Dentro de Mim (Inside me). Rute Rosas.

Suzana Vaz, September 2002

In catalogue Dentro de Mim, Galeria Canvas, Porto, Outubro, 2002 


Impelled by the physical and emotional attraction of the Other, Rute Rosas makes her artistic work evolve around the spectator's possibility of participating of the active, practical and present fruition of the work (the artist designates the spectator as an enjoyer participant).

It is possible to find in her work a chronological line that organises ways of directing - ways of plastically conjugate presences and sensorial suggestions - through which the themes and shapes of the successive works are more intensely lived by the spectator. In this evolutional line presentations become more sophisticated. They have an ever greater number of compositional elements: colours, smells, sounds, shapes, textures. They become the rehearsal of solutions thought to involve the spectator in a deliberate solicitation of the senses, filled by the differentiation of environments in space, or by the realisation or visioning of actions: touch, smell, taste, chew, eat.

In a first period of realisations and experiments, it seems notorious the importance given to detail in the plastic treatment of sculptural objects, in an anthropometric scale and to be used by the spectator, who can lie down, sit, touch them, examples being works like Deita-te (1998-Lie down), Lugar (1999-Place), Estar (1999-Being), Interior (1999) or Engano (1999-Blunder). These pieces establish criteria that reveal the artist's plastic preferences, and defining some of her aesthetical options. It is self-evident the care in the choice of materials that cover the shapes, chosen by their chromatic impact and their tactile qualities. On the other hand, we can find the idea of welcoming and of comfort, which will become recurrent: it is present in the drawing of round shapes, pregnant ones, and in the use of warm colours, red in these cases, and underlined by the chromatic saturation, dense and unpolished, and by the caressing appeal of cloths like velvet or felt. Another characteristic aspect is the fact that these pieces work like interfaces, small places of brief permanence, for the visioning and enacting of actions. (...)

In an ulterior set of works, Rute Rosas distributes and articulates the elements of composition - objects, images, sounds, smells - filling the space, intending to produce sensorially charged environments. The installations Na Minha Boca (1999-In my mouth) and Confessa (2000-Confess) are examples of experiments on sensorial simultaneity, of perceptive comprehensiveness and ambivalences. In these works the plastic importance of the large-scale projection of images is recognised, which is determinant, for instance, in the environmental brightness. Direct and explicit links between, on one side the iconography of projected images, and on the other materials, shapes and function of objects, sounds and smells presented are also pondered. So, in Na Minha Boca, a video projection occupies the whole wall at the end of the space, with images of a large-scale mouth, chewing and blowing latex balloons, which leak a white liquid. From the ceiling pliable objects with organic forms are suspended, that the visitor can manipulate - squeeze - discharging the energy corresponding to a mastication reflex or to the expectation of the next blow. In the air, saturated with chocolate aroma, the sounds of the mastication cracks are mixed with the blowing pf the balloons. The sensorial suggestions arisen go beyond the given stimuli, they provoke emotional and physical automatisms: empathic with the images and sounds projected, the visitor may find himself in an oral crispness moderated and contradicted by the chocolate smell, making him salivate, oscillating between the will to swallow and the will to regurgitate.

More recently, Rute Rosas has been producing works of a more complex nature, consisting in the assembling of diverse elements - environments, objects, events - where the visitor can assist to and participate in a sequence of differentiated moments and experiences. In this cycle of works, started with the exhibition Mamã, deixa-me andar de escultura?! (2000-Mamma, let me ride the sculpture?!), it seems evident and assumed the wish to brand the spectator, to leave him with memories, preferentially nice. It is not by chance that one of the most recent productions of this cycle of experiences is titled Marco-te com a tua marca (2002-I brand you with your brand). The environments, objects and events are organised in such a way to involve and lead the visitor in a multi-sensorial show that is happening in several time-frames and places: the artist makes the conscious deliberation that the access to memory is emotion concrete, and that this is attained by sensorial experience, i.e. necessarily by physical impression, which shall be as fulfilling and complete as possible. These works also demonstrate a subjective content, exclusively auto-referential. Symptomatically, in Marco-te com a tua marca a series of events involving the population of Manciano (Grosseto, Italy) occurs from a call which acronym is an adaptation of artist's individual and identifying tattoo. Before that, the exhibition Mamã, deixa-me andar de escultura?! presented and autobiographic return to childhood, by reformulating pleasurably experiences lived by the artist at that time of her life. In several spaces and environments of the exhibition the visitor could use playing machines or devices known from childhood, but now changed sensorially and perceptively enriched. This new livelihood of articles from the past is therefore not so much evocative but provokes new memories, by which the artist wants to be known by the spectator, to allure him.

Dentro de mim belongs to this last mode of presentation, insisting in exclusively auto-referential contents, in an assumed confessional tone. While Mamã, deixa-me andar de escultura?! was a return to childhood panel, of resolved emotions and answered wishes, a time of re-creation and enthusiastic learning, peaceful and comfortable, Dentro de mim is the symbolic territory of a personal situation in current times, of non-discursive auto-analysis, with the risks of exhibiting discomforts, anxieties, expectations and interrogations, in an aesthetic register that aims to keep the alluring character - cosy, pleasant, convivial. The exhibition is presented in 7 moments and is made of a combination of environments, sculptured objects, video and audio projections and performance.