iole de freitas
jun 16 - aug 13_2011
You enter and they are right there, planted. Large pieces are built primarily of tubes and plates that are planes and lines, curves and spikes, holes and gaps. But they’re not quite there either; quiet there. That is to say, despite dominating the room with their bearing, at the same time they refuse to occupy “their” place in it. Each of these works articulates a few formally differentiated parts. Parts that, even with the precise design, support each other more than they are properly arranged, without hiding the tensions circulating in their skeleton – which is all they have in their body. So that, innervated by the distribution of forces between their parts forced to live together, they project directions more against than in space, describing or insinuating volumes. You sharpen your eyes, straighten up, circulate in the environment and try to encompass the whole or just one of them. He tries and never gets it right because at any deviation of gaze, let alone a few steps, they are remade, sometimes radically, between light modulations in the brightness, transparency, or relative opacity of the materials. Reflections and refractions are mirrorings and juxtapositions and compressions and expansions, complicating individualization and including the surroundings.
A family of works by Iole de Freitas, made in close connection with the architecture of the places where they were programmed – at Centro Maria Antonia, in São Paulo (2002), at Bienal do Mercosul, in Porto Alegre (2005), or at Documenta, in Kassel (2007), among many others, over the past decade – Lorenzo Mammì wrote with propriety that, unlike us who just walk, they, in fluent trajectories, even crossing walls, swam or flew through space. Now they don’t seem to do either. Some parts even float. However, in general, its mode of irradiation in space is broken, and its invitation to movement is diverse . They are clearly inscribed in a lineage that unfolds the findings of Picasso’s first reliefs, later passing through solder sculpture. But its functioning has more parallels with the truth of the game forces of current works such as that of Richard Serra . In their own sphere, far from detaching themselves from architecture, these new works test “how far they want to need the walls”, as Iole says, stressing what “they want”. Much more than a casual force of expression, this “how far” has long been a kind of work principle, which insists, each time, on putting the calculation on materials and procedures to the test. Hence, the use of a series of paper mockups, material tests, or full-scale prototypes does not prevent a complete reversal of the predicted shape of a polycarbonate plate (“it made a conclusive curve to the ground, instead of upwards”). , which took place during the completion of one of the works now on display – which, when ready, suggest very precise planning – is fully absorbed in the breadth of what Iole calls “work reasoning”. Here the notion of body-to-body, as a formalization regime, is taken to the depths. And anyone who has seen the heavy manipulation demands faced by the artist’s team in the studies and assembly of these works understands the expression even more literally.
Another significant change, between the last tests in the studio and the construction in the gallery, resulted in a 90º turn in the position of two translucent green plates that hug each other suspended, in another piece. Its new configuration recalls the design of Emperor Constantine’s helmet, in Piero Della Francesca’s fresco in Arezzo, Constantine’s Victory over Maxentius . The painting belongs to the Lenda da Cruz ensemble, which also includes another battle scene, the Defeat of Kosroés, in which I was keen to find, disregarding the anachronism, somewhat more extensive analogies with these new works by Iole. There is also, among men, horses, swords, spears, poles, and standards, a green helmet with a domed top, visible at mid-height on the less congested side of the scene, with the hue of one of the “colors of the world dyed for the first time”. . Assuming the comparison, those two polycarbonate sheets participate equally in this chromatic quality, mainly due to the contrast with the general grayish or simply transparent of the rest of the materials. Which makes them an instant of frank conciliation amidst the tense agreement of everything else that surrounds and crosses them. And if going forward in an exercise of abstraction, we focused on the Defeat only the poles, spears, gladiuses, arrows and, still, a second group with the foreshortened shields, waving standards, and even the concave cover and the wall behind a throne, we would schematically find a kinship between the complex fit of lines and surfaces in perspective in battle painting and something of the construction of Iole’s current sculptures. In evidently very different ways, both know how to arrive at the “clarity of the multiple” . Only – and now returning to the full scene
– instead of Piero’s rigorous marquetry of shapes, where everything is accommodated, finding its place without emphasis (the bloodiest beheading and the hovering cloud), it is as if Iole’s works, no less concentrated, never want to settle for what we normally interpret as balance and boundaries.
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 The piece that is separated, in the external area of the gallery, is closer to the aforementioned family. A lodge close to the back wall, activates, however, a movement that circulates first in itself and seems to unfold between the walls of the patio.
 Richard Serra: “The history of weld sculpture in this century has had little influence on my work. (…) For the most part, soldering was a way of gluing and adjusting parts that would not otherwise hold together. Much of the balance found in Pablo Picasso’s sculptures are gestural and false. Your internal structures have nothing to do with your need to stand. The same applies to the sculptures of Julio González and David Smith. The work with steel – not as a pictorial element, but as a structural material in terms of mass, weight, counterweight, load-bearing capacity, point load, compression, friction, and static – was totally dissociated from the history of sculpture. However, it had direct application in the history of architecture, technology, and industrial construction”.
 This initial association with the “Hat of Constantine” is by the same Lorenzo Mammì.
 Roberto Longhi on Piero’s colors.
 Longhi on Defeat of Kosroes: “starting from the clarity of the sample that was in the Victory of Constantine, Piero here achieves the clarity of the multiple”.