Metamorphosis through form
Hugo França's work occupies a unique place in the Brazilian arts and is aligned with contempora-neous issues,
such as social responsibility and the councious use of natural resources. He lived in Trancoso, Bahia, for 15
years and this experience has defined his trajectory. There França devel-oped an investigation focused on reusing
the forest residues of species native to the Atlantic For-est, especially the pequi-vinagreiro (Caryocar edule),
which led the artist to the production of a unique set of works of his own conception, created in respectful
dialogue with his raw material and support. Working with trees condemned by the inclemencies of nature or by
the criminal act of man, França not only makes art, he engages in politics. His work is attuned to the concept
of political ecology, an urgent and essential dimension.
The artist has mastered his unique craft. Producing a careful and reverent drawing, he brings the trunk which is no longer alive back to existence, creating a metamorphosis through form. With sensitivity, and by means of the natural contours, fissures and recesses that he preserves in the works, the artist reveals issues such as memory, transformation, and time. Therefore, França's creation does not exist only to be seen: it is necessary to let oneself be carried away by the impact it exerts on our perception. His work aims to be felt, deciphered, seeking to be depicted, as said by Merleau-Ponty, "to give visible existence to what profane vision believes to be invisible".
The gullet of things
Facing the abyss, one encounters a residuum between men and gods. And there is Exu, a closedistant bridge, an ethereal, ancestral body, attempting to unite these same men to other men and other gods in the pantheon of brotherhoods between time and time, violence and passion. Then the sculptor's hand creates a tactile reality for a terrestrial galaxy, like this, ensconced on the trunk of a pequi-vinagreiro (Caryocar edule), the tree that withstands fire, an archaeological raw material, nature's victory, the gullet of things. What could the sculpture be if not the materialization of a dream-thought? Hugo França is the man, the sculptor. He has in his hands a trunk for Exu with an empty eye socket in the center, because the other side is an abyss. And this side even more so, for we are on the very edge. Who will be on the other side, in this immense museum courtyard, which is also on the margins of a trance-like avenue, with its anthologies of destinies soon to pass by, inside the cars, soot, night-day, into the wee small hours? Then, in the courtyard, we find the reverse of the man and the empty eye socket of the pequi-vinagreiro trunk where, right there, he is born and grows old in his materiality. Then he is born yet again and grows old as a sculpture, immaterial amid a crossroads of modernist columns. Then it is that one time runs out and another recommences: earth and earth, nature and nature. And we have, before our eyes, this unending mystery, three-dimensional and, at the same time, unutterable and profoundly fruitful, somewhere between a dream, an entity and a thought.
© 2017 Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo