Deconstructions for Constructions

Olívio Tavares de Araujo

My role in this exhibition goes far beyond the traditional catalog text. In fact, I was summoned a month ago by Guita Soifer to, in a way, detonate the exhibition itself. I’ll explain it. For almost two years, Guita had been postponing it, knowing that it was a big leap in her career, and for being in doubt if the leap was already mature, or if it was convenient to wait a little longer, in expectation of the next step. This kind of anguish occurs with artists of complex temperament, in which they gather, in identical media, an essentially compulsive and exorcist process of creation and an inclement need to reflect philosophically on things of the world and art.

Guita elected me, therefore, as a kind of alter ego, with the specific function of seeing from outside, with distance, the whole of her recent painting, and decide, together with her, about the moment to expose it. Obviously we decided it was time. Regardless of the fact that this is the beginning and not the point of arrival of a stylistic proposal, it seemed to me that there was in this beginning strength, interest and importance for it to be publicly recorded.

The importance lies, first of all, in the revolution that this painting translates into the universe of the artist’s values, both the purely formal and the interior. For many years Guita’s painting was based on figurative patterns. Her current arrival at abstraction is not due to the mere assimilation of models but rather to the intrinsic evolution of the work, and new convictions in its aesthetic horizon. (Or rather: by the clear unveiling of convictions that are always latent in every artist). Having become a professional at full adult age, Guita has never lived the need of many young people, to be at any cost in fashion.

So it was that she remade by herself, until she reached the present stage of language, the path that so many others have taken, from Kandinsky, Malevitch and Mondrian. It is the path that discovers and claims the autonomy of painting of which the so-called abstraction is actually a concretion as a consequence of the exercise of painting itself.

Moreover, in the case of Guita Soifer, the ambiguity between the two usual polarities, figuration and abstraction, has underpinned her engraving for several years. Her gesture, interacting with the unpredictable margin of alchemy inherent in engraving on metal, has always referred to suggestions of vegetations or landscapes, to something extremely organic but that cannot be reduced to figurative representation.

This, in itself, is not the important thing. (It is not a question of taking a pro-abstraction stand, or of considering it a “progress” concerning the figure). The important thing is that in Guita’s engraving it was made clear that the authentic function of the work of art is, for it, something settled and practiced for a long time. Although I hesitate to talk about auto-thelian function to the exclusion of other functions. In the face of Guita’s art, be it engraving or painting, and in the face of her obsessive and intense rhythm of work, the cathartic component of her creation is evident, in absolute existential depth. Guita reminds me of “Letters to a Young Poet”, when Rainer Maria Rilke asks his interlocutor if writing poetry, for him, is as essential as breathing. I have no doubt that recording and painting are acts of survival for Guita, on which depends how to feed and love its global balance.

Her art serves her, therefore, to the same extent as it serves art.

And that is why I spoke, in the beginning, of revolutions also on the internal level. Abstract painting brings Guita Soifer an inevitable widening of perspectives and risks, which she can no longer afford not to assume. I do not think, of course, of risks of failure. Over a trajectory of several years, the artist has accumulated all the “know-how” to deal with any expressive system. I speak of the risks of having to go too far, and of starting to produce as artistically desirable an art that goes beyond Hellenic aesthetic limits, where beauty (in the sense of harmony, proportion, fair measure and balance) is the ideal to achieve. Contemporarily, it is up to the artist to explode any limits, plunging into uncertainty, search, and the order that, by dialectics, can plunge from chaos.

Guita’s abstraction remains, for the time being, in the realm of beauty. That is: it works according to those Hellenic parameters, and wishes to prove himself competent, in terms of technique, composition, chromaticism, etc. There is, however, an indication that she is in the vicinity of deeper dives. It is that her current process of obtaining an image goes through a mechanism of deconstruction and concealment rather than an organized construction.

For reasons that could perhaps be the search for a religious dimension, she began to employ in some paintings a star of David. But the star was being uncharacterized, covered, fragmented. Certain paintings limit themselves to contain, for example, one of the tips, obtained in a decisive gesture of the brush.

For the relaxation Guita Soifer seeks, therefore, at this moment; the construction of a new stage in the whole of his work. One can guess that the matter of painting tends to thicken, that the gesture tends to be more and more important and radical, and that painting as a whole will be more and more pictorial and more absolute. It is in favor of this process of intensification that I openly declare my support. It is not easy, for artists endowed with speculative and restless intelligence, the birth of creation. It is not easy for Guita to give shape to her “daimon”. But it is easy for everyone to realize the seriousness with which she gives herself to her task, counting on the support of those who, like her, know how art is the highest manifestation of the human spirit.