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Curated by Ulisses Carrilho



“- Everything is holy! There is nothing natural in nature.

Whenever nature becomes natural, this will be the end of everything

and the beginning of something else.”

From the film "Medea" by Pier Paolo Pasolini


For this text, which dedicates itself to strengthen a dialogue with the body of work produced by Matheus Chiaratti, with special attention to the new temperatures in the exhibition Pau Lavrado, I turn my gaze away from the works. I lay my trust in an exchange of glances: as I perceive things, sideways, they gaze back at me. I find names, inscriptions, and clues. In his book When The Word Becomes Flesh, the Italian philosopher Paolo Virno dedicated himself to exploring how language is directly related to the conditions that guide our experiences — from spiritual transcendence to biological conjunctures. In asking himself, with intellectual impetus, when does language become flesh, he takes on the Herculean task of anyone who has chosen to make solid and immutable the warm flesh of men through the coldness of marble. Despite taking on the term “flesh” in the tile, here this idea intentionally falters. Language is not flesh, it speaks of and with flesh; the word is not enough to stem neither joy nor pain. The poet is the one who unsuccessfully, but miraculously, insists. He trusts the word. Chiaratti’s poetics leads the viewers to insist and also trust the letters. Which, once recombined, may lend a meaning that is not revealed on the material surface—the artist has created for himself a poetic procedure in which his paintings, drawings, sculptures, and also his poetic text, present words and images in a regime of concomitances. If both human flesh and language falter, then for this introduction I call upon the Centaur’s voice, from Pasolini’s film Medea. I trust this voice, from a creature of Greek mythology, half human and half horse, between human and god, between person and beast, in order to read what is violent and sacred on the material surface. There is nothing natural in nature, the creature points out. Whenever nature becomes natural, this will be the end of everything and the beginning of something else.


Curiosity is a form of love. Anyone who visits Pau Lavrado can explore the artist’s desire; to hypothesize as to what moved Chiaratti to return to the Birigui of his childhood and adolescence, to his past, and to inscribe it in his present. Besides suggesting body and form right from the title of the show, he borrows an erotic element from the name of a rural neighborhood in the city where the artist was born and grew up. It is also the title of a book written by the artist, not yet published: a work that is to come. Exhibition and book, landscape and body part, people and thing, beast and divinity: everything is holy.


One must probe the recesses of his ceramics: these are an insistence by the artist, who, in several of his exhibition projects, presents different configurations of his experimentation with 

this artistic language. We find in the flesh of this material a suggestion of the body, presences from his past, and present absences. While I find language and representation on the shell of the thing, I also find that which the artist allows to escape from the scheme of representation or narration, that which he has no pleasure in showing, preferring to suggest or hide in the recesses of a piece.


In his earlier paintings, Chiaratti manifests a freedom in pictorial construction that inserts him in a rather broad visual lineage: he rarely shows the impetus to organize figure and background with fidelity to perspective. The layers overlap in an insubordinate manner, protesting against the supposed organization of the world. The planes seem to be constructed to sing the artist’s loves. In Pau Lavrado, we see landscapes that resume the exercise of representing the landscape, an exercise always dangerous and fleeting—like existence itself. Through the incidence of sunlight and the passing of hours, we question the heralding of days that present themselves and of nights that impose themselves as the suns fall. These landscapes, with the exception of a man and an animal, do not suggest that they are inhabited by people—at least on the surface of the painting.  If beforehand I warned those who, in their reading, trust my confidence in the material and my experience with it, I remain certain that my words will not be able to distort the understanding of the works—even I do not seek to understand it. In between words and among them, here it seems to me more important to share what I heard from the artist himself: the desire to manifest in these paintings, which derive from photographs of those green-yellow fields, the tension of an imminent scene. Even though we cannot see in these horizons the representation of human figures, it is not difficult, when perceiving the artist’s poetics, to distrust the naive nature of things. Like a voyeur on the prowl, a longing for an imminent encounter. Something has become painting and, I believe, something else prefers silence. What fantasies would lie behind the tree trunks, the bushes, the grasses? If we return to the quotes the artist cites from Whitman, Cocteau, Penna or Pasolini, there remains some kind of love.


Ulisses Carrilho


1 The title has a double meaning in Portuguese, the literal one being “carved wood,” but in slang it can also mean “serviced dick.” 

2 VIRNO, Paolo. When the Word Becomes Flesh. New York: Semiotext(e), 2015.



Opening: 11 November 2022

Until 20 January 2023

Quadra | Rua Barão de Tatuí, 521, São Paulo

©2023 by Matheus Chiaratti.

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