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Solo Show - Incheon Art Platform, Incheon, South Korea

by Lee Jinmyung, November 2011

Fernanda Chieco, one of the most promising artists in Brazil, majored in fine art at the University of Sao Paulo and then increased depth of her study at Goldsmiths’ College in London.


The artist draws delicate scenes of fantasy on a piece of paper with a pencil. The fantasy of Fernanda Chieco is not something simply aesthetic achieved through randomly arranging unreal images, but fantasy of Istoria that conveys clear narratives by defamiliarizing our daily life using simple devices. Defamiliarization, one of the most fundamental strategies of the artist, is a rhetorically intended device that the artist chose to contemplate the ontology of everyday life. Everyday life is an ordinary flow of time in this world or, according to Gaston Bachelard, the world of horizontal time. It is a world that lacks the process underlying contemplation. It is a world

that runs habitually, a world that forgets easily. In contrast, there is a world of poetic time that is enhanced by strong determination to contemplate and tight tension. It is vertical time. It is artistic time. At this point, it is inevitable to ask where the enhanced consciousness in the artist’s poetic time originated from. It might well be interpreted as coming from the determination to recover the imagery represented by mouths and anuses of men and women from the reality. In Fernanda ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ Chieco’s works, humans, even though they are the subject and the central theme, are drawn in black and white. They seem to be in need of something. In contrast, objects are entitled to a wide range colors. Endless deficiency reproduces endless desires that drive us to explore the world of dreams that we have cherished from the very beginning of the universe and thereby urge us to restore the imagery.


Fernanda Chieco’s works strongly deny logocentrism or a way of thinking that places the subject with rationality over the object. Look at the sluggish narcissism of the ghost-like human beings in black and white. They are demoted to inactive beings, the dead. It seems that all the things that the artist prefers and is willing to depict such as the liveliness of plants and animals; the social implication of traffic lights; the artificial energy of streetlights; and the sociology of communication symbolized by a telephone booth give blood to human beings as though their value takes precedence over human beings. Another inevitable question is about the artist’s preference to pencil drawings on paper that is the key to the aesthetic riddles exclusive to Fernanda Chieco. Pencils and paper have qualities representing the exact opposite of magnificence. In the contemporary art, magnificence is a fundamental element even considered to be a virtue.


Since 1980s when the transition to post capitalism began, entertainment became a pivotal part in the cultural policy in western countries. It is obvious that 3S that stand for speed, sexuality and spectacles were useful to boost consumption stimulated more by prompt reaction than by sustained thinking. Soon thoughtless indulgence in pleasure of senses became prevailing over retrospective thinking. In art, spectacles and visibility became more important than the socio-humanitarian role and the philosophical nature of art. Precisely opposed to this consumption-stimulating magnificence are pencil drawings on paper. In contrast to policy of spectacles, pencil drawings give priority to the aesthetics of dexterity which is also a metaphor for something done indoors or within a family, a metaphor for mother, the earth and education rather than for policy of masculinity, hunting, massacres done outside.


Fernanda Chieco seems to have contemplated bitter truth of aesthetics. Oil paintings have formed thick layers of strong discourses throughout history. Each historical period has imposed its own norm based on appropriate consensus. The history of these tacitly agreed norms imposed as universal standard of beauty is the truth of aesthetics. The history of pencil drawings is not as long as oil paintings’ and therefore the former are relatively free from norms and standards. The Brazilian artist uses a medium that is not bound by ideology and history and thereby pursues her own world of dream.


It is a world of wholeness as it was before present deficiency that the artist wants to restore. She also hopes to recover the enhanced consciousness in her own poetic time. Fernanda Chieco’s poetic time is not time for struggle to clash with external world, but time for co-existence and shared prosperity with others. She does not seek freedom blindly, but persistently pursues

an unprecedented value, making gestures of patience, temperance and moderation. There is no school, no region, not even a church in her drawings. The only thing that exists is visual experiments involving fraternity. 

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