One minute and seventeen seconds
“Sailing is necessary, living is not necessary” – Fernando Pessoa
After making the proper offerings, Ogum “should wait for the next rain and find a place where there has been erosion. There he should take dark and thin sand and put it in the fire… When the sand burnt, it became a hot dough that solidified into iron. The iron was the stiffest substance he knew, but soft when warm. Ogum started to shape the hot dough. Ogum manufactured firstly the pincers, a pliers to take off the iron from the fire… Ogum started to produce all kinds of iron objects…”.
José Bechara’s artwork exudes Ogum’s force, the blacksmith orixá, warrior, patronum of agriculture and those who wander through the roads. Certainly, the artist hadn’t imagined this presence when he produced his artworks. His references, great part of them source of the avant-gardes, far away from the religions, above all the ones of African matrices. Either way, Ogum was present in his creative process, and, when he landed in Bahia, it became clear.
Bechara uses iron, copper and other metals as paintings, taking ownership of tones and effects obtained through the process of oxidation as pigment. Reddish, brownish, blueish and greenish are recurrent, including in the supports used by him – the truck tarps. This presence of energies of the roads is one more element that places “Ogum on the way” of the artworks, as an occult co-author. The artist has conscience of the randomness in his production, incorporated the intangible as part of his praxis and poetics. An alchemic operation in which the unknown is administered by the experience acquired and through an sensitive-scientific operation controlled by him.
Experimentation became the rule, such as the exchange of knowledgement and making. The research for collective dogmas and an idyllic perfection ceased being preponderant, and the artist felt free to create his own identity. Bechara’s work is a game of never ending enjoyment that returns to the same point that isn’t met neither in the beginning nor in the ending, and becomes cyclical in vision. The same we have in front of our eyes is mutable, a work alive that pulsates a formal inquietation, present also in the artist’s personality. The tarpaulin that covered is now being covered, the oxidation merged as painting, traces and strips that, at the same time, bounds and expands the space planned of the canvas.
The possible geometric perfection, apparent into the grids and other artworks of the exhibition, are found only in the epidermis of the perfection and soon gets undone into the organic melting of the paint drips and into the undertaken mistakes. A subtle organicity present in great part of the works, conformed by a “hesitant geometry”, of almost-flat interrupted by the natural imperfection of human gestual. Here there is an apparent conscience of the impossibility of control on the final result, assuming the path as such. The way is the objective, not the arrival. A methodology that absorbs the time and the chance as part of the work. Since the ownership of the tarps, that had unknown pasts; till the wait of the chemical reactions, that rely on the climate; the sun; the rain, the humidity, the temperature, the time, the patience, the wisdom, the mistakes and accuracies.
The previsibility of an experiment is alway relative, and, most of the time, the chaos needs to be assumed. In one last interference, the eye analyzes what needs to be added or erased with paint and colors usage. Beyond choices, materials and reactions, this is the phase Bechara has the most control of as a result of his actions. The artwork will follow, even on the wall and space, being transformed by the inexorable time and climate conditions wherever it’s installed. Delivered to the world by the author, watched by the glimpse of art history, and reigned by Ogum, the Orixá that never rests. The artist also never rests. His life is a constant creative act in search of formal solutions to solve poetic issues.
“One minute and seventeen seconds”. This was the shortest time taken by Bechara between the garage of his apartment until the atelier door, located in the next street. A soothing proximity to an intense artist like him, when, in the middle of the night, he “finds” the correct tone to a color he was looking to cover one of the many artworks in which he works simultaneously.
“the Galaxie of eternal love” is about this moment;of relief, enjoyment, intensity, appeasement and delivery. From a young man whose hormones were exploding, and finally, had his first love night on board a Ford Galaxie, “borrowed” from a friend’s dad, on top of a postcard. From an artist whose maturity, rigorous and consistent, allows to add new layers of his own repertoire, without hesitation, constantly renewing his own language.
Life passes and “the past” perpetuates in the present, that is the fruit of the accumulation of these lived experiences, as Walter Benjamin affirmed. Nice to know that Ogum will always be on our ways – protecting us, guiding us and inspiring us – even though we don’t know. Ogum Yê!
 Prandi, Reginaldo. Mitologia das Orixá. “Ogum cria a forja”. Companhia das Letras. São Paulo, 2001.