HAKANAI

17 March 2022

Be present, bequeath the presents.

 

"The curve is important, but the straight is also important, sometimes more important than the curve.

Without the straight line, the curve doesn't appear, you don't see the curve. The straight line makes the curve appear. It is the straight line that makes you see the curve."

Oscar Niemeyer

 

 

 

 This exhibition is based on the meeting of two convergent and complementary poetics. Both Francisco Baccaro and Daniel Mattar have Japanese culture as an important visual and conceptual reference. The first was influenced by his father, the legendary marchand Giuseppe Baccaro, who introduced him to Japanese books and art, and the latter, by the years spent in Tokyo in the 1990s. For this reason, not by chance, they have chosen the word hakanai (the instant, the ephemerality) to name this dialogue. In both series presented in this exhibition the present geometry is achieved by the temporal exactness of the click, an instant that is not simulated or retouched, and in the precision of the gesture.  Another aspect of agreement between their poetics and important to highlight is the relationship they establish with painting.

 

The straight lines that appear in the architecture of Francisco Baccaro's photographs are the result of waiting for the ideal moment of the day for the shadow or sunlight to delimit the intended forms and highlight the vibrant colors of walls, floors, and walls of buildings. In this operation, textures, opacity and brightness of surfaces are activated and contrasted. The result of the photos abstracts the location where they were made, the outskirts of Lisbon. There is, therefore, a double questioning: the nature of the image (a graphic solution or photography without retouching?) and the breakdown of imagetic expectation of the Portuguese capital (built heritage that is not on the postcard). This desire for abstraction is supported by minimalist art and its interplay between painting and photography.

 

The ephemerality in Daniel Mattar's photographs resides in the precise gesture of his hand with wooden sticks soaked in paint, which also connects him to the universe of painting. As in Japanese calligraphic writing, the movement has to be quick and precise. The artist has little time to activate the camera and capture the desired volumetry of the paint drops before they dry. The drops have a curved, curved body and an organic appearance and contrast with the colorful background. Again our eye is deceived by the finish of the image and we believe it to be a digitally invented image, even though when we look at the photographs in person. We visually feel the texture of the paper, of the drops, but we don't believe that it is possible that such perfection could have been obtained by a material, analog method. The insistence on labor, studio work, and monitoring the print is a counterpoint to the voracity of digital images.

 

As we walk through Hanakai we have a fruitful chromatic and formal dialogue. The slight difference in the color palette and the use of straight and curves makes us think of a relationship of yin and yang, polarities that interpose and highlight each other. These same polarities are found within each series and outside as an ensemble. This dialogue of scholarly and timeless photographers is a great invitation to enchant and challenge our impaired gaze in a still pandemic world.

 

Cristiana Tejo

Lisbon, March 2022.