Born in São Paulo in 1983, Lucas Arrudo still lives today in the Brazilian capital. From September 2017 to June 2018, he will be the third artist participating in the Pinault Collection's residency program, after Melissa Dubbin & Aaron S. Davidson and Edith Dekyndt.
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<b>Ellen Mara De Wachter</b><br>
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Art critic and curator
<span class="alinea"></span>Brazilian painter Lucas Arruda’s landscapes, painted in an Impressionist style, have few distinguishing features, privileging instead the intangible connection between elements such as land and sky, or sky and sea, in a celebration of the various qualities of light. Despite their ostensible realism, Arruda’s paintings frequently err into the territory of abstraction, provoking a detachment from the material world that can catalyze existential and emotional in the viewer.
<span class="alinea"></span>The results are views that invite a sense of immediacy, and ask us to focus our attention onto a small surface. As he builds up and scrapes off layer upon layer of oil paint, the residue of this process gathers around the edges of the canvas, like the foam that bubbles on the sand in the wake of a wave. The intimate scale of the paintings requires viewers physically to lean in, called towards the picture so as to appreciate these painterly textures and visual effects. The artist explains the aura of his works: “Painting for me is like having a candle in the dark that allows you to see only what is close to you.”
<span class="alinea"></span>Arruda’s works are installed on their own on large expanses of walls or sometimes hung in clusters, in a series of exhibitions that repurpose single title: “Deserto-Modelo” (Desert-Model). The phrase makes reference to a line by the Brazilian poet João Cabral de Melo Neto: “We chose to build an enormous model.” The multiple meanings of “modelo” in the Portuguese title include “pattern”, “system”, and “an idealistic desert.” It is a term that captures the ambiguity and the potential of Arruda’s canvases to suggest infinity, evoking a sense of the sublime. If the square framing of his scenes, with their unfailingly level horizon, provides a pleasing and reassuring impression, the work’s subject—the sea—is associated with immensity and loss. In Arruda’s seascapes, the occasional identifying characteristic of time and place—a cloud on the horizon, a rock in the foreground—is usually archetypal and inconclusive, while the sea seems to be both the same and utterly different each time he paints it.
<div class="notes">The text above has been published in Vitamin P3: New Perspectives in Painting, Phaidon Press: 2016.</div>