Maria Alice Milliet. Luiz Hermano: brinquedos. Publicado no catálogo da exposição no Paço das Artes, São Paulo – versão para o inglês: Luiz Hermano: toys2001-

Luiz Hermano gentleness combined with obstinacy. His work finds its origins in an approach, which, while aggressive, is nevertheless unyielding in character. Not even in some of his more grandiose sculptures is there any evidence of resolute confrontation with his material. Seeing his works as an exaltation of willful action would imply a means of expression altogether different from that used by the artist.

His creative technique arises from a process of patient reworking of his art. His works emanate a certain fragility, a fragility which derives from the materials themselves and from the selected construction process. If wood is used it is laminated into thin strips. In the case of metal, threads, wire, cable, tape, scraps of tin, copper, aluminum or steel are used. The preference for such materials is due to their malleability and flexibility when assembling the structural core present in most of his works. This woven link acts as a support while it gathers form, filling outwards into space, gradually losing its firmness and gaining in organic mass. There is no violence, no hardness. Persistence and imagination form the major ingredients of this approach.

In order to gain a clearer understanding of such a procedure, it would be useful to see it set in counterpoint to the work of Amilcar de Castro. While the essence of the works executed by the master from Belo Horizonte may be reduced to two radical operations, i.e. cutting and folding, that which lies at the heart of Luis Hermano’s production consists of the continuous reworking of material. In the former, the work of art is born of isolated and unrepeatable acts; in the latter the creation gathers substance as the activity progresses. The potency of the gesture versus unwavering activity; rigidity versus flexibility; Cartesian space versus topological space; all of this would have created irreconcilable opposites had the younger artist not incorporated what was already part of a Constructivist tradition, followed by a Modernist inclination, combining this background with other less erudite approaches. The underlying formalism of Constructivism appears in deconstructed form in works which derive their sense of order from the square. There is also something of Constructivist Serialism in the use of sequenced forms, which, however, eschew the uniformity of mechanical repetition, as a result of the work being executed by hand. The subversion of Constructivist rationality by the organic factor of manual production strikes a dominant note in the corpus of three-dimensional works to which the artist has been directing his energies for several years now.

The hybridization between craft and industry has given rise to work, which is perfectly attuned to current Brazilian reality. Its merit lies in the fact that it does not attempt to disguise the transience that characterizes our society, which most of the time restricts itself to superimposing cultures and techniques without overcoming them. Without ignoring the attempts at modernization (a task of the Constructivist vanguard) and the advances in the direction of Post Modernism (especially, of the type undertaken by Lygia Clark and Helio Oititica based on Neoconcretism), Hermano does not discard the pre-industrial mode of production. On the contrary, he adapts it. Without lapsing into conservatism, he appropriates aspects of the industrial – from industrially processed materials (laminated, wire drawing, etc.) even using products of mass consumption, strainers, screws, nuts, off-cuts and small plastic objects) – in order to create perforated forms interwoven in space.

What is represented in this exhibition has a strong link with the Artist’s imagination as a young man, a universe of memories in which the visual replaces the narrative without altogether excluding it. The oldest objects of this collection are made of painted clay .As a child brought up in the heartland of Ceará Luiz Hermano must certainly have seen in fairs at the time dolls and animals made of mud which were typical of the region’s crafts. Using the same unaffected technique, he made boats, racing cars and space ships, each painted in bright colors. Using low quality school stationery, set squares and gauges he built towers and objects in relief. Hundreds of small dolls made of plastic with hands and feet bound together change from being science-fiction super heroes to being links in a chain, which appears to stretch into infinity.

A panel made of dominoes suggests a cheapened Constructivism; bits and pieces of wire containing small gadgets take on the appearance of free samples or amulets. On the wall a metal tape outlines the profile of a ballerina while on the ground lies a metallic carpet, which looks more like dried mucus. Over this pop/popular fantasy reigns a seated figure, part giant teddy bear, of those, which are sold on the pavements of São Paulo, and part ritual figure. A certain resistance appears to permeate all this, involving the preservation of the ludic without losing the lucid.