For a period of two years, from May 2007 to May 2009, Christina Oiticica will be exhibiting paintings composed in partnership with Nature in the gallery of the El Peregrino Hotel in Puente la Reina, a stop on the Road to Santiago.
The artist composes her paintings in different places along the Road: using the relief of stones, the intervention of the rain, snow, the color of the earth, natural pigments and wax. Once composed, they are “planted” in the earth and recovered months later.
From this original process that combines land art and painting, symbolic and abstract canvases emerge that convey the energy of the place where they were composed.
The fact that this exhibit is taking place in Puente la Reina, where all paths to Santiago converge into one, is not accidental: the intention is to show the pilgrims another road, one marked by their steps, hopes and memories.
In this process the artist follows the inspiration taken from the words of the French writer André Gide: “Art is collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist intervenes, the better.”
As Quatro Estações – The Four Seasons
8 december 2003 – 20 january 2004 – Mestna Galerija – Ljubljana, Slovenia
17 – 31 april 2004 – Galeria Candido Portinari – Rome, Italy
8 december 2004 – 23 january 2005 – Casa França-Brasil – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
By Christina Oiticica
My work is affected, inevitably, by having been in close contact with nature for a year and a half, living the four seasons intensely. They ended up influencing my work. Normally things don’t occur on a conscious level, only on a subconscious one.
Seeking shelter and safety, someplace we identify with, all this is part of the universe of man’s course through life. And our work ends up reflecting everything that we know and that we identify with.
My work is the opposite of man’s course. Leaving home – the cave – and returning to nature. It is the work of a pilgrim, affected by being a part of nature itself.
We humans deal with space. We can move around, we are free in space. Plants deal with time, and have a far greater existence. Plants are free in time. They are capable to interrupt the seed’s germination, which is in fact an interrupted pregnancy, in order to germinate at a favorable moment.
When I leave my work in the fields, forests and dry riverbeds, it not only captures the physical, spatial element, but also the energy element. When it is with nature, it begins to identify with it and respond to it.
The intention of my work is to go beyond the four walls protecting it, to use space and go beyond. Go beyond the four walls and be affected by the weather, by circumstances, as Ortega y Gasset put it.
Nature works together with me over a one year cycle. It is a partnership with the Immaculate Conception, with the Earth. Nature helps to transfer my works like a seed and after a year it will give me the fruit.
ART FROM THE ENTRAILS
In the same way that an artist’s work emerges from his or her depths, Christina Oiticica’s work, or at least part of it, returns to the earth and is then retrieved from it after a period of telluric gestation.
Nature is thus a partner of Christina’s, and each work in some way acquires a fingerprint of nature itself.
It is powerful, this partnership between artist and nature. The results are surprising. It is as if the arbitrary hand of the elements completed the artist’s original intention, lending the work a special density and uniqueness.
On disinterring her works, Christina Oiticica must be surprised herself at what the invisible hand of nature has done to her original designs.
The final result of this extraordinary partnership is a work of art that is literally inimitable because in each case the will of water and wind and the mysteries of stone and earth interact in a unique way on the created matter.
The very guts of this old house of ours has served as a bed for one of the works that will be exhibited here. When it emerges, it will bear the mark of old sediments of the city of Rio de Janeiro, sediments in which it has been soaked and from which it will rise.
I have yet to see it resuscitated. I recognise it will be another surprise promised by Christina’s art that moves heaven and the earth and leaves no stone unturned to enchant us.
Marcos Castrioto de Azambuja
President of the France-Brazil Museum Foundation
Virtual Exhibition Signs
48th Salon de Montrouge, May 2003
Virtual photo exhibition, France Casa Brazil, December 2003
Virtual photo exhibition, 4th International Biennial of Photograph and Visual Arts, Liege, Belgium, 2004
In any pilgrimage there are SIGNS. On the Way of St. James – commonly known by its name in Spanish, El Camino de Santiago – for example, the yellow arrows that go unnoticed to those who are not pilgrims, are the SIGNS. To the layman, the arrows are the SIGNS that we face throughout life, and do not understand the meaning of.
Along the Camino de Santiago the SIGNS are multiple. A name engraved in a tree trunk, a number, a dot, a series; they are not pretty or ugly, true or false, they are just signs. In every color and trace exists an embedded code, a secret, revealed only to those who are willing to decipher it.
Christina Oiticica collects signs lost in the countryside and recreates them in photographs. The images are born of a negotiation between the object – which was photographed – and the effects generated by the computer. It emerges from the photographs what the SIGNS are.
The characteristic of the installation presented by Christina Oiticica in this itinerant exhibition (Paris-Rio), is the maturity of the idea, which centers on the importance of returning to the source of universal inspiration in creative arts through the ages.
Her conceptual proposal, entitled “A Casa do Tempo – Nascita di Venere” (House of Time – Birth of Venus), is inspired by the work of the same name by Botticelli and reflects his everyday universe, exploring elements such as sand, seashells, pearls, symbols and the constant signs of daily work in an insatiable reality.
The artist reveals complex relations of this universe through objects, sculptures and paintings, a highly successful demonstration of how art history continues through the recognition and use of a post-modern context.
This is artistic creation in a new sense, in which the work of art doesn’t merely exist for the pleasure of being seen, but as an object of reflection about the values of the world in the Third Millennium.
Thus, Christina Oiticica’s art becomes sovereign through the appropriation of these objects, at times suggestive, at others irritating, but always provoking a new and current stance regarding the ever more contemporary representation of universal art.
