Nada é de verdade mas tudo é real
Nada é de verdade mas tudo é real
Nothing is true but everything is real
by Francisco Salas
It was at the beginning of the Brazilian autumn last April in S.o Paulo when I saw for the first time the book-diaries by Dudu Santos. Jaqueline showed me some of the treasures she was just carrying with her, and after my insistence she lent me some of the books to read. I suddenly felt trapped by what I had in my hands. One of the books caught my eye with this sentence on the cover “Pensamentos inúteis” (Useless thoughts)...so I started reading his writings and notes and I found myself absorbed by what I saw, by what I perceived and by what I felt there. Dudu's personality and charisma came out and started talking to me through the words he wrote, through the colors he chose, through the drawings he passionately designed... I plunged into this reading full of mesmerizing images which made me initiate what I now recall as an emotional trip towards Dudu ́s work...Nada é de verdade mas tudo é real (Nothing is true but everything is real), Difícil escrever
branco con tinta preta (Difficult to write in white with black ink), A intuição é a memória da verdade (Intuition is the memory of the truth)...these were some of the sentences that guided me through the pages one aDer another, opening up for me an undisguised artist's universe which blossomed before my very eyes.
After a career of more than 50 years Dudu Santos (São Paulo, 1943) remains faithful to his ideas in a realm which is in constant change and evolution and still he is a solitary figure which stands out in a position of deep resistance and auto criticism. A life carried out in a solitude which now seems precious and necessary in order to be able to reflect and to advance profoundly in the configuration of every personal artistic identity.
Hidden from a world which seems to neglect or disregard personal voices, Dudu has persisted in his principles, building an extensive lifework which is more complex than the expressionist-like painting and the performative actions he is known for. His personal drift against the current has shaped his personality as a sort of intellectual outsider full of contradictions which characterize his strong and personal position as an artist.
With an honest approach to the art prac;ce infused with genuine knowledge, the ar;st built a character in permanent
collision with the present in a world where quick facts, and perhaps some ideas, travel without stopping more than
one minute in our head aDer hiWng our brains. ForgeYable materials which circulate in a never-ending trip through
different channels and whose aim is to have its second of importance to be then just thrown away un;l the next new
An ephemeral phenomena which avoids experience and memory therefore in disagreement with Dudu's approach and understanding of the world. Knowing well as he knows human nature he doesn't have much hope on this, as an expert
on the matter the artist doesn't expect anything from the world nor from the viewer, on the contrary he is willing to expose himself but also seeks to confront the beholder with forgotten ideas and situations which might help them to realize what and where we are.
Words, books, painting, canvases, are Dudu's true companions while spending his days in the solitude of the atelier, working and re-working around the same ideas and concepts in a endless process which reveals the magnitude of his lifelong explora;on. Here Dudu has developed a resolute body of work through which he revises all his achievements over the past years, consequently showing the non conformist he is, the artist doesn't allow himself to reach a point in which he might be satisfied with his findings and works.
Dudu is not an easy position and doesn't allow himself nor the others to be reduced to predictable clichés just because he has chosen painting as a medium to transmit his ideas. Words and writing have also becoming increasingly important in his everyday work and I consider them the key to grasping the complexity of his work in all its dissensions.
In these texts the artist reveals his deepest thoughts and ideas, on the paper it is reflected quite accurately how he feels and thinks of the world he inhabits, what is and what is not relevant for him, in a way he reveals and shows its intimacy courageously. The sheer beauty of his thoughts is fed with philosophy, poetry and also with his political and social concerns which mixed with playful drawings and collages create a sort of unorthodox artists books which emerge as powerful statements. Once we get inside this compelling material the particular universe of the artist unveils allowing us to fully understand his vibrant and incisive legacy.
For the first time in this his second solo show at Galeria Jaqueline Martins, there will be on view a selection of these books made by the artist over the past years and most importantly we will have the occasion to see them in relation to other significant pieces from diverse periods of his production, thus permitting the viewer to appreciate the enigmatic and intricate nature of Dudu's multiple faceted work.