Glória Ferreira

Shadows and transparencies are the allusions of Longe dos olhos (Far from the Eyes), Jimson Vilela's current solo exhibition at the Simone Cadinelli Contemporary Art Gallery in Rio de Janeiro.

If the shadow has its history linked to the Origin of Painting, with Pliny's famous account in Natural History: Dibutade, by Sicyone the daughter of the modeller in clay made the outline on the wall with the help of a candle, the shadow of the profile of her lover who was going to leave.

Transparency, as opposed to translucency, which allows light to pass, but distorts images, preserves transmitted images and shapes, a feature used by many painters. Among the painters admired by Jimson, we can mention Matisse, Gerhard Richter and the American painters Christopher Wool and Kerry James Marshall.

The transparencies presented by the artist are composed of three tables, Sem título (Série Longe dos olhos)/Untitled (Series Far from the Eyes) 90x40x80 cm, all related to other.  The first table has a mirror over its top reflected by another mirror on the floor and a strip of paper leaking from the book on the table. The idea is of a page that extends itself into infinity.

On the second table, made of iron and acrylic, there is a book is on the top and another on a lower shelf. From the edge of the first shelve comes a sheet of paper that joins the second book placed on the lower shelf. The top of the third table has a frosted top and on a shelf just below is a book whose pages crisscross, with a single cover, such an object.

Books are the basis of Jimson's work being presented in different ways. Language is name, says Derrida, and names have a life of their own:

“Then there is the power of language, at the same time a dynamis, an enveloped virtuality, a potentiality that may or may not turn into an action; it is hidden, buried, sleepy. This potentiality is also a power, a self-efficacy that acts on its own, almost autonomously, without the initiative and beyond the control of the speaking subjects.”1

In Jimson's works, silence prevails, there are no readers but observers, nor the linearity that reading provides, nor can books be handled. They project “their contents as pure externality” says Liliane Benetti.2

A set of collages from the series Unidade tripartida / Tripartite Unit is part of the exhibition. They are made with fine cutouts from Lorem Ipsum, Latin text used for book layout tests and graphic designs. They are letters, which rarely turn into syllables or names, contorting, twisting and juxtaposing in uneven and closed forms. It is a kind of destruction of the power of language, making it “without the initiative and beyond the control of the speaking subjects”, retaking Derrida.

On the second floor of the Gallery a large installation, Sem título (tragédia civil)/Untitled (civil tragedy), refers to Samuel Beckett, in particular to his book Le dépeupleur, written in French in 1970 and translated into English  as `` The lost ones``. A row of 80 books, on newsprint, thrown on the floor with their covers on top of each other, alluding to the 200 people in Beckett's cylinder: some glued to the wall, some walking on the outskirts and some in the center trying to climb. in the niches at the top of the walls. As a “mathematician and poet”, using the words of Edith Fournier3, the author, like a composer proposes to us a completely closed cylinder, full of captive beings, with strict laws, giving rise to a multiplicity of readings. Jimson also uses geometric elements in book formats, starting at 20x30 cm, 20x35 cm, etc., to the largest of 40x20 cm. A strong yellow light bulb further reiterates The lost ones but also refers to the Guernica lamp. The rest of the room is dim, far from the eyes.

In a way there is a kind of desecration when the artist uses blank books, not a sign of writing, but as sculptural objects. Since the codex of antiquity, or even earlier, writing has found many different supports. To release the book from its foundation, which is to convey fiction, information and knowledge, is to take a step in aesthetic fiction itself.



1 Jacques Derrida. Les Yeux de la langue.. .L’abîme et le volcan. Paris: Galilée, 2012.

2 Liliane Benetti. Lê-se nas paredes o peso dos corpos, 2013. In:

3 Edith Fournier. Samuel Beckett Mathématicien et poète. In: Critique, n.519-520, ago/set, 1990.


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