Daniel Senise


Glória Ferreira

Published in the catalog of the artist’s exhibition All Saints, Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo, in 2019

Like the numbers and acronyms of its title, the work itself evokes little secrets, calling for decipherments and revealing itself in layers of allusions that encompass photographic representation and the various symbols inserted therein.

A resource for questioning the classical representation of reality introduced in the early twentieth century through various poetic strategies, the juxtaposition of the most disparate elements enabled the emergence of new formal spaces such as the supplementary planes of Cubist space (noted by Greenberg as a “constant shuttling between surface and depth”), expanding the process of construction of imagistic situations and the approximation between art and life. And it continues to be among the operative modes in the current transit between different supports and languages.

In this group of works, begun in 2005, Daniel Senise somehow inverts the prerogatives of collage, making photography the trustee of things worldly likewise creating shuttling between painting and photography between what is photographed and its own referent, between its scales. To my way of seeing, the relationship between his work process and photography has become an inherent fact of his paintings, appropriating and conducting events that took place in the studio and other spaces in which he works (such as the current ones in Rio and in New York to which the title alludes). Abolishing the personal brushstroke, the canvas becomes a “witness to an event”, as Senise has said, transposing textures and forms, in which the margins are relegated to chance. Paulo Herkenhoff has noted that “what is wrenched away and transposed from a studio environment as ‘background’ and a starting point for the work is the very material of the world impregnated in a body — the painting. The surface thus becomes its own abyss”.

To use the critics words, it is the impregnation of painting with the material of the world that establishes varied ties with the device of photography and its instantaneous reaction to luminous information: a cut in duration and an outline in space.

Investing in the multiplicity of connected and complementary meanings of the relationship between the presence that “happened” as event – and thus upholding analogies with the device of photography —, and the “happening” typical of the world that painting summons up, Daniel Senise’s work has been constructing large, intricate virtual spaces through the laborious juxtapositions and reorganizations of canvas cutouts impregnated by studios in which continuity with the world is a poetic horizon — nonetheless ensuring simultaneity as temporality.

More recently the process has occurred in spaces other than the studio, in Rio de Janeiro’s Lapa district or in New York. Precarious, semi-abandoned spaces, extensions of sorts of that which, on another occasion, Senise defined as ‘part of the problem’ of his work’s situations of confrontation with the world – space that is always evoked and updated in its reconstitution as painting. In these series, the places themselves are brought to us in the images of photographers Thiago Barros and Fernando Laszlo, with angles that propose to reveal space – somewhat like photographs of great architectural planes of floors and ceilings.

ln this spatial conformation, the initially invisible locus of activity is redefined as a place of experience, as something that is here and now because of the coexistence of rubbish off the floor of impregnated slices of canvases, of wood and other elements in the very body of the photographic images, reinvigorating its fictional planes on one hand and breaking with the logic of depth through the creation of reliefs on the other, they create various situations that are occasionally based on a single series.

Bearing divers structural relations to his paintings, particularly insofar as the environment in which the fragments of floor are recorded and from which the materials and forms are detached, this series alludes to the presence of the studio throughout the history of art, with its attendant meanings and importance in transformations of language. Other examples of this include Courbet’s famous L’ateIier du peintre, in which representation of the art scene of his time reveal the new concepts of art then taking place; Mondrian’s studios that foreshadowed an art of the future; or Brancusi’s studio, in which the mobility of the elements, fixed by him in astonishing clichés, sought to affirm the relationship between the work and its context of inscription. Even when relegated to the role of archival trustee by the supremacy accorded the project in conceptual art, the uniqueness of such a workplace is inscribed in the poetic strategies. ln the case of Daniel Senise — whether he is sharing with other artists or keeping up two studios as in the period during which he resided in New York – that space has always configured itself as “part of the problem”, as mentioned above: “the way I work is a result of an immersion in the studio, a saturation of sorts”² , says the artist.

In revealing the configurative space of its pictorial process while simultaneously establishing its own universe, 34-01 38 Ave, Lic / S.R. 34, RJ / W.L. 140, RJ may inaugurate a new relationship between artist and ‘image, as Senise has consistently reiterated, one that is based on intense attraction – albeit one that is mediated, in his trajectory by painting. By inscribing themselves within a new image as reproduction, the marks and reliefs of the attached objects transformed into images indicate the works resistance to the loss of its corporeality, even as they indicate a liberation of sorts from and as image.

¹ Paulo Herkenhoff. “Sudário e esquecimento: uma tela de Daniel Senise nos diz que é impossível esquecer”. In: Daniel Senise [Catalogue, solo exhibition]. São Paulo: Galeria Camargo Vilaça, 1993.

² “Paulo Vieira entrevista Daniel Senise”. In: Carlos Leal (ed.). Ateliês do Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro: Francisco Alves, 2007.