Paris, February 2000
Art Critic – AICA France.
A large amount of cards – hotel keys, telephone cards, business cards, boarding passes, credit cards … collected over 10 years of travel, incorporated and multiplied in numerous works, art objects and paintings. Contemporary attitude – Silent Metalanguage.
Used cards, reused, transformed and displayed in scenes and installations.
Souvenir collection – collected cards – Travelled, Collected
Endless cards collected over 10 years of countless comings and goings. Hotel keys, phone cards, visiting cards, boarding passes, credit cards, a series of small rectangles of paper or plastic, carrying within them a memory, a challenge, a town.
Times lived, paths crossed. Touches, sounds, voices, divided emotions, sweet longing. The name was given: “Travelled, Collected” (Parcours Récoltés).
The cards bring with them several images: of flowers, towns, landscapes, birds… however one fascinated me particularly: in Germany, as she dialed someone’s number, the phone card showed a mysterious mouth, with a smile of irony or complicity. Based on this card, I was able to re-read that very moment in my life.
Christina Oiticica – Delirium in Red
The artist’s work, for the first time on show in Brussels, is a veritable Rio de Janeiro Carnival made of delirious images, extravagant birds, crazy flowers, bewitched rhythms, excesses, all worthy of the most impassioned Cariocas!
When we are told she is the wife of “alchemist” novelist Paulo Coelho, then we understand the ardor of the lady. “Christina does not show just a painting” – explains her writer husband – “she shows a piece of each of our lives using her colors and her soul.”
She created her current artistic path – other paths have come before this one – based on magnetic cards. Credit cards, telephone cards, boarding tickets gathered over time and circumstances. She used and multiplied them in a scenario scripted by her visions. Credulous to an almost mystic degree, she offers us an eruption – an eternal symphony – of red mouths and hearts.
Her works – both oil on canvas and mixed techniques on cushions and objects – have titles like “Rainfalls of Roses”, “Heart of Color”, “Jasper with Chrome Chain and Pearls”, “Heart of Quartz with Wires” … that is enough, no more examples are needed!
Although the themes are similar, each object is different.
Texts in all languages from Chinese to Persian, Spanish to Portuguese, decorate the paintings. Sometimes they are illustrated with texts by Paulo Coelho, interspersed with small gold-thread hearts decorated with tulle and lace. At other times an electronic chip repeats its silent message.
Since 1980, Christina Oiticica has exhibited little in Europe and a great deal in South America, where her overflowing sensibility surely adapts better to the spirit of the place, which would not happen on this old Continent turned dull from spending so much time contemplating its own navel. Her work smells of passion, folly, a storm of feelings … there is a certain undeniable touch of poetry to this pseudo-metaphysical abundance whose lack of nuance is offset by conferring a fascinating symbolic reality on the color red.
La Petite Galérie – 1, rue de Livourne (Place Stéphanie). Until October 28, Wednesday to Saturday 2:30-6:30 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Christina Oiticica’s creations enjoy both a traditional foundation and a more experimental work method, along the lines of neo-concretism. Based on rich symbols, which she extracts mainly from the poetic feminine universe, she creates spaces filled with energetic radiation, demanding of audiences more than simply passive, rigid perception.
The optical possibilities stimulate the active spectator to make a sensitive and spiritual journey through the different layers of the artist’s universe, only to then create – be it consciously or subconsciously, internal associations with an individual or collective unive.
Galeries Lafayette – Paris, France
Fio das Contas e Carregador de Pérolas – Threading Beads and Stringing Pearls
Cultural Center Cândido Mendes – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – March 1999
Center for the Arts Helio Oiticica – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – March 1999
In order to place the work of Christina Oiticica, the artist from Rio de Janeiro, one must return to the art scene of the 1970’s, when the experimental movements which appeared in the mid-50’s were crystallized by innovations in neo-concrete art. In this respect, the artist is a child of that period. Neo-concrete art is opposed to the mathematic rigidity of São Paulo’s concrete art and to is pragmatism, and attempts to insert the work of art within an industrialization process. The intention in Rio was to prevent that pragmatic approach, to elaborate an art form which retained its mark of subjectivity (it is worth recalling that the philosophical text on which such works were based was Primacy of Perception, by the Frenchman Merleau-Porty) of the body and of the spectator’s active participation in the work, typical of Lygia Clark’s “beasts” – metallic articulations the can be mutated by the active “spectator”.
The seventies inherited, therefore, a cultural foundation and works which challenged this basis, the stage for these activities being the experimental room at the Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro. An investigative pattern of the way of making art in the Rio de Janeiro scene was thus established. Christina Oiticica also took part in the deconstruction, which occurred during the eighties and nineties working with traditional materials. But a lot of her work belongs to the experimental basis of that time. The peculiarity of most of the artist’s work deals with the sign of fluidity and of transparency, seen, for example, in the installation Stringing Pearls (Pot of Pearls), made in 1999. In this work she used embroidered bags of tulle, pearls and the suggestion of a Japanese garden, creating a kind of filtered environment, a tactile, optical and sensorial landscape modulated by the sensitive idea of transparency. Besides that, the artist has a sensitivity which is very precious these days, the unveiling of a peculiar perception which seems to come from a poetry of the feminine, poetry of the intimate feminine, to prevent any comparison with the works of feminism, which almost always have political connotations.