“… paintings are not, as people think, feelings – they are experiences. For the sake of painting a single canvas, one must see many cities, men and things.”
Renata Pelegrini arrives at her second individual exhibition (the first in the Janaina Torres Gallery) reaffirming her dedication to painting and drawing. Her research on and questioning of the spaces and phenomenological sensations on this relatively recent journey has become more consistent.
Renata´s production is based on photographs – her own and those taken by others – of places she has visited. This relationship with these spaces transformed into places due to her own personal contact with them is primordial if we are to understand how her conception operates. Paradoxically, in the paintings and drawings, the spaces from which they originate are of little importance. It is the dimension which is not visible, captured by the artist, that transforms them into a place without space, and this, in turn, lifts the viewer to anywhere and everywhere. Even though the artist does not make any sleight of hand in doing this, the deletion of recognizable references also plays its part to this understanding. And a proof of this integrity with her process is the fact that at one point in her production Renata wondered whether to give titles to her works or not. I think the clarity she now has on this is important.
One of the most powerful dimensions of Art occurs when the artist is faced with reality and is not prepared to simply reproduce it but wants to allow the other person to (re)interpret it. It is like a game we play with our thought process in which it will recognize the playing field, learn the rules and decipher the signs until they are completely understood. It is where the interest very often disappears and we get used to it. If, on the other hand, we have to keep moving, landmarks alter and this changes what we see. It is in the game between what is recognizable and unrecognizable that our thinking is dislocated; these works of Renata Pelegrini provide a playing field where we can move. However, for this to occur, it is essential to have the presence of aspects that depend on the works for their existence but which occur outside them. These are aspects such as integrity, disquiet or power since the power of these works does not come from the strong strokes, the assertive line, the surgical incision, the innateness of the black or the thickness of the paint but from the possibility of the thinking of the person who sees them.
Disquiet is expressed in a similar way. Although we cannot dissociate it from artistic work (what artist can dispense with it?) and it makes itself more “visible” on the surface of the canvas or paper, the disquiet of an artist lies in the research, the dedication of doing something, the pursuit of something he or she has never lost and does not exactly know what it is or how it is. This need cannot be fully explained but is so strong in some artists that we can feel it. It can become almost tangible as if the artist was merging herself or himself with what causes them disquiet.
In the case of Renata Pelegrini, accompanying this “merging” will still bring us many surprises, discoveries and, of course, disquieting thoughts. I feel she will share with us, through her works, the idea that “I am the space where I am”.