Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel is pleased to present ‘Rastro traço laço’, an extension of Mauro Restiffe’s solo show at Galpão in São Paulo. The exhibition continues this timely survey, featuring a new group of selected portraits from the artist’s archive compiled for over 30 years.
The Impermanence of Looking at the World
By Bernardo José de Souza
To go back to a photographic work is like going back to a text: you may recover something that you overlooked between thoughts or find, for the first time, something unnoticed as you rushed through it — an exercise of interaction, of interpretation and affect, something emotive at first but that quickly turns intellectual.
Returning to Mauro Restiffe’s portraits — motivated by a new selection of images for the second chapter of the exhibition Laço, Rastro, Traço [Lace, Trail, Trace] — was a chance to explore a path that, although foreign to my own experience, triggers a strong sense of familiarity or even the desire to share space and atmosphere with their many characters adrift in time. It is as if it was down to me, or to any other visitor, to borrow from these fleeting photographs, endowed with occult meanings; as if the photos were waving a forgotten narrative at us, deleted by one of those tricks of the mind that happen to erase whole passages of our biography.
The many flowers that appear in this set of snapshots are like Proust’s madeleines; they are the enchantment that triggers a sublimated affection — something that will never let fade a life memory that we had thought lost. Amongst new farewells, hesitations or misunderstandings, these fifteen images engender a whole affective framework or rather, multiple affective frameworks; in amidst wanderings, safe points and dead ends, new journeys begin, if not every day, at least every cycle, as if kickstarted or moved by the vital torrent that puts us into action, in the world.
Perhaps the real beauty in these photographs is the possibility to open up breaches in space/time, to embark on digressions that are as intimate as universal, dispersed in a constellation of crossed lives, simultaneous dimensions of encounter and abandonment. And, as such, we flirt with alterity, as if standing on equal ground: for once, we are all human. There is something of JL Borges in this mirroring exercise, a world inside another world, like in the short story The Circular Ruins, in which a man in a temple, deep in the jungle, dreams of another man to bring him into reality, but who ends up realizing that he is also the dream of another man.
There have been so many realities instantly lost in the last few years, and I am not referring to death only, but also about the obliteration of entire affective, or even semantic, systems — synapses that will never re-occur because life has changed, because an entire world seems to have been irremediably crushed. Perhaps in another time, I would have rushed through this raft of images, but today I find myself at the point of becoming a castaway on the island of yesterday’s memories, in a world avant ce monde, avant la lettre — before the goodbye letter that we return to as a keen attempt to find what urgency has stolen from us.
Mauro Restiffe (São José do Rio Pardo, Brazil, 1970) lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil. Recent solo exhibitions include: History as Landscape, OGR (Turin, Italy, 2019); São Paulo, Fora de Alcance, Instituto Moreira Salles (Poços de Caldas, Brazil, 2019; São Paulo, Brazil, 2018; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2014); Álbum, Estação Pinacoteca (São Paulo, Brazil, 2017); Post-Soviet Russia 1995-2015, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art (Moscow, Russia, 2016). The artist has participated in several group shows, including Gwangju Biennale (Gwangju, South Korea, 2018), Aichi Triennial (Nagoya, Japan, 2016); Cuenca Biennial (Ecuador, 2014); Bienal de São Paulo (São Paulo, Brazil, 2006); and Panorama of Brazilian Art (São Paulo, Brazil, 2013 and 2005).