A 6th century Chinese technique spread in medieval Europe and became an important book printing tool. But what kind of art is this so traditional that it has become an ally of the northeastern cordel? And how does it emerge in the context of Brazilian modernism and assert itself in contemporary art? It is woodcut, the art of producing engravings from a wooden matrix. Technique is the theme of the program Reporting Pathswhich airs this Sunday (21), shown on TV Brazil.
partner of TV BrazilTV Pernambuco went to the city of Bezerros, 100 kilometers from Recife, to show the studio of plastic artist J. Borges (featured image), one of the greatest masters of woodcuts and a living heritage in Pernambuco.
In a good mood, J. Borges says that, since he met the writer Ariano Suassuna, in the 70s, and had his work recognized by the writer, the studio began to receive visitors from all over. “In a good way, I didn’t have peace of mind anymore”, jokes J. Borges.
In the neighborhood of Lapa, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, we went to see the studio that another woodcut master has maintained for almost 50 years. Among the outstanding works by Ciro Fernandes, from Paraíba, are the illustrations of books by great Brazilian writers, such as Rachel de Queiroz and Gilberto Freyre.
Like J. Borges, Ciro Fernandes also began his artistic career as a string illustrator. In his case, at Feira de São Cristóvão, a traditional stronghold of the northeastern community in Rio de Janeiro.
Maria Bonomi in her studio – TV Brazil
One of the biggest names in the plastic arts in Brazil, Maria Bonomi is internationally recognized, since the beginning of her career, for her woodcut works. She was apprenticed to one of the pioneers of modern Brazilian printmaking, Lívio Abramo (1903-1992).
Still in the 1960s, Maria revolutionized the world of art by producing large-scale prints, even the so-called public art. Her last work was the sensitive tribute Requiem for the Fallen from Covid-19installed last year at the Latin America Memorial, in São Paulo.
“The idea that guides me is that every space can be a great matrix. Whether urban space or non-urban space”, says Bonomi, who seeks to awaken the experience of art “as a moment to save the human side of being, the sensitivity, the emotion of being”.
On display at Paço Imperial, in Rio de Janeiro, with the exhibition North Bank, the artist from Pará Diô Viana seeks to capture the movement of the waters of the rivers of the Amazon. Part of the works mixes the technique of woodcut with that of painting.
Visual artist Derlon works today in São Paulo – TV Brazil
In São Paulo, the visual artist from Pernambuco Derlon uses the inspiration of cordel in street works, such as the mermaid mural he made for the Copan building, in the center of the city. Derlon also has works spread in European countries, such as Portugal, France and Holland.
Of a “mutant” nature, the woodcut prints the imagination of northeastern minstrels and, at the same time, records modern and humanist thoughts. “A powerful artistic language, capturing energy”, evaluates Maria Bonomi.
The program airs today at 10 pm on TV Brazil. Click here and learn how to tune in to the station.
Reporting and production: Aline Beckstein
Text editing: Ana Passos
Image editing: Eric Gusmão
Images: Eduardo Viné Boldt, Gabriel Penchel, João Marcos Barboza, Luis Araujo, Ronaldo Parra, William Sales
Technical assistance: Caio Araújo, Carlos Junior, Eduardo Domingues, Maurício Aurélio Marcelo
Drone: Eduardo Viné Boldt
Support for images: Aline Beckstein, Rodolpho Rodrigues
Partnership with TV Pernambuco (recording in Bezerros – PE)
Reporting: Tallita Marques
Images: Pedro Guimaraes
Audio Operator: Paulo Braytner
Journalism Director: Camerino Neto