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The cloudspace in Lucia Tallova
“Beauty in art surpasses that of nature, for it is born and reborn of the spirit (Geist)”, says Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) in his Aesthetics. Beauty herein, therefore, is never enslaved by mimesis but is rather confirmed as pictorial poiesis. The site of its apparition is no other than the very surface of the canvas. Therein resides the origin of a world: that of painting.
It is the cloud as a pictorial sign the illuminating as well as the leading conceptual figure featured in one of the most definitive texts in the Theory of Art. In Théorie du Nuage (1972), Hubert Damisch (1928-2017) investigates the figuration of the cloud in these celestial swirls on which the Virgin, the saints and the angels are enthroned.
The cloud, which is the privileged objet of a vaporous condensation, floats between the solidity – there are ice particles in clouds- the liquid and its gaseous appearance and apparition. There is instability, indecibility – in Jacques Derrida’s terms in the cloud as seen herein. The cloud, in these heavens which invade and colonize the domes of the churches, marks the frontier of a transgression, a trespass, which is indicative of the ecstatic jouissance which commands the mannerisms anticipating the Baroque in this true theatrical apotheosis, as established by Damisch, of a Correggio (1489-1534).
These clouds appear to engulf, to swallow in tumultuous and inescapable spirals those who contemplate these reverse vertigos. The body of the beholder seems to ascend to these painterly celestial realms.
Ink and gesture concur to make us see these landscapes of whiteness which rise from obscurity from this backdrop of dark and menacingly foggy depths. It is a whirlwind. Spirals, swirls, contortion. We are before a scene of baroque and romantic contours: the very form of memory as symptom. From this dark and black background there surge these gaseous condensations in the shape of masses of white tint which spread assuming the form of blurred clouds. Intense clouds, dense clouds. Clouds drenched in pigment. Painted clouds. Clouds whose beauty stems precisely from their fabricated, fabulated pictorialness. Clouds whose cloudiness emerge from Tallova’s brush strokes.
The cloud and the skies by Lucia Tallova are recurrent signs in her oeuvre and it is in these insignia that one must read the secret of her poetics which owes its singularity to a particular rendering of the most markedly structural motifs of Romanticism in its historical attire in England in its concern with horror and the sublime, and running parallel to it, the German romantic rendition of Sturm und Drang (Storm and Drive) in the frontier between the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries.
Tallova’s pictorialness is the tenet behind her artistic conception and it transcends the limits of the canvas to somehow haunt its unfolding in her appropriation of photographic material as well as in the omnipresent shadow of the poetical potencies of the objet trouvé which are incessantly mutating into narrative installations.
The cloud is the ocularization – neologism coined by Emmanuel Alloa- in this vaporous and tripartite form of the water in its liquid, solid and gaseous states. A reverse vertigo which strangely enough does not seem so distant from pictorial Romanticism. It is no accident thus that the clouds should embody the signification of the contemplative abysses of Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) or the dissolution in pictorial masses which equally refer to these cloudy, nebulous and misty atmospheres which appear to confirm a certain pictorial tone in William Turner’s pictorialness. Such themes – akin herein to accounts which structure the subjective inflation present in Kantian and Hegelian philosophies– and such tones- their corresponding analogies in the materiality of the works- insist in Tallova as the symptom of a Romanticism which colors her artistry and the very architecture of her works.
The cloud, as proposed by Damisch, is a sign which obeys the writing of its own pictorial syntax. It is as a sign, therefore, which is metaphor and symptom of a Romanticism which outlives its historical prison. One dives in the waters and clouds which constitute the terrain of these skies which accommodate Lucia Tallova’s pictorial scripture. All is cloudy in perpetual movement, unsteady motion through these mists which ooze incessantly without ever leaving or leaking out of the frame of the canvas, for these are clouds that one sees and they transfix one’s body vaporously.
In Tallova’s oeuvre it is this dramatic romantic intensity (pathos) which seems to endow her rendition of feminism and gender critique with the cathartic and aesthetic impact of her images, metaphors and allegories. Everything gravitates around the materiality of the works and its inseparable allegorical architecture.
Marco Antônio Vieira