30 June – 22 August 2015
White Cube São Paulo presented an exhibition of new paintings by Christian Rosa. Rosa was born in Brazil, but raised in Vienna, Austria and now lives and works in Vienna and Los Angeles. This exhibition, his first in Brazil, included a new series of paintings made on location in São Paulo.
Christian Rosa’s sparse, elegant abstract paintings express a kinetic energy where everything is in flux. Functioning like automatic writing, they are built up from individual shapes and marks set amid large expanses of raw, untreated canvas. Referencing both the language of Surrealism, especially that of Miró, and also the paintings of Cy Twombly, his pictures contain both the building blocks for a pictorial narrative but also the methods of its deconstruction. Minimal mark-making in oil, charcoal, pencil, resin and oil stick and a reduction of visible brushwork create works that are improvisational in appearance, holding their carefully balanced elements in an arresting visual tension. Rosa harnesses the inherent qualities of his materials by using their textural appeal to create layers and depth and to encourage emotive and subjective responses in the viewer.
In his work, new modes of communication arise between the isolated, singular elements on the canvas surface, which suggest the preformed beginnings of something: where lines, squares and childlike squiggles act like mnemonic symbols of a larger conversation. Punctuated by areas of primary colour, Rosa’s images could suggest recognisable things such as roads, buildings or even faces; whereby marks create an emergent and uncomfortable figuration through their immediate juxtaposition. His painting is guided, as curator Gabriela Salgado has noted, by ‘chance and an instinctive trust of the energy contained in physical motion and failure’. Created as points of departure for a new emotive, visual experience, his pictures suggest planes of energy from which many different narratives and possibilities can spring off.