Instant or Around Everything
Text by Xico Chaves, 2013 (Xico Chaves, F10 Publisher)
… I have always been aware that I follow a path that can lead to many places at the same time. It seemed to me like a conglomerate of destinies represented in poems, drawings, objects, writings, paintings, photographs, and a few non-identifiable works pointing in many directions, styles and forms of free expression. Thus, sonnets coexisted with constructivist poems, abstraction with figuration, collage with drawing, oil painting with natural pigments, object with non-object, notes with scribbles, real landscape with imaginary one. But there has always been something that drove me towards deconstruction and reconstruction, to a structural, conceptual, and aesthetic overcoming of a result to a totally unusual one. Even without knowing that some of my experiments had already been made, I discovered them by myself, and when I realised this, I sought different ways to invent something different and new. But I kept on practicing the forms I had previously created and mastered. Over time, I realised that the many fragments of my creative process could be integrated, in order to create a set with many different meanings. This simultaneity has become a practice and, as I experimented with it, I included more and more elements, languages, materials and ideas, with the continuous flow that accompanied me everywhere and in everything I did, without effort or obsession. I have always found it natural to do everything at the same time, and I realized that, in fact, the relativity of time and its total and extended enjoyment resulted in multiple proposals. It was possible to use very disparate contents and languages on different media simultaneously, in different places and situations or even in one single place. While I worked with minerals and pigments, I could listen to a song and write lyrics for it, I could create a text, conceive an allegory for street carnival, plan a TV programme, think about a series of photographs... Observing liquid matter while it dries is at the same time science, poetics and reflection on the formation of the planet, its climatic and geological phenomena, the weightlessness of outer space, the geographical construction of a poem, the alchemical processes and also imagining and expressing the most commonplace situations, things that are apparently useless. The exercise of simultaneous freedom of expression gradually made me aware of the technical and philosophical limits of different areas of knowledge, and the will to know more and more about procedures, theories and materials led me to a kind of immediacy in my working process. Improvisation and experimentation became the result, not only explorations or annotations about something unfinished. The annotations also became files which I can use later; to practice or to develop at another moment or even leave them as they are. The finish becomes a different version, because the creative process accumulates over it, incorporating new meanings. Throughout my career, I have created clusters of practice and languages, with the intention of announcing that diversity could have moments, series, phases, parallels, similarities, associations, and that I could use, at some point, procedures and practices I had previously conceived. But I was at another point of the exponential curve, at another time, requiring another dimension. Traditional painting with the use of minerals or natural pigments on several kinds of supports, photography, theatre, music, and poetry, all coming from my maternal grandparents, in Minas, became contemporary languages, as well as the creation and construction of kites, ceramic vases, bows and arrows, percussion instruments made with recycled material, natural glues, animal dissection, drawings with broken tiles on the asphalt, wood objects sculpted with blades, brushes made with bird feathers and animal hair, collections of rocks and packages of products, combinations of metal wires and electronic pieces, lead melting and so many other things. Cement, mortar, glass, graphical arts, UFOs, the endless horizon, scientific knowledge, collective creation and political awareness came all from Brasília, where I have learned it was possible to build and inhabit a city in only a few months. Brasília was still at a crossroads where past, future and present inhabited the same celestial dome along the utopia of the construction of a society free from all prejudices, in a country diversified and glorious by nature. There, the “uni-verse” became a “multi-verse.” In Rio, I realised that there was no rupture whatsoever between different forms of expression, and that everything could coexist in the same space and time; simultaneous productions could be infinitely continuous and have infinite developments. There was a moment when my need to theorize was strong, which made me write about the my propositions and their meanings. However, written language became too hermetic and complex for that purpose; peristaltic and labyrinthine, full of connections with the fields of theory, quantum physics and many other intellectual and scientific supports, which could drive me into an increasingly complex, perhaps even obvious universe. The longest texts gradually became very short, quasi-poems and poems just referring to what I was producing at the moment, a kind of descriptive, reflective and associative signalization, an attempt to explain in a few brushstrokes the intention or the meaning of each artwork, their relation with the world, politics, society, nature, personal life and the fact that I was impregnating the object with meanings and associations with existence itself, its surroundings and symbolic expression. They have become subjective manifestation rather than objective representation, supposing both of them have different potentials. The inclusive character of several languages, behaviours and expressions contemporary art started to assimilate left me comfortable to take all the risks, with the confidence of someone who knows his own complexity, assimilation and multiplicity of creative processes. Experiencing that great flow of production – whose flag was free expression and polical-ideological action that have always guided me – also led me to the formulation of institutional programmes, because I believed I could intercede in favour of the arts and have some influence over the government in order to improve its understanding and transforming role. The simultaneity of this challenge with the creative process led me to expand my field of action, to prevent it from interfering with my personal artistic production, essential for me to be able to dialogue with institutions, conceiving and creating projects for the dissemination and stimulus of artistic and cultural productions. On the other hand, this allowed me to closely monitor what was happening in the arts and society without abandoning my individual artistic production, which I accumulated, exhibited and re-dimensioned.
This book and the multimedia exhibition Orbit - Poetic - Xico Chaves, held at Oi Futuro Flamengo in 2011, is the first summary of fragments and moments of my work for over forty years. It is a multiple synthesis given the impossibility of finding and locating works in the hands of collectors, friends, archives and my studio, but broad in their totality. Some works have been lost forever, because they were perishable, immaterial, or because they were ephemeral interventions and installations, undocumented given the resources available at the time of their creation. Others were burned or buried when I was young during the military regime, some due to address changes or to get rid of my own weight. Many works were not included because they are too recent, by lack of room or due to the fact that they are still under observation, which is coherent with my creative process, or under creation in the space and time I am experiencing, led by immediacy. For me, artists are not creatively idle, nor do they rest, which means they are continuously reflecting and acting anywhere. Relativity has become life itself with variable intensities, in which a second can englobe eternity in content and density, like the synthesis of a longer instant...