Cauê Alves. Estrutura e indeterminação. Publicado por ocasião da exposição na galeria Nara Roesler, São Paulo. versão para o inglês: Structure and indetermination – 2010 –
It is not only the title of Luiz Hermano’s exhibition that displays ambiguity. The whole show allows for polysemous meanings, constituting an opening for distinct connotations, harboring paradoxes and numerous possible approaches.
The Portuguese word “conta” can mean either an arithmetic operation like a sum or multiplication, an expense account, a bill, or also a bead threaded through wire to make jewelry. Indeed, beads made of resin, plastic, acrylic and wood form Hermano’s works. And mathematical reasoning is involved in his creative process, even if such reasoning is somewhat intuitive, as if it were being silently and spontaneously woven during its making. This is a living thought, which has no previously determined end. For Hermano, there is not only a project to be executed, but rather an invention that arises from the direct contact with the wire and beads.
Each work is a contingent arrangement because it represents a casual decision on the part of the artist and, at the same time, bears a necessary order, once finished it is as if it could be no other way. Works like Continentes ou Caravela are the sums of parts that cannot be understood just individually, each one is a structure, a coherent set. Although they consist of a model that eventually adds on to another and unfolds, there remains the constant principle of organization. Moreover, any partial modification ends up requiring a new configuration of the whole. The relationship between unit and multiplicity is indeterminate. A piece may be composed of a single shape or several, while some sets of parts may be separated without detriment to the whole.
Meanwhile, Rio de contas I and II, for instance, are like geometric digraphs that insinuate movements, currents that flow in a given direction and form whirlpools, rising and ebbing. There is a certain order, a universal harmony in these works, like that in mandala shapes, kósmos; yet there is also imbalance, a shapeless and chaotic disorder, Kháos. This is because Hermano’s works are not just derivations of previously given and existing structures, but rather they are the actual structure in formation. Therefore, it is impossible to learn each of them at once.
In some pieces, like the silver Lua Cheia, the symmetry is broken with a detail, with a color or off-center element that attracts one’s eye and breaks down any previous conditioning. Some works, like Artifícios, made of small black and white striped pieces, produce illusions of movements from accentuated contrasts. It is as if the work were vibrating to the point where it seemed to be expanding. The light that falls on it, allied to the spectator’s movement, gives rise to a dynamic game that allows the eye no rest. The piece changes as we move towards and away from it. However, perhaps the relationship with optical art is less direct than it may initially appear, as Hermano’s work displays no emphasis on research into the mechanisms of perception. On the contrary, instead of exploring illusionism and its variations through scientific argument or the illustration of formulae or recipes, the artist is more interested in what is indeterminate in perception. Furthermore, there is a craftwork aspect to his work, where although some capacitors used by the electronic industry – with the primary function of storing electricity – feature, they have no functionality here at all.
Hermano’s work process is analogous to that of the wildcat prospector, who extracts the most valuable and rare elements from a huge volume of earth orbits and bobs. As if, it were necessary to comb whole mountains to find diamonds, or to rummage in the depths of the mangrove to catch the crabs. However, the value of his work is evidently not in the ordinary material used, but rather in the ambiguous network of relations and forms, where natural and artificial or artistic and industrial are not clear opposites.
Luiz Hermano’s structures always seem to be pregnant, because they bear a power to generate other structures and events. They possess within the beginning of their reality to come and of their future. That is why we can say that his work is fecund. Its ambiguity still lies in not needing to choose between the objectivity of science and a subjective regard of the visitor, or between abstraction and figuration, just as one certain tradition left us as its legacy.