The Chandelier
18 de Setembro, 2020
17 de Setembro, 2020

"Live Act"

Fundação Luis I | 2016

Through his painting, Diogo Navarro often conjures up the notion of music as text open to the interpretation of anyone looking at what he has written with his brushes and paints, or when in Mozambique, he meets up with an African Elvis strumming out scores about life and dreams on his guitar.
There is always a paraphrase in what he paints because he is able to preserve forever the essential meaning of what he is saying by painting while allowing the other, always as the other, to interpret and feel things in his own way.

Other times, it is emotion, contrast, linking up his works as gazes scattered throughout the world, and throughout his own World, where it ends up as the present and past text in the act of painting, that knows that what is painted is painting itself in the way that it slowly goes out to sea as if it were a thought, with the currents, winds and tides in constant dialogue, taking shape in a buoy that floats on the water which will change his thoughts, and that are routes which always start out from within him to return to him in a dizzying circle.

And it remains in this nostalgia for the truth, painting by intuition, looking tenderly at the first painting he did at 4 years of age and offered to his Grandfather, while today, he is creating his own geometries, upon looking askance at the canvas so that what starts out by being a horse’s head with which he may converse, may turn out to be a ballerina in a pas de deux that entrances him and carries him into ecstasy at feeling what he feels.

And it distorts the purpose of the drawing, lending it flame-shaped structures, recalling Apollo’s high priestess in Delphos, but also anthropomorphic shapes in a turbid world without definition or boundaries, as if an absence, yes, Diogo Navarro, as if you paint absence in various dimensions which are sometimes metaphorical and other times like the fleshless skeleton of the other’s eye upon you and upon what you paint. He started in Africa at 4 years old and has gone back to Africa several times as if experiencing the myth of “eternal return” where he always returns home in an indigenous buya kaya that transcends him and raises him upwards to the skies in the fullness of a kwela that he learned to say there, meaning rising, ascending.

And he waits for something to happen in the circularity he draws, absorbing the circle within, where it enters and exits and in which hearts dance and Atlas bears on his shoulders the world he insists on getting to know.

The buoy leaves home, it is thrown from a boat without a sailor where the buya kaya is made of a kwela above the rivers of his imagination, always seeking a road that has no end if not within himself and that he guards jealousy in his shyness.

It belongs to the one who paints, but it also belongs to the world because it is a free spirit, a rebel where the moral falls at the feet of what is thought to be his duty and his conscience, an example of what intelligence, creativeness and the human soul may give birth to when striving for perfection.

At the beginning, it was painting and all the greatest talents in painting that bowed down before that living, multifaceted organism composed of hands, brushes and spatulas, paints, earth and sand from the beach, always trying to get to know the areas of light and shadow, its sinuousness, where and while it is always inventing painting.

There is also a relationship between what he paints and the filmed image where the imagination ceaselessly creates reality, and the realities, where one reality hops to another with the freedom that only true explorers are able to enjoy. And the videos show him, not as a painter, but as a person who is painting a painting.

Art in Diogo Navarro is not made; it is thought and anyone who sees him, feels lost in various thoughts as if trying to understand what he was thinking about while he was painting, while everything in him is an adventure, friendship, journeys that are very often dangerous, and memory as the only salvation which leads to perceiving reality, his reality, his realities until the pain is felt and finally the identity of the person and the world around him is known by means of the buoy meandering to the most disparate points in a live act where a way of showing life is found in the long untidy hair and beard like the 16th century Portuguese, or like the men and children found in Africa, ever seeking the Motherhouse, the waters that make him return to the amniotic liquid which generated him. And it is the sea that is done and undone, that he paints and goes back to painting in an untiring search for himself, in everything that he has of himself is life.

José Manuel Arrobas