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Critical Essays

Cristina the fighter

Frederico de Moraes | 1987


In the catalogue of her present exhibition at the Rio Businessman’s Center, Cristina Canale discusses her creative process with her professor, John Nicholson. She begins saying that “it is all very mixed,” and that she works with various situations and ramifications. She is surprised thousands of times with the modifications that determined issues suffer during the creative process.


This indecision or insecurity, which does not annul the vigor of her painting, ends up by establishing a climate of true war between the artist and the canvas, “a war between what I wanted to be and what I am being.” And to evolve, she needs to “create an aggressive attitude with the work.”


Thus is the script of a young artist at the starting point of her career. Cristina is 25 years old, was one of the participants of the show Como vai você, Geração 80? (How Are You, 80’s Generation?) grabbed up an award at the most recent Salão Carioca (Carioca Salon) and was one of the highlights of the group collective exhibition “Novos novos” (The New New Ones).


As I stand before her five large canvases on exhibit, I feel this impasse, but also the attempt to overcome it. In other words, both her deposition and her painting indicate that creating art continues to be a painful and difficult process. In fact, there is a “corporeal fight” between the artist and the canvas.


In the paintings by Cristina Canale, constructive, informal and figurative elements coexist, not always in a pacific manner. The drawings (or croquis?) that illustrate the catalogue, and which are not exhibited, indicate her graphic vigor, an understanding of the carioca landscape and also, a reading of the historical constructivists such as Malevich and Ad Reinhardt. It is interesting to observe, for example, how Malevich’s cross, indicating the spatial ambiguity, transforms into a recurring image in her painting, a ghost planted in the landscape, but that also could be only a geometric synthesis of something architectonic or monumental and that, in her painting, gained a disturbing significance. Suddenly, I am reminded of Kiefer and of cemeteries.


I believe that Cristina Canale arrived late to this “wild” painting, from the German Neo-Expressionists, but who knows, this is why she could produce a more personal and truthful painting, above all fads.



Published in the newspaper, O Globo, Rio de Janeiro, in April, 1987.

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