Between the body and the landscape

Fernando Cocchiarale, Rio de Janeiro, April 2004



The poetical meaning of Rute Rosas’ art moves dissonantly between two much cherished subjects of the history of west painting: the body (picture) and the scene destined to it (landscape). However Rute’s choice for these ancestral subjects of the art is neither moved by nostalgia, nor by efforts of rehabilitation. On the contrary, her work seems to investigate what kind of connections between the body and the landscape would be possible in the art and in the contemporary world.


Perhaps from there results a first and enlightening option of the artist. The use of means of expression and of non conventional supports stresses the critical detachment of Rosas in relation to the pictorial representations of the body and to natural scenes created by the classical art. In all the work of the last years, her direct presence, in the case of the performances, or through icons in the videos and photographs that register them, it is vital for to enjoy and read (both syntactic and semantic) the work of this artist.


However, her explicit presence in the work doesn’t fit in the tradition of the self-portrait. (…)


Frequently naked or covered by a mesh glued to the body, Rosas seems, in some of her works, almost a drawing (an auto-silhouette) or a sculpture of herself. The emphasis is always given to the totality of her body and not to this or that specific detail. Sometimes she covers herself entirely, only leaving the face uncovered. In other occasions, she wears a mask, as an evident minimisation of the role of her face in the work.


On the other hand, the figure of the artist in the work neither functions as a basis for real and lived actions, without simulation, no staged and never represented, as professed by body art and by the conceptual art in 70’s. Against this disdain by the illusion, inherited from the modernism, but still active in the beginnings of contemporary art, the actual work recovers the narrative, the content and the illusionism, even though on very diverse basis of those of the pre-modern past.


Within the same spirit, if we examine the scope of Rute’s poetical inquiry and invention, the landscapes, we will come to the conclusion that pretty similar reasons separate her work from the logic of the self-portrait, from body-art and the from conceptualism, and simultaneously, they put her away from the classic and pre-modern landscape and also, from that proposal from land-art. These poles (body and landscape) that give meaning to Rute Rosas’ production are dealt in an emblematic way in her performance I through Parties Because I want Parties, carried through in Oporto in 2002, in the art gallery of Jose Mário Brandão, in the same night of the inauguration of the exhibition Inside of Me, of the same artist, in the Canvas Gallery. (…)


The degustation becomes anthropophagic, even though it is provisory. At the end of everything, among the brans that remained spread on the table, one can observe that the projected image remained untouched and that along with the cake the space which existed at a first moment vanished, but not the work. 


Between the real body of Rute Rosas and its registration in the work, made by the transforming mesh, between her projected image and the fragmentation of he background (cake) in which she was inscribed, between the register of the party and of the parties, and its later watching in DVD, there are so many mediations that we can no longer think the meaning of this work as a simple polarization between reality and representation.


I through Parties Because I want Parties gives us the idea of an equalitarian exchange, a changing flow between artist and public, but also between her person and the others (to give and to receive caresses is something of an entirely personal order), and at last, between body and landscape. There is a rupture with the old requirement of separation between subject and object (functionally different), fundamental for sciences and for art in the past. I through Parties Because I want Parties does not conceive altery as a polarization between permanent, fixed identities, rather as a transitive process of roles and functions as a web.