GUARANIA OF THE RED BAY . ALEX CERVENY

As the floods of the Pantanal in Mato Grosso, the exhibition Mar interior [Inland sea] counted on nearly the number of months in a year to be fully formed. In this exhibition, Alex Cerveny displays around fifty works, including paintings and drawings, having been done under strong sensitive inspiration about what is the visual strength of the Paraguay River basin, this isolated location between Brazil and Bolivia, endless wetlands region, shoreless sea, without high or low tide, but of margins that blur slowly and steadily the South American map. In search of perhaps an ocean, the Atlantic, one sees here, therefore, how single-engine airplane flights over a period of intense work—in which the artist navigated through waterway complexes, gave art lessons to children in a socio-educational project, and explored some of the region of Serra do Amolar mountain range, near Corumbá [Mato Grosso do Sul] on horseback—left their mark on the artist.

There are two groups of works, of varying dimensions, that make up the exhibition: the “hydrographics,” which in the brush tip’s poetic association, feature quick gestures based on records of memories, people, places, and moments there lived around the pantaneiro locale, thin black watercolors on light white paper; drawings that rekindle navigation flows of the Paraguay-Paraná waterway system, this hydrographic path over 2,175 miles, symbol of the continental integration program, that runs through the middle of South America. In this series, figures metamorphosed into man-fish and duels of complementary-contradictory animals—like man versus alligator—stand out confirming, by the artist’s imagination, the character of this exhibition. Aiming at certain aspects of the Guarani cosmogony, Cerveny evokes with Mar interior, instinctively, the origin of the world and the phenomena of emergence of the human condition amid wilderness.

The second group is made up of five larger drawings where blue background washes stain despite the paper’s thickness. A thin black ink, with softly outlined strokes, and the use of silver leaves mark the series, as if they had been created by delicate ancestors chords of a cosmological harp, revealing, in its grandeur and frailty, a rare inner vision about the genesis of the Universe, in which structure and evolution seem to be direct answers to the attempts of apprehension of methods for dream interpretation.

Among the works on display, there are two strong paintings of nocturnal landscapes, made with oil paint on translucent linen. Alone, in the midst of nature, a pair of South American Indians, man and woman, represent, in separate opposition, each of the two banks of the same river, being suggested as displaced figures and put on counterorder of chronological thinking, making us reevaluate the actual impossibility of meetings, especially those that have been mediated by all manner of digital apparatuses, which make life result in a lack of spontaneity, to which we are absolutely subject these days.

Mar interior raises the ancient knowledge regarding the meaning of “Land without evil” [Ivy marãey], in which, in Tupi-Guarani traditions, individuals and groups searching to overcome, rejecting the collective order, and practicing migratory exercises have abandoned their villages to go against the grain, without need of death as passageway for becoming gods themselves, therefore winning their entry, at last, to the “Land without evil.”