In 2010, I came to create an ultimate canvas for the fiftieth anniversary of the city («L’Homme de Brasilia / The Man from Brasilia» - 2010), in the context of the exhibition of my work «Brasilia. De Carne e Alma», that was presented then at the Rubem Valentim Gallery, one of the major galleries of the Renato Russo 08 Sul Cultural Center, down in Brasilia.
This work was willingly charged with a sense of farewell to the city that had inspired me so much, in tribute to the wonderful Philippe de Broca’s movie, «L’Homme de Rio» ("Man From Rio").

That is a film which greatly influenced me. That movie was key, regarding the fascination that the city had aroused in me for so long.

De Broca’s vision of Brasilia is a unique legacy, which I think to be highly poetic (even if the hectic pace of the film, the twists and surprises, the humor, good spirit and high voltage energy displayed by the character of Adrien -impersonated here by Jean-Paul Belmondo-, always seem to take precedence over the dreamy distance that the stunning images of the city favor.
A city which, when the film was shot, had only two or three years of age and was still an open site. This vision, consequently, inspired me this last painting, where Adrien-Belmondo, as he did in the movie, runs and runs and runs again and again through the draft town, this dusty disembodied blueprint of Brasilia, which then standed on the red soil of the Cerrado like an empty shell.

 

II wanted to show a man running as if he was leaving the city, expressing thus the terms of my work on the capital of Brazil.

I realized then, while painting, that finally it was much unclear whether that man was running out of town, or if he was heading to it.

And I saw in this ambiguity the one last message from Brasilia, which would borrow for the occasion the closing words of «Paprika Plains», the extraordinary jazz-rock symphony by Joni Mitchell, where the musician who made me become an artist referred to the North American Mesas of red dust, to the Indians driven by despair and by the White Man’ greed out of their lands (as Niemeyer spoke at the time about the red dust of the Cerrado and the despair of the Candangos expelled from newly inaugurated Brasilia after they finished building it), a masterpiece of music that never ceased to accompany me in my perception of the Cerrado and of the white flower of concrete that steadily grew on it during the last fifty years: «No matter what you do, I’m floating back, I’m floating back to you».

I realized then why I had made that painting, and that I had come full circle.

And also that, even now leaving Brasilia for new horizons, I would always come back there in my dreams -forever.

 

 

L'Homme de Brasilia
Vinylics on canvas
113 cm x 200 cm
2010
BRASILIA JUBILEE
PAPRIKA PLAINS