While getting in touch with the collection of prints by Oswaldo Goeldi and Evandro Carlos Jardim belonging to the Museum of Contemporary Art of the University of São Paulo (about 10 prints by each artist), I came across some unexpected similarities between the work of these two masters of printmaking in Brazil.
Goeldi's works date from the fifties, and Jardim's mainly from his oeuvre of the sixties. The works from the final years of the first may have subtle relations with the early works of the latter. They bare a precision of cartography in the confrontation of distances between the openess of geography and the views of an internalized world, measured by affections, both in the open fields of Rio de Janeiro and in the outskirts of Interlagos (a very far away neighbourhood of São Paulo then). Centers and margins, in the prints and in the cities, loose their common meaning, and make hierarchies disappear. As if one could imagine a cartography of an unrestful activity, regulated by diffuse notes, in an everyday reorganization always unconcluded.
In both of them, the making of the plates is constituted of an enormous economy of the means, revealed in Goeldi's woodcuts (exact light cracks), and in Jardim's etchings, which sometimes combine the direct and indirect cut line with dry flat woodcuts, eroding the corroded matter in counter-light. Everything is mediated by the trial prints, also economic, diagram-like, with no fireworks. The tools and procedures for these two artists are extensions of their meditative drawings. To these to walking engravers, they are their notes, and are never based on a mechanical repetition of their plates into their prints. The invention of the graphic objects is always appraised by imaginativa and fabricating experiences.
The figures are very different in the imaginary of the two artists, as the spatial measurement realted to the landscapes. But they both have the capacity of setting an elloquent silence, which accompanies us for a long time, even after we cannot contemplate directly these different worlds, swepped by a crepuscular luminosity, by a crimped view of phenomena. Perhaps the force of such elocutions is born out of the profound experience of the means adopted by these two masters. These are never tactic choices, but visceral encounters between a temperament and a peculiar materiality.
It is never too much to remember that printmaking in Brazil is very young, not even summing two centuries of effective practice. Goeldi and Jardim are as close to us as to these origins, if we consider the reflections that their works lead us to develop about the carpentry of this history. The strength of this youth can be found in these prints and this is way they are such seminal references, barers at once of experimental qualities of what is inaugurated and the dignity of solitaty and essential projects moved by a consciousness that drawing and printing are also places to dwell.
The transfusions of mental night to physical night, the anticipations and aprehensions at counter-light, and the plunges in luminosities of dark places dwell together in these two different worlds, though strangely close, of Oswaldo Goeldi's and Evandro Carlos Jardim's prints. The two cities, the fifties' Rio de Janeiro and the sixties' São Paulo, thus rough-hewn, measured, reflected, in a cartography of cut, in this animic archaeology, reveal themselves as distant and as close in their drawings and destinies.