Amid the infinite marks inscribed on the azure horizon, light emerges from the cloud trail. Captured in the abstract tempest animating the landscape, I am blinded by the force erupting from the layers of paint. Brazilian artist Lucas Arruda presents a series of small scaled paintings, horizontally arranged one after the other on the long white walls of the David Zwirner London gallery.
At first, the sequence appears as a simple process: the application of oil paint on a canvas, but the effect of even one painting alone is multiplied infinitely upon observation of the details. The surface of the canvas appears as if it has been consistently and methodically ingrained using a painting-knife. The contrast between the effect of the strokes and the warm reassuring colourscape, attracts not only my interest and my motivation to understand the process, but also stirs my emotions and moves my soul.
At ease yet terrified by the grandiosity of the scene, I surrender to the beauty before me and to the moment I am experiencing.
From the top of the painting, the strokes float in disarray while falling gradually and vertically towards the centre, coming to lay horizontally at the base of the canvas. The evaporating violent strokes which eventually calm, serve to accentuate the paradox which affected me from the moment I laid my eyes on the first piece of artwork. Rebellious passion emanates while a discrete beam of light silences the overflow of agitation.
I make my way to the first floor having seen the series of slides in the dark room and having been immersed in the games of strokes and light played at the artist’s hand as if it were a musical instrument. Unexpectedly, the series does not develop as it begins. I can feel the tonality deepen, now predominant on the musical lines. Opacity reigns on the landscapes which now seem never ending, as if Arruda had cut out a piece of his inner world and presented it in the form of a rectangular window. The smudged edges attest to this action. The strokes are no longer visible. The brighter light has been dimmed by mist and fog. The landscapes have become darker, covering the previous clarity, making it harder to discern any emotions of hope.
As I approach one of the last paintings entitled Sem título da série Deserto-Modelo, despite the thickness and the opacity of the paint, I am able to find the right amount of light I need to see through the layers. As if I were trapped in a coat of snow, enveloped in the muted melody of silence, in between light and paint, I stand still, at peace with myself.
Lucas Arruda at David Zwirner (2 September – 23 September 2017)