Guita and The Creation of Presence

Paulo Herkenhoff

This book by Guita Soifer is a synthesis of the universe of her engraving through a selection of apparently disparate recent works. The meaning and cohesion of the whole will be apprehended from the understanding of the difference that her graphic experiences keep between them, which constitutes a mechanism through which the artist operates the language.

Guita Soifer sets in motion visual devices to constitute the presence of the image. The artist records in the traditional way, which in this book admits in some cases her alignment in Hayter’s open tradition of value the gesture, the trace, the line. The graphic intervention can also be varied collection and reuse of materials such as an economy of matrices, signs, gestures and scriptures, in which all this ends up gaining specific contours and, on the whole, constitute an image that is more than the sum of the parts. The artist acts according to an ambivalent process of showing and hiding herself. Guita Soifer points out her project to equal the extremes of expressiveness, in which absence (found matrices) and affirmation (the gesture of construction of the image) are equivalent, because the goal is to activate the mechanisms of perception. It is necessary to point to the specific time of each work, of articulation of god elements.

There are many different operations through which Guita Soifer sets in motion the constitution of her language. In this book, the recorded pages open to the reader the universe of connection between the stages of reading. The meaning of the book, as a set of articulated images, lies in enunciating the demand rather than in defining the field of answers.

The repetition of small gestures points to the place that arises from the tip of the incision instrument. They are small gestures of making the line repeated and individualized to a point where the repetition constitutes an idea of a graphic form. They end up being a process of territorialization. The space in some prints is the place of the confirming gesture of individuality. The operation is to accumulate traces and manage their presence, without pretending the saturation of the space, but as a search for the balance of the energy charge in the constitution of what you call graphic presence. The subjective conjectural image is that of a territory that appears as skin, which is made of scars from the act of wounding the matrix and the paper, and landscape. In the bachelardian sense, here is the artist’s matter will. The subject’s affirmation does not coincide with technical virtuosity, but of his capacity to mentally construct the graphic presence as a place.

The real engraver, wrote Gaston Bachelard, begins his work with a reverie of the matter. He is a worker. He’s a craftsman. He has all the glory of the worker. The English thinker concludes by saying that engraving is part of the history of struggles against the matter. The Bachelardian phenomenology is based on the empirical action in which the language is based, in this case, on the subject’s matter will as the action of Homo Artifex. It is as if Guita Soifer intensely confirmed the assertiveness through a great graphic production. And yet, the artist also collides with this statement. Bachelard’s reasoning does not fully adjust, because, as I have said, the artist’s game is to reveal and hide the author’s subject.

In some prints we find the subjectivity that reveals and affirms the author; in others, we find concealment and, apparently, its negation as if the presence of the image were given by the world. Despite the art and the artist, as the owner of an artisanship, this occurs when Guita Soifer passes from the form to the appropriation of small fragments found as a graphic matrix and conjugates these images into a set. The graphic incision is a procedure that does not admit regrets. What may seem like error or lack, is actually a choice. Guita Soifer does not deny the idea of reverie, but points to another reverie, now in the imaginary field. And what could still exist as a material reverie is shifted from the matrix to the base. The body, on which the material will act, is then the role.

Loose words and scattered letters wound the paper between engraving marks of the tradition of operations with acids and incisions. In a certain instance, an act of chance occurs. Many words articulate themselves as a game of dice. Reading is an incessant search for a meaning to these words, whose writing seems to have a double movement of being both the construction and the dissolution of the signifier. Writing adheres to the space of the support as a desire to constitute meaning, because communication does not support the absence of the code. The tension built up in these prints is a mental territory, located between the opacity and transparency of communication.

A group of Guita Soifer prints points to a tradition of modernity, which is the incorporation of objects found in the structure of the work of art. So, a Guita Soifer engraving can be the place to collect objects. They are small cut metal plates that, when printed, become found shapes. They are metal remains as an area outside the space of use. They are like fields of waste. Their only possibility of value is measured by their weight as metal. However, by printing them on paper, Guita Soifer produces a surprising hieratic presence. The transmission of the image detaches these forms from their last frontier: corporeality. What was a small piece of metal appears as an image, whose presence was repowered by strangeness. It occupies, solitarily, the center of the paper. The gaze fixes the center. They are silhouettes, forming an ambiguous relationship between the absence of something that passed or the index of a precarious presence. Some resemble basic architectural forms, in which the frontality candle the thickness of the monument.

