they are delicate in their great annihilating vigor. Unusual objects that occasionally call out and protest in God’s name against our condition, which is painful because of death's inexplicable existence.
My friend, there is between Maria Bonomi and myself an extremely comforting and well-oiled relationship. She is I and I am she and she is I again. As though we were life twins. And the book I was trying to write and may never publish somehow runs parallel with her wood block prints. The she-I-l-she-she-l has also been duly and publicly recorded and sealed by the fact that I am the baptismal godmother of her son Cassio. Maria writes my books and I clumsily carve the wood. And she is also capable of creative tumult - the abyss of good and evil - whence come forms and colors and words.
I saw the matrixes. Christ's cross must have been heavy if it was made of this solid, compact, opaque and real wood that Maria Bonomi uses. l know nothing of Maria's internal spiritual exercise that leads up to the birth of a print. I suspect it is the same as my own process when I am writing anything more serious than the Saturday column and by more serious I mean more profound. But what process? Answer: mystery.
Maria told me to pick a print for my own. And I - rendered ingenuous for a moment - immediately asked for the most: not the print but the matrix itself. And I choose The Eagle. It was not until later that I became aware of how much I had asked for and was startled at my own boldness: how could I have dared to went thus huge, heavy jewel of wood de lei? I immediately regretted what I had done. I realized l did not deserve to own so much and such vitality in my living room. But Maria insisted on fulfilling my earlier ambitious desire. I then asked her to at take care of the art object for a while. Until I had reached the moment when I would feel ready to receive the matrix and hang it on the wall. After which i would invite people that we might celebrate the Eagle.
But when I returned from the place I had gone to sleep — to my surprise I see the very Eagle in the living room — a shock of magnificence. I was still undeserving, but she was so beautiful thal I thought: perhaps the undeserving are the neadlest. The large, heavy matrix — gives the room such freedom! For Maria Bonomi has printed the intimate, vital reality of the eagle and not its mere appearance.
As of this moment, my friends are invited to come and see it. lt stands at the very entrance to the room, and has been specially lighted so as to show off that the reliefs and recesses of the dark, magnectic wood. It is as if I were feeling Maria's constant and subjective presence at home.
It gladdens me.
Clarice Lispector, 1971.
LISPECTOR, Clarice. “Carta Sobre Maria Bonomi”.
Jornal do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, 2 out. 1971.
The scale of prints has always been small. This is why l propose to make of It something that would interfere in everyday life, assaulting the image of the day-to-day. I use an ancient technique practiced in the East and adjust it to our contemporary images. As for content, I try to keep a diary, looking to newspaper stories for ideas to develop.
If I lived in a peaceful society, If I were not surrounded by permanent unrest, my art would be unnecessary. And I believe it is possible to make a print that argues without pamphleteerlng.
Maria Bonomi a Oswaldo Mendes, 1971.
MENDES, Oswaldo. “Maria Bonomi e sua Gravura Ambiental”.
Última Hora, São Paulo, 24 mai. 1971.
Maria Bonomi, Maria Print
Little by liltle, the lines stop
The colors no longer pass before
My ears - they overflow.
Night has fallen on the print
Compressing the shadow of the press
Maria Bonomi, Maria Print
A song of paper freedom
Can now be heard.
The cut smiles, The hand is silent.
The contrast murmurs
Joaquim Cardozo, 1971.
CARDOZO, Joaquim. Poesias Completas.
Rio de Janeiro, Editora Civilização Brasileira, 1971.
Voilà Maria Bonomi, telle qu’elle se définit dans ses gravures en bois. D’une technique sûre, d’une volonté d’expression explicite, I’artiste est à la recherche d’un langage prope, c’est-à-dire qui fasse de son vocabulaire technique et de sa volonté d’expression quelque chose d’unique, d’inséparable: Une personalité artistique intégrale.
Cette jeune artiste brésilienne porte avec elle un trait bien distinctif: Chaque fois qu’elle se presente on dirait que son oeuvre est achevée, tant sa force d’affirmation est directe. Mais elle le dit: Ce n’est qu’um commencement. Déjà en 1958, avec sa première présentation individuelle à New York, où elle faisait des etudes sur l’histoire de I’art et sur les arts graphiques à la Columbia University et au Contemporary Pratt Institute, Dore Ashton, New York Times, I’avait remarquée. Elle discerna dans cette oeuvre de jeunesse de Maria un veritable pouvoir d’invention dans la recherche du blanc sur noir.
Depuis lors, Bonomi n’a pas démenti cette vaticination. De retour à son pays, sous l’orientation du maître graveur brésilien Livio Abramo, I’artiste a appris à connaître la correlation nécessaire et subtile entre le dessin et les propriétés des instruments qui attaquent le bois: le burin, les grattoirs, I’échoppe, le couteau. De ce fait, son dessin n’est jamais gratuit, mais au contraire s’enrichit. C’est sans doute de ce savoir intime dégagé des potentialitiés des instruments et des propriétés intrinsèques du bois que sa qualité majeure de force, l’affirmation, s’épanouit.
Les premières réussites furent arrachées au bois grâce aux “possibilités” du blanc qu’elle a d’instinct trouvées, puis, lês masses noires lui servirent d’appui pour arriver quelquefois à une forme tendant au monumental. Maria ramasse toutes ses resources pour jeter sur le blanc du papier des beaux dessins massifs, découpés cependant par des incisions linéaires d’une netteté lapidaire. Dans ses meilleurs moments I’artiste nous donne peut-être alors la clé de la singularité de son oeuvre de graveur. Les formes de Maria tendent de plus en plus à se nier comme formes pour se présenter comme des structures. Jusqu’à présent, elle a refusé les analyses modernes des formes décomposées pour rester tranchée sur un art de synthèse. Maria n’aime pas le décor ni les “fioritures” des textures brillantes. Elle travaille en grand, comme un rude tailleur de bois. De lá vient cette impresión de décision, de franchise dans I’idée concevante, d’une chaude teneur classique de ses bois. Par nécessité d’enrichissement elle est allée aux sources de la couleur, c’est-à-dire, au bois même. Dans ses dernières oeuvres, les formes, les structures, vont au delà de I’abstraction, à la recherche peut-être d’une signification moins poli valente.
Enfin, Maria Bonomi est parmi les jeunes artistes du Brésil une force non encore entamée par le succès, car elle garde toute sa fraîcheur et des ressources qui peuvent encore nous surprendre.
PEDROSA, Mário (apres.). Maria Bonomi.
München, Galerie Buchholz, 8. Dec. 1970/16. Jan. 1971.