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“Life is like that: it heats up and cools down, tightens and then loosens, settles down and arouses. What life wants from us is courage." As if guided by the wisdom of Guimarães Rosa, Renata Egreja accumulates the moods of life on her large-format canvases, recording day by day the fury, then the gentleness, the wide movement, then the desire to erase everything. When quiet, she paints with gratitude for life; when restless, she paints with the fury of someone who knows the inevitable finitude of life. It goes like this, shuffling life, courage towards life and painting.


The gesture that was once restrained, to the point of tracing the outline of a flower, the next day is uncontrolled, splashing liquid paint all over the canvas. Each painting is made up of several layers of these moods. One overlaps the other, or rather, rests on top of the other, without hiding it. They coexist as we do with the passing days, some of tranquility, others of despair. And it follows. This record of psychic states intersects a diary of travels and cultures that the artist has experienced in the past years, mixing very Brazilian carnival colors with Indian iconography.


How many verbs are marked on these screens? Spreading, pouring, lifting, scraping, contouring, splashing, hitting, smudging, mixing, throwing, applying, pasting, tracing, filling. To end these cataclysms of vital energy, the artist closes the canvas with a key, which is always a linear pattern traced in the uppermost layer: lines that make the shutter painting (and who dares to open this shutter and look at the misshapen mass of life?), a flower that crosses the canvas from top to bottom, gently containing the days gone by, which still pulse in the composition, little flags that separate the chaotic party from the real world, drawn in movements that mimic the cursive writing. Still in parallel with writing, if these canvases were texts, they would be colloquial prose, in which the delight is in the wrong spelling and in the shaky grammar, which forms a space for spontaneous expressiveness. And, starting in the years in which the Brazilian artist studied at the École de Beaux-Arts in Paris, these vernacular paintings lie between Guimarães Rosa and Raymond Queneau, without hiding the accents, the noises, the lack of finishing, in authentically convoluted phrases.


“There's nothing more beautiful than dying at a party. For me, the painting represents this drama, of dying at a party”, says the artist. Paint to continue, to make vital energy flow from the body. Raising every day. When it dries up and the party is over, it was lived well; then it is to pass the key and go to the next one. Canvas? Life? All wrapped up. If the painting is over, start over with a new painting. "


To Zipper Galeria,

Paula Braga, 2010

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