Memory eulogy

             In order to see Roberto Schmitt-Prym’s photos we need more than our eyes. Before all, we need silence, leisureliness and serenity. Afterwards, we need a certain sense of contemplation. These photos are not to be seen in a diffused mood. They are demanding pieces. We need still an odd consonance with nowadays art. We need to acknowledge ourselves as part of a tradition. Is this a lot to be asked? No. It just requires us to have indispensable intelligence to realize the world does not begin with us: we are just links in a millenary chain that begun on rupestral drawings, which charm us by its simplicity and strength.

            Let´s admire the art pieces the photographer –artist proposed. In case we are travelers or have received previous information about the buildings, monuments and streets that compound occidental architectonical plastic canon, we can narrow our sights to recognize Notre-Dame Chapel in Paris, Sant’ Angel Castel in Rome, Brasilia Chapel interior, an avenue in Porto Alegre, some stained glass windows from Central Europe. But with our eyes opened — with fully dilated pupils — these images somewhat familiar unfold into infinite facsimiles, begging a tridimensionality as fruitful as the stories of each of the portrayed motives. All this is gained with a sense of a high existential refinement: defamiliarization occurs as a result of our dialogue with the work. In fact it will be a dialogue between us and the artist himself. We contribute with our uncertainties and our human precariousness, but also with our capability to face challenges of the new. The artist contributes with his capability to interpret and transform the world. It will be a chat punctuated with silences in which we will try to make sense to those images that attracts and disturbs us. Let’s take the impressive study of the Reichstadt in Berlim as an example. The deconstruction of the photo through a frenetic succession of superimpositions makes the German Parliament to acquire a splendid scale of interpretative possibilities. If we know its dramatic history, we will be more able to understand the contrast between its aleatory dissolution (evocating dark moments of its history) and its profoundly clear, contemporary and aseptic rectilineal pavement, whose meaning is that history is a continuum permeated with political and ideological alternations. There will always be hope for mankind. Those who are not familiar with Reichstadt’s meaning will get a lasting harmony feeling from the ochres of the buildings and from the deep dirty clouds in the sky which make inferior part of the photo to bright, compounded by almost abstract graphics.

            Other meaningful vision is the Aztec pyramid with its tops enlarged by several other pyramids that float in a stormy space, remembering us of the sacrifices done down there that still today we do not understand quite well. Even tough its crushing presence disturbs us. It is the Aztec pyramid, but still is more than that: it is the perfect representation of a disturbing civilizational period.

            Exhibit’s title sends us to memory, what opens another inexhaustible hermeneutic fan of possibilities. As Cicero said, memory is both treasure and guardian of meanings and here it plays this role. Yes, there are treasures, and these are not to be mistaken for the physical riches the lens captured. A chapel is not only a chapel. A chapel is metaphysics engraved in rock . A church symbolizes a culture and a history. It has plenty of meanings, sometimes opposite. When our memory evocates it, it will “appear” on our mind’s eye just the way Schmitt-Prym shows it to us: stylized, multiple, changeable, doubtful, imprecise, strange. And happy we are there is someone with enough sensibility, an artist that operates radically contemporary technical means, to get such a wonderful effect of provoking our memories that unfolds full of sensibility and human content.

            Roberto Schmitt-Prym’s art is either for appreciative observers endowed with a refined static sense or people that are still searching their own way to see life. Both will experience powerful sensations: the first will transit from the pleasure to knowledge and reflection.  The last will experience almost tangible sensations of a superior art.

            All of us will leave this exhibit transformed; after we have looked at its pieces in detail, with serenity and slowly, we will be able to incorporate it to the most beautiful artwork already achieved by contemporary men and women spirits.

            And now, silence. Let’s the images talk to our souls, this curious and full of memories entity.


            Luis Antonio de Assis Brasil, writer

Translation: Andrea Mariz