About the Obrigado Volte Sempre exhibition

Fred Coelho


We often speak about the work of an artist through their more traditional biases, that is, the tenacious struggle between their body and time, between their mind and form, between their technique and medium. A fight that, within a solitary space like a studio, can last for days, weeks, months. In this tradition of “work”, the artist can wait patiently, like a Zen master, for something (the work) to occur in the emptiness of downtime. Or, on the contrary, he can throw himself, like a crazy Sisyphus, into a fragmented way of working on multiple fronts, until “a god, an animal, a man” emerges from his efforts. Cabelo prefers another practice. His method is the fast and incisive capture of the everyday. His posture is that of someone who attacks things finding out in the fragments what becomes art. This accurate attack, this action of a street magician taking the coin out of your hand before you close it, is at the heart of this exhibition at the Gentil Carioca.

In this case, the attack was not executed with a physical gesture of his body (frequently exposed as the nerve center of the poetics of his work), but with another hand, a hand-eye, that draws through a lens. A hand that, while holding the camera without tripods or anything besides his loosely hanging arms, draws on an enigmatic background. By focusing on the reflection of light on unstable surfaces, Cabelo finds the grain of color and the speed of light in a dynamic that is rarely seen. His videos make this hand-eye subtly draw these lights and colors, while the abstract shapes succeed and throw us at worlds unsuspected by our common vision.

What we have therefore are paintings and drawings, made with hidden lighting on the periphery of vision. The attack of the creator, the one who, more than looking, can see. Cabelo sees and dives into the lights with close-ups because he suspects, because he senses that things are much greater than we realize. Once the attack is completed, the door to another dimension is discovered and everything becomes delirious: the camera, eyes, hands, colors, shapes. Investing in the certainty of the imponderable Cabelo draws animations, creates beings that reproduce themselves, witnesses the birth of worlds, observes absorbed and in silence the end of stars and galaxies.

Cabelo is in peace. The fixed eye, the loose hand, the mind concentrated on the revelation of these microcosms that become macrocosms, all this gives his work a rare cleanliness in its trajectory. If he usually activates the viewers multiple senses, here he focuses everything in one close-up. Without resorting to baroque excesses, without making use of several layers of materiality and without displaying the word that engenders poetry, he presents us with a more poetic dimension than ever. We have a totally fulfilled artist finding his object of desire, inviting us to enter a hypnotic frequency. We will stay here, drugged by the light, waiting for the next surprise from these fleeting compositions.

Like a “Caboclo Cinema” (in the perfect definition of the artist himself), the videos give us the opportunity to approach the integral relationship that Cabelo has with other worlds, other vibrations, other spheres. We know he has always pointed his art to the crossroads of creeds and colors. Exus, Buddhas, Shivas, Shamans and spiritual entities in general hover in his performances, occupy his fabrics and seduce us on his canvases. In the videos, what we see is all this strength in its most fluid state, pure, dense. Cabelo is light. He knows that in life, as in art, one needs to be attentive of the fragments of the day, the discarded objects, the other side of things. Only those who are about to attack see the reflection of light in the water in the pan and start an inner journey to the inside of the inside of the inside of forms. The hand-eye draws, Cabelo smiles. The precise attack inaugurated a new era.

This is not to say that videos are new. Since “Big bang violeta”, 2001, the projections in “Mianmar Miroir (The Corridor)”, 2006, of “La Mer”, 2009 or “Itamambuca dub”, 2014, video is there, thinking with him of ways to appropriate into his visual imagery what only his eyes see and expand. In this exhibition, however, the video is not exactly filming a previously organized thought in the form of artwork. Here it is about simply recording the motion of matter and its uncontrolled developments. Going deeper into this relationship, the frames chosen by Cabelo create another place to think about the almost archetypal relationship between painting with light and color. Despite the chromatic cut that pushes us to seas and stars of pinks, blues, yellows, reds and the entire range of crossings between these shades, his palette is the unexpected.
When I visited Cabelo to talk about the exhibition we talked excitedly about the videos and our joy of seeing and talking endlessly about them. In a moment of total silence, absorbed in the darkness while waiting for the next image, I heard a phrase, the only one that could be chosen to speak about this work, and I leave it here for you as an end without end, since everything is always starting anew every day: “There is a lot of light when I close my eyes”.