Add by adding.

I have stretched ropes from bell tower to bell tower; garlands from window to window; chains of gold from star to star, and I dance.

Illuminations, Arthur Rimbaud

Silvia Brewda has a remarkable way of transmuting. She turns something into something else but without erasing the origin. The process can be followed, the genealogy of the whole that is every work that in turn belongs to a greater totality. Her works in recent years are built in constant movement, laying a path with numerous entries, where we can orient ourselves in multiple directions and perceive events. A system where one part weaves together with another and may, in turn, be the beginning of a birth. The nylon threads intertwined form connecting lines set out in wefts that envelope, flexible, subtle and firm, while the clasps become beautiful beads without losing their essential supporting function. Every line—also in stamps of lithographed papers in ranges of grey and gold—produces light, shadow, is part of a form and of a virtual volume. Meanwhile, cell-like forms create delicate swarms. In Brewda’s artistic system everything has a use and is repurposed. The empty spaces in many art books are the marks of the origin of imperfect ellipses. In Empty and Full, the philosopher François Cheng recalls that in Chinese optics emptiness is a dynamic, active element, the place where the full can attain true plenitude and allow the units of the system to overcome rigid opposition and the development of a single meaning. The emptiness in Brewda’s art books is the landscape to observe and find the texture that forms the sum of pages in an evocative image of the rings of tree trunks with their marks of time and life. It is the space to see to the other side, crossing literally with the gaze (and literarily) the pages of a book, realizing the fantasy of fully entering its narrative thickness. In recent years, gold has taken on a fundamental significance in the application of gold to the leaf or through the technique of golden foil stamping with its diverse results of textures and luminosities. It can cover the totality of the surface of a work or combine with other tonalities, procedures and materials. Like an alchemist, the artist proposes to broaden some of the many traditional connotations associated with gold, and then shine, preciosity, wealth, beauty, greed and eternity are joined by laboriousness, humility, imperfection, opacity, temporality. Add by adding is a practice that generates freedom by also permitting the exhibition of works horizontally or vertically—perhaps horizons or waterfalls—on a wall, a table, or in suspension. Freedom associated with reversibility, with what may be one way or another, dismissing any definitive determination. The work opens up to dialogue, to discussion, to multiplicity, and above all, to the game as a dimension that is usually present the length of the artist’s long and prolific career. The idea of module has been a substantial part on this road of openings since she designed tiles in her beginnings in the visual arts. Then there came the murals, many of them like assembly sets, until we come to her last drawings in black pencil on small squared surfaces, capable of forming different compositions or being treasured as minimal units of a subtle and enlightening language. Add by adding places us at the heart of possibilities of creation to attain something better, lasting in its movement, and united.

Laura Casanovas

B.A. in Arts (UBA)
Member of the Argentine Association of Art Critics