Athos Bulcão: atelier artworks

By Fundação Athos Bulcão

Athos Bulcão is first
and foremost a painter. Painting was a field he settled on when beginning his
art career in the 1940s. While working as a painter, he practiced drawing and
produced series of engravings. A restless artist, he was soon experimenting
with photomontage, polychrome reliefs, his series Masks, and the small objects
of the series Creatures. Pieces that constitute his atelier artwork, the result
of 70 years of research, studies and artistic production. All the items are part of the Athos Bulcão Foundation Collection.

Paintings Fragments (1993) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

His life

Born in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Athos Bulcão (1918 - 2008) had a childhood permeated by music, painting and theater. Still young, he studied medicine, but after some time at the university he noticed that his passion was really the arts. He lived among great representatives of Brazilian arts such as Carlos Scliar, Burle Marx and Cândido Portinari and in this circle of artists and intellectuals, he met Oscar Niemeyer, who, enchanted by his drawings, invited him to create tile panels for his buildings. This was only the beginning of his brilliant career with paintings, drawings, engravings, photomontages, costumes and theater sceneries, album and book covers, sculptures, and his monumental work of architecture integrated art. There were 70 years of research, studies and artwork production. Athos was tireless in his experimentations and utilized his deep knowledge in the use of colors and geometry with mastery.

Paintings Flower vase (1941) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Paintings

“I have some works that
are very musical; they seem to have rhythm. I like to paint leaving one color
behind another, creating something a little mysterious. (…)

Portinari taught a lot,
he helped me to understand paintings, to analyze how they were made. European
art is all very thought out. Someone may argue, 'And Van Gogh?' Van Gogh was
very decisive to make his paintings the way he did, with only three, four or
five colors. And this is something technical, which helps the painter. Before making
a painting, I choose the colors I will use, rarely adding one more. The thing
is all painted beforehand.” (interview given by the artist to the newspaper
Jornal de Brasília, published July 2, 1998.)

Paintings Untitled by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Paintings Untitled by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Paintings Untitled (1982) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Paintings Untitled (1982) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Paintings Untitled (1991) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Paintings Fragments (1993) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Paintings Flowered Garden (1994) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Drawings Behind the scenes (1943) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Drawings

His drawing
technique, traces and themes, spaces and fullness, all that constitutes the
basic vocabulary of his graphic language is used here to give life to a
reinvented space, a surprising vision of a fantastic and perturbing interior
world. It is as if everything had emerged from a (conscious) environment of
forms from an internal sea whose unfathomable topology contained unconscious
contents and meanings, innumerable and latent life systems waiting to
incarnate. If it were possible to give a general name to these drawings, I
would like to call them ‘apparitions’. (Ítalo
Campofiorito, Presentation of the individual exposition: Drawings Encontro Art
Gallery, Brasilia, 1968)

Drawings Untitled (1946) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Drawings Untitled (2001) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Photomontages About Guermantes (1952) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Photomontages

“I did a large series of photomontage from 1952 until 1955, because afterward I started to do photomontage applied to architecture. I made large photomontages. That was a period in which I was in an identity crisis. I had returned from Europe, where I had a scholarship, and realized that I couldn’t live from painting. I was doing interior decorating and didn’t like it much. Then I felt like doing something that was neither photography, nor theater, nor cinema. I began to cut out figures and place them side by side. It is a composition exercise. That is something that is perhaps linked to cinema in my mind, to movement. I imagined short films around that.” (interview given by the artist to the newspaper Jornal de Brasília, published July 2, 1998.)

Photomontages Sport and Comfort (1952) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Photomontages The prisioner (1952) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Photomontages About Guermantes (1952) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Engravings Masks (Decor exhibit, 1970) (1970) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Engravings

When getting away (always with many possibilities of
reappearance) of his schematic figures, he experiences a certain floating
geometry in large color spaces, in his masks, from 1970 onwards, transferred the
polychrome fixtures for the screen, and that will follow for the rest of his
life. He starts the definition of quadrangular camps released in a fund that is
always dark, populated by organic shapes, often evocative in a cameo. At first,
arranged at right angles, they also float, creating overlays and
transparencies. (Marilia Panitz, The imaginary according to Athos Bulcão, 100
Years of Athos Bulcão, 2018)

Engravings Untitled (1974) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Engravings Untitled (1978) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Engravings MF - Variant III (1991) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Engravings MF - Variant I (1991) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Studies Study for formica panel. IBM - Headquarters building, Rio de Janeiro - RJ (1975) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Studies

This precious material left by the artist, as well as plants that draw the possible deployment of the panels (the tile, but also the sculptures, the acoustics and partitions), allows the spectator, the understanding of the principles of his creation (even for those who live daily with his work). Athos stated that “my attitude before the things helps on it. The first care is not seem that the building was made to stay with those decorations.  We need to feel that it is necessary, regarding the completion of the project; (...) the rest is a little common sense”. His work integrated with buildings developed from two major partnerships: with Oscar Niemeyer and with João Filgueiras Lima (Lelé). There is, in these pairs that were formed, the clarity of aesthetic function as essential to the functionality of urban facilities, and that makes his works, creations. (Marilia Panitz, The imaginary according to Athos Bulcão, 100 Years of Athos Bulcão, 2018)

Studies Study for chapel ceiling. Alvorada Palace, Brasília - DF (1959) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Studies Study for partition in painted Wood. Sarah Network of Rehabilitation Hospitals, Brasília - DF. Architect: João Filgueiras Lima (1967) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Studies Study for formica panel. IBM - Headquarters building, Rio de Janeiro - RJ (1975) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Studies Study for tile panel. French school (executed in two ochre tones), Brasília - DF. Architect: Oscar Niemeyer (1979) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Studies Study for hydraulic tile. Private residence, Brasília - DF (1982) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Studies Study for stained glass. Holy Cross of Alagados Church, Salvador - BA. Architect: João Filgueiras Lima (1982) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Masks The Wizard (1975) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Masks

“The idea emerged at the last moment of the film,
2001: A Space Odyssey, with the fetus. And they are fetuses; they are
locked inside the uterus; I imagine that it is a question about biological
origin. (…) The intention is to
make an object, play with the anthropology, with the physical origin. I was in
Paris in 1971 at the Musée de l’Homme (…) I thought about doing an exhibition
with masks that seemed like they were made of strange materials. The
exhibition was called É Tudo Falso (It Is All False), playing with the question
of the work of art. The work of art is an illusion. First, this is because it
does not serve for absolutely anything, which is the fascinating part. Then, how can one say when a work of art is true or
when it is false?” (interview given by
the artist to the newspaper Jornal de Brasília, published July 2, 1998.)

Masks Two-faced mask by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Masks Untitled by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Masks Máscara (1987) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

Masks Pierrot mask (1988) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão

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