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Del Pilar Sallum and the Metaphors of the body
Julho 2015


     The research and aesthetic and visual achievements of Del Pilar Sallum are  preserved in her work. The artist makes her body exist as a symbol and object; and not as a recognizable incarnated module of the self.  The self, then, is provided in the representation of a movement, as in words and in the body itself: symbols that are incorporated to a group. Accordingly, she designs schemes of displacements and cuts that constrict the possibilities of construction of a personal codification from what is presented. As said by the artist, “In my self-representations, I seek to establish communication with the public aiming to discuss the most incisive aspects of the everyday life, in this case the female subjugation”. At the same time, she refers to the urgency of an active body by destroying the passive body and subjectively rousing discussions. 

      As in the Theory of Relativity, the hypothesis raised by the artists is that the location of the physical events (artwork x artworks x viewer), in both time and space, is relative to the state of movement of the viewer. Sallum describes the physics of the movement on a flat and tridimensional boundary of the space-time, but leaves implicit the idea that the movement of the body is dependent on the time and the speed of its dislocation and interactions. In such time-space interaction (following Hermann Minkowski’s precepts (1862-1909)), she interweaves the three spatial dimensions and time in an insoluble way, a four-dimensional variety.

        The body is fluidized in an unordered set, almost always with allusions to fashion; fabrics whose malleability combines into deformed shapes and dimensionless grids structured geometrically in its supports creating groups that exceed their two-dimensional state, and that are designed in the unlimited margins of the four dimensions; it is in the fabrics, in turn on the body, and vice versa, without spatial boundaries, with the neighboring object and each of them separately and as one. In the series Imagery Mutations, these relations between body, object and viewer, deformations that the artist consolidates in the process of research and execution leave the results unidentifiable (which, however, is identifiable in direct association with the possible Self). By sharpening the question regarding place, space and time in what is represented, Sallum applies an installation movement that proposes reformulating each component in a structural and a material way for each position of the viewer in the space for each of the works. They are established, directly or indirectly, as electromagnetic fields of the uno, individually and as a whole. Such fluidity was already evident in the works of the 1990s, as in "Impressions" and in the series "Bandage" and "You Are the Earth."

       In the results of her research, the artist exposes the use of supports, techniques and languages in interfaces built from established relations which indicate attention to the evolutive process in the history of art. They are materials procedurally related to a diversity of substances, textures and sensations, as a result of the scientific inquiry process. Thus, science is embedded within the poetics of the artist, where a contemporary technological research refinement prevails, present from the beginning of the investigation, preceded by the project, until the final execution of the work. The series Intrusive Drawings, for example, shows the Sallum’s skills in cartography traced by the graphic structures made by light paths in engraving and photography. In the series Skin, through the capturing of the memory the artist takes to the photography, by using light painting, the plasticity of the memories and of the object/support. The artist, then, demonstrates the skills and knowledge related to technical resources applied to art and about art itself. It is about a sensorial cartography drawn from the graphic composition in which the presence of the words cause uncertainty, instability and a move immortalized by the generalization given to them by the artist, but that in the stability of the self is temporary and recognizable. In this sense the words are metathesis of the collective sentences. 

       In the video of the installation there is a space in the soul where breathing does not cease, however the heart feels and groans; the malleability of the movements caused by the technique sharpens the hardness of the registry. The exceeded and recorded angles in movements of graphical plasticity emphasize the aesthetic prevalence of the artist's compositions. The projection of the body on a spectacular surface – so that the viewer certifies himself that the image is not the artist but the body of the artist –induces the dilution of the limits between space and body. As Sallum emphasizes,


"One of Many" also aims to discuss the photographic self-portrait 

ontology. The difference is in the capture process. As I appropriate the 

techniques of classical pictorial self-portrait, I capture my image 

projected onto the mirror. I photograph my immateriality. [...] I am 

interested in the procedure of transforming a picture into a picture 

again. I apprehend my body dematerialized and I return it as object for 

the photographic game. The mirror, sometimes exposed and sometimes 

not [...]."One of Many" displays a body with a black stripe covering up its 

identity. It is the antithesis of self-portrait.


      Therefore, a transition between the inertia of the installation and the movement produced by the video takes place: images to words, words as images. It is the body into images, the body in mobility, transported spatially through the video. Structures are configured in the spatial territory; designed in a timeless and limitless space and assimilated from a common plan.

These relations generate unfinished metagraphic maps where their own formats specify the visual language. The mystery of the form is expressed by the artist and is emphasized and impregnated with meanings as what is represented is disembodied from its primary function.

       The collection of works points out, in my opinion, the power of the forms, without compromising their real value in the combination of the grids. Sallum materializes an environment filled with omens and expectations, not only in the images represented, but also in the “movement” of the objects and the traces of everyday life, as well as in the presence of evocative and allusive forms that are converted into interrupted, unfinished and cyclic traces full of mysteries to be solved.

       Therefore diffused relations between levels within the works take place. They are intrusive levels of accentuated moves, cracks and language noise violated through chiaroscuro (of the image, light, media, and exhibition space), in which geometric elements are mixed to figuration. The permanence of the intensities of light and dark in all the supports reveals the dimension of the tension between appearing and disappearing that the artst proposes on the matter of the ambiguous and in the indefinition of the unrecognizable and unnamed. They are variable compositions that erase the interdependence between the parties, excluding literal references and building several morphological possibilities that recreate a free core, full of possible sensory interpretations. The unfinished and intermediate become metaphors of a temporal process.

        Despite the passage of time since the origins of humanity, the Universe remains as incomprehensible to us as it must have been to the Babylonians. However, most importantly, both for science and for art, is that the capacity for curiosity and amazement excel in dogmatism. In this context, the works of Sallum are microcosms of a plastic universe, are art wearing art to be part of the Universe.

The puzzle is the reason for the artist's research and thus the stimulus of questioning feelings about the real, indicated in a proud ability of representation. It is a puzzle, this game of intelligence that Sallum exercises by subverting the logical sense and the apparent order of reality - a puzzle that fertilizes all its visual production, with overflowing results of sensitivity and authorial quality.


Andrés Hernández


São Paulo, July 2015



Maria Izabel Branco Ribeiro

Del Pilar Sallum

Del Pilar Sallum (english)

Maria Izabel Branco Ribeiro


Os Fios da Matéria

Materic Threads

Stella Teixeira de Barros



Time Hand

Stella Teixeira de Barros

A Mão Revelada

The Revealed Hand

Stella Teixeira de Barros


Temporada de Projetos

Seasons of Projects

Cristiana Mazzucchelli


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