Here it will be possible to make a reference to Ester Grispum’s drawings, in which the existence of space is defined as the place of architectural figures announced in the reverie of the graphic line. The monument, in Grispum’s work, seeks its existence between the transience of the line and the solid implantation of the hieratic or archaic volumes of beings, memories of a writing, as in the series “The Arch and the Cave” (1988). Guita Soifer’s graphic images – black and grave – also refer to the idea of an ironically monumental architecture, reconducting the sense of silence that hovers over those forms. The nature of silence is transformed by changing the very quality of these forms. In this process of resignification, Guita Soifer works on the expressive possibilities of the simple act. She acts as if she was producing the rescue of aphasia: the transformation of mutism into silence.

Some prints of Guita Soifer are an economic territory in which the rest, as lack of value, is redeemed. What nothing was recuperates an initial service, which is to produce some visibility. Apparently this would be the last possibility of these remains. The small fragments, small pieces of metal also found, are arranged in what looks like the articulation of a visual dialogue.

Guita Soifer explores the possibility of articulating a new totality: the constellate space. The imaginary diagonal lines of tension, starting from one fragment to the other, produce a cohesive sense for space – they weave the space. Simultaneously, a rarefaction of graphic intervention is experienced. The value will no longer be economic but will reside in the recapture of difference, there where nothing else seemed to have any sense or meaning. In this process of territorialization, there is a search for balance, for the encounter of the exact number capable of tensioning and constituting the new space into a presence itself.

If the resonances of the parts resist the gaze and constitute a significant graphic presence, we could now speak of another dimension of these games. They are lyrical constellation spaces. The path of the gaze is the course of a scripture, which, not belonging to the field of the word, is no longer silent here. It seems to be close to another expressive language, confirming the existence of senses transit. It is a fact that engraving has an appeal to tact. Many times the haptic gaze goes through the grooves and scars that the matrix engraves on the paper. However, in these prints of small fragments, we would be faced with graphic experiences in which, in the tradition of a Klee or Kandinski, the visual sign moves to another direction and seeks the condition of music. The eye listens, it has been said. The Russian artist, in his book “flat line point”, discusses the expressive possibilities of metal engraving in the constitution of mental structures, mentions resonances of lines and double sounds in the plane of connections and correspondence between art and music. If these fragments impregnate themselves on paper as points of various forms, Kandinski can then offer a key that would help us in understanding these compositions by Guita Soifer. So, “The first sound of the point is variable according to its dimensions and shapes,” and the artist is responsible for a relative coloring.

The stiletto of the writing in Braille pierced the paper of the engraving, point by point a message to the act and for legibility that is resolved in the absence of vision. Guita Soifer moves her work to other sensorial territories. The carnality of these prints formed by the paper’s plot receives inscriptions in Braille, like scars. These engravings of incision and textures find other limits of legibility. The double reference to the senses and the act is pressing. Again we must treat here the displacement of the vital path to a haptic condition in Guita Soifer’s work.

Blindness has been an extraordinary mechanism for understanding the status of limits and the power of the gaze, the act and vision were operated as a dramatic game in distinguished sculptors like Rodin, Degas, and Brancusi, well before, the Illuminist Diderot, in his letter about the blind, treated the education of the senses not having made an apology for blindness. It is convenient to reiterate that like Diderot, some artists deal with the education of the senses. The poetic potentiality of the limits of the gaze populate Brazilian art, Cildo Meireles being a matrix with works such as “Blind Mirror” and “Eureka Blindhotland” if we confirm the importance of the gaze, it is necessary to qualify this gaze and understand the difference. For Guita Soifer engraving, more than a wound in the matrix, is a project of repowering the perception of the gaze and touch around new legibility. Guita Soifer is among those artists for whom to build and think are equivalent.