Clécio Penedo's work is as current as it was in the 70's, when he was created.
Photos of Kithi - works exhibited at the National Museum of Fine Arts - Rio de Janeiro
July 11, 2020
"For Clécio Penedo, the task of thinking about Brazil, its history, is no longer restricted to political scientists, teachers, sociologists or anthropologists. It also extends to artists, who with their creative imagination, help to broaden our nation consciousness. "
(Frederico Morais, fragment of the 1995 text, "Seeking the Pure Design", for an exhibition by Clécio of the Chibata series, at the National Museum of Fine Arts, Rio de Janeiro)
In the month of the caboclos, Assum Preto went to Rio de Janeiro to pick up the painter, engraver and draftsman from Minas Gerais, Clécio Penedo. We had the opportunity to see his works exhibited at the National Museum of Fine Arts, where the artist was also a student.
And it all started with the caboclo Urubatã, the same one who inspired Pixiguinha to make the choro that bears his name as a title, one of his oldest compositions, recorded for the first time by the Orquestra Victor Brasileira in 1929 and recognized by musicologist Mário de Andrade, who classified the music as “admirable”, emphasizing the “richness and beauty of instrumental combinations”.
Click on the record player, listen to the song Urubatã and learn more about its history on the Instituto Moreira Salles website
It was a Sunday in the 70s when Clécio slept after lunch and dreamed of him saying: “stop everything you are doing and you will defend my people, my name is Urubatã.
Clécio jumped out of his chair, still half asleep and said: “give me a pencil, give me a pencil”. We gave him the pencil and he made Urubatã's face. Then he spent 18 years producing this series “És Tupi do Brasil”, says Atonieta Penedo, the artist's widow, for TV Brasil.
His art is as subtle and powerful as the marketing developed to attract the indigenous people, which for the artist represents the Brazilian people.
Consumerism starts to dictate the rules and principles for human life, interfering in the natural behavior of the population. The work "India Breastfeeding" from the "One Dollor" series represents this movement explicitly. The mother's milk is gradually being replaced by coca-cola.
But the artist, so lucid, included art itself as part of the system.
"A myth is a myth. Be it a bottle of Coca-Cola or Marilyn Monroe, D. Pedro I or Mickey Mouse. All are consumer products, including the artwork that criticizes the behavior of the consumer society and all its mythology . " (Clécio Penedo)
One of its bases of analysis and creative motivation came from the facts exposed in the media. Even the visual identity of some products, such as Time Magazine, were used to compose "imagistic satires", a criticism of the Americanization of Brazil.
Series One Dollor
Clécio is a testament to his historical time. His work, rich in details, provides the public with incentives to reflect on the events that have taken place in the country.
Aware of the process of acculturation visible in Brazil from the last century that extends to the present day, Clécio mixed his drawing with clippings from newspapers and magazines, bringing to his work elements that represent the de-construction of national culture.
Influenced by Darcy Ribeiro, he observed the transfiguration of peoples and pointed with lines, lines, humor and sagacity the substitution of values within society.
Irony is true when you have the subtlety of a cat,
the color of a chameleon and the aggressiveness of a mosquito. (Clécio Penedo)
The subtlety together with the irony and the strength expressed in his creations brings the essence of Oswald de Andrade's Anthropophagic Manifesto that proposed the "Cultural devouring of imported techniques to rework them with autonomy, converting them into export products".
In the series "Eat each other" Clécio interferes in the works of Picasso, Miró, Toulouse-Lautrec and other renowned artists of European painting, proposing a horizontality of importance among peoples.
Seré Eat each other