“When we see a line on a canvas or on a paper, we read it, that is, we follow it with the eyes, even unconsciously, as we would do with the dancer. Go through it this way, throughout a mental possession, means to live it in imagination.” – René Huyghe

The excerpt with which i have chosen to begin this letter aggregation reveals the performative quality that can be present on a drawing. And this characteristic is paradigmatic of Teresa Gonçalves’ work. It is that way that i have always seen it. As if at home her work I could visualize her hand in patient and continuous gestures. At times slow, at times fast. If in many of Teresa’s drawings we find sinuous ways of an extraordinary subtleness, sometimes the author inflicts to the paper more loaded furrows, that doesn’t hurt it, but make of it testimony of a human physical energy. They are like little confessions of the spirit, mediated by the body’s interpretation and deposited on the paper’s surface. They constitute what we can see and what the artist let us have access to. In privacy, we follow the lines with the eyes; we think of them with our body and feel the energy that emanates from them. Maybe it is an ethereal speech, this one I address to you, but the truth is that any diligent attempt of conceptualization destroys any trace/ verse of this visual poetry.

. “The truly original artist does not see, really” said the painter Willi Baumeister in 1947. “As he invests in the unknown with each work he can’t predict what he will find”. It is necessary to the artist to be able to assume passivity before her own drawing, put the body to think and with that to produce work or thought.

It is not uncommon that Teresa Gonçalves Lobo exhibits her drawings in a space that was once before dedicated to spiritual and religious purposes. Her drawings are in themselves little moments of personal and intimate reflection. They summon moments of introspection that departure from the author’s gestures and movements to project themselves in the observer.  The process is made in silence and retirement before the artwork. This is not about great visual effects or elaborated theoretic or conceptual lucubrations.  Those not capable of only feeling do not get to the essence of their work. As in faith, maybe. As Immanuel Kant said, “The different sensations of satisfaction or displeasure obey less to the condition of things than rouse them, to the particular sensibility of each man to be impressed by them with pleasure or displeasure.”

Although this Ermida no longer has its functions of religious cult, its own architectural structure convokes immediately the memory to that past. This way, the intrinsically introspective character of Teresa Gonçalves Lobo’s drawings is covered of greater importance, being supported by its surroundings. However, and even if assuming a certain contradiction, in this drawings – the biggest produced by Teresa until now – it can be felt a sort of energy that goes beyond any defined outline. That is uncontrolled life exploding from them. Besides an initial moment of restraint, there is after the spurt of movements. As if Teresa, once again, wanted to give us one of her interior moments, but in the end would give up her interiority to share with no reserves an almost always suppressed happiness. This way, of a precise quietness, Teresa proceeds to the vigor of the fast and spontaneous trace. What is kept is always a corporal truth, without the instinct’s chain. It is a personal vocabulary, of letters capable of shaping mental words that we know to pronounce in silence, even if we don’t know yet their meaning. It is as a secret never said but in itself already revealed.

Each work of Teresa Gonçalves Lobo is a presence in silence. Her work doesn’t impose itself to the observer, instead invite him to look on active way participating in the sense the produce in the space – being that space the one of the paper or even the surrounding one. And that always will be a sacred moment, even if it only lasts a second.

1 Ba.umeister, Willi, The Unknown in Art in Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1996

2 Kant, Immanuel, Observações Sobre o Sentimento do Belo e do Sublime, Ediçoes 70, Lisboa, 2012

November 2013

in Para além de…  exhibition catalogue, Projecto Travessa da Ermida, Lisbon, Portugal, 2013