“My dear, things have been so bad in here that I don’t want leave home.” I remember this phrase from Chico the very last time we saw each other when I went to Brazil. He was kindness personified, a genius artist with a mix of simplicity and a huge laugh. My first thought was the country would be in a pretty bad shape to have someone like him feeling like that.
Brazil was starting its falling apart process. My artists friends were already feeling the country’s economical and political disaster within their skins and pockets. Seen as an unnecessary item, art was once again suffering the cuts. In the middle of those cuts, we lost Chico.
When I learnt about his death, exactly two years ago, I felt desperate, with that fear you have when you start to lose the good ones. I’m very lucky to have friends who are artists. I know they aren’t from another planet, but they are on more of an upscale level, a different connection with life. Meet them and their work, you’ll never come back the same. I love and need to be transformed.
We have thousands of questions and torments we ignore. The artists don’t, and because they feel so tormented, they cement it as art. As long as the question persists, the bothering keeps building. The artist is there, and in his/her essential form of art.
The art market in NYC, in this case, is the nonsense one. It swallows the artists and returns their empty remains. I have this incredible friend-artist that was “accused” by not being aggressive enough for the New Yorker art market. He was just being himself, with his strong and unique art, giving a shit about the market. It’s so ironic because the art business is attracted by outsiders. When they get the “requested-adjusted aggressiveness”, they lose interest —the market gives it back totally destroyed.
It’s wonderful seeing my friends living through their art, but I know it’s very challenging too. Different from other professions, most of them doesn’t have regular hours of work. Because of that, they are named vagabonds by stupid people too. Because art is integrated in them, they work the whole day with a busy mind. For this reason, it’s very rare see them retire.
I know there are a lot of people in this world missing Chico. I’m missing not only him, but the type of art he still represents: the original, raw, truly contribution of yourself. I’m very proud of my friends who still resist. The present in Brazil is far from favorable to art and artists, and I feel very sad in knowing there are still a lot of people who don’t understand art is food too.
We already lost Chico. We don’t need to lose the rest. This is our chance to educate sensible people for a world that keep being made by plaster.
The "Na Relva” – In the Grass (2001-2004) is one of my favorites from Chico (Francisco) Magalhães works, because it represents what he made with me. Chico created his space slowly here, in my little wolf’s heart. The video below gives some idea of his legacy (and how he’s being missed too). (Picture: Daniel Mansur)