POETICS OF CHANCE AND HUMOR
"I am a painter, I nail my paintings", said Kurt Schwitters to the Dada artists of Berlin as he presented them his assemblages. Luiz Philippe Carneiro de Mendonça also nails his paintings. Collector of peculiar findings, he uses the gathered pieces in the assemblages and objects shown to us. Chance and creativity ally themselves. Luiz Philippe pans with his eyes.
His earliest work on exhibit emerged from an old rusted shovel, casually found in the ancient British mine of Cata Branca, in Minas Gerais. Long ago, in Belo Horizonte, the artist, now situated in Rio de Janeiro, painted ex-votos in the manner of the votive planks typical of the Brazilian gold cycle.
In the family environment, there was no lack of very special references to the culture and opulence of Minas of the past, which, in the meantime, he saw succumb under the impact of the crushing realities of contemporaneity. These references would be the sources and origins of his work.
As a child, he oftentimes met and worked with Frans Krajcberg in the region of Itabirito, an experience from which he acquired taste and knowledge of ores and pigments present in his works. At the same time, one recognizes the artist's experience in the world of design, from which he brings decisive knowledge for the construction of the assemblages. In the process of conception and of gathering objects, this knowledge feeds the eye and the gesture that transgress the thing seen, in the sense of turning it into a work of art.
The baroque trompe-l'oeil informs the playful pleasure of the assemblages. Humor on one side and nonsense on the other cross the perimeter of the works to enhance their core of attraction. Another dimension besides the visible and the commonplace is what surrealism pursues: Luiz Philippe reaches it in traversing, through his refined technique, from the arresting quality that the semiotic operation produces, disturbing and serene, striking yet silent, to the enchantment of the object itself. That inexpressible feeling, that the work of art, exhausted, seeks today to recuperate in the freshness of performances and installations, is close, and it is through humor that the spectator begins to sense it.
The artist does not submit to the simplistic classification of belonging or not to a determined school, for he treads various slopes with freedom and inventiveness that allow him to escape the traps and prisons of language and morphology. If an after-taste of dismay is sometimes manifested, it is exactly because the author, exploring distinct directions, instigated by images of his imaginary museum, may have crossed a situation of anguish just as he had shortly before jokingly played with a ready-made one, in the joy of the finally completed puzzle. Without painful dilemmas, bland and bitter alternate. A sensation of an enjoyable dialogue of the creator with materials he gathers prevails, and the ensemble of works radiates the freshness of genuine form.
Extract from a text originally published in O Estado de Minas (a Brazilian periodic) in 1997
by Angelo Oswaldo
Writer, journalist and former State Secretary of Culture of Minas Gerais.