A different kind of graphic expression.
Wheat flour kneaded with water and baked on hot stones. That was how men initially started making their first dough to feed themselves. This first food soon became the main food group and it remained as such to this day: bread. We are referring to unleavened bread, a thin and hard flatbread made without any fermentative additives. In food tradition, unleavened bread represents humility and equality, as opposed to elaborate bread, which is identified with arrogance.
Let us continue by taking into consideration the relationship between food and popular traditions, since food has made it possible for the people to survive while dealing with the harshness of nature and possible enemies.
The opposition between humility-equality and arrogance is a good way to start a digression on food. Food is directly associated with recipes passed on by word of mouth. These recipes were able to remain in popular memory and in each of the beliefs where one can find permissions and prohibitions regarding food, particularly during the observance of propitiatory rites by the believers.
Food is what leads Silvia Brewda to relate meals, the body and myths, so that, in an almost alchemical and constant mutation, the three may join in a fortuitous way and become capable of being turned into works of art.
Ida y vuelta is the name of this graphic project and a way to sum up the combination that the alchemists dreamt of in their quest to develop gold, called by them occultum. That gold could serve as a bridge between matter and the strength of life, and it is a way to influence matter to make eternity possible. Eternity is reachable by means of the beauty each little piece of paper brings along and through the marks the artist has left there.
Meals, traditions, the body, its organs and vital functions plus the mystic body make their way towards a place where it is possible for them to obtain certain humility and to match the artistic procedures with the materials’ subjectivity.
Next, there is a small list of words drawn up by using some of Silvia’s concepts. These words carry a secret symbolism, aside from what one may know regarding their meaning.
Noodle, to grow, to get lost, to burst, pastry, to fill, food, nutrient, to hold up, heart, center, the absolute, contemplation, spirit, will, impulse, artery, direction of the organs, vein, muse, idea, intuition, circulation, movement, path, duct, mediation, trail, method, procedure, transmutation, one thing into another, to transform, fire, origin of all, everything is born from fire and turns back to it, water, regeneration.
These words contain every one of the ideas the artist used to conceptualize her art in order to be able to shape the engravings, the resulting matter. In her work, the act of engraving is not just a mechanical and technical act, it is the result of multiple experiences with food, drawn paper and signs that the mystic ideas provided her with.
In order to create her engravings, Silvia needed guiding ideas to accompany her along the process. These ideas worked as marks that were made deeper from phase to phase of the process. One of the procedures Silvia works with is the layers of oxide. These layers form a sidereal map that can also be thought of as an imagined geography. Once in the paper, the mark starts taking on different shapes. There is an eagerness to see what will unexpectedly be formed there. The accident leads to new proposals, with the urgency to know how the final print will surprise the mark. The accumulation
of paper and the cuts made onto it produce a very personal aesthetic style that identifies the artist’s work. One piece leads to another, with the appearance of completion… for now.
The tools Silvia uses in her engravings come from her experience with nontraditional objects and procedures such as rusting, cutting pieces out of paper, engraving with fire, bleaching, cutting with laser, performing circular cuts, accumulation and perforation, along with more traditional engraving techniques such as lithography or photoengraving and goffering. These last are the elements Silvia has recently added to her work.
Words, tools, accidents and control over the processes are the materials that constitute Silvia’s work. In her pieces, the body is always present. Silvia uses the body in a metaphorical way. This provides her work with a unique and personal beauty that deserves to be looked at in all of its essence: beautifully and deeply sensitive.
Juan Carlos Romero