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Curated by: Douglas de Freitas

The universe of literature, or storytelling, is full of places. Create a story and create a place for it to happen, build a plot through the narrative, a cartography that, even fantastic and impossible to exist in our world governed by rules of physics, in order to situate and insert the reader in this universe, will make it part of that story. The fable - what does it mean in Latin? What is said? - is a literary genre that originates in the East, from a tradition of oral history, is built by a world where animals, humans and inanimate beings, such as trees and houses, coexist and interact under the same characteristics, on an equal footing. Everyone has their personalities, principles, qualities and defects. Through these fables, wisdom of a moral character was, and is passed on, to the new generations. These mythical stories exemplify right and wrong in human moral behavior.


Thais Beltrame surrounds this literary universe. Certainly the artist brings from her work as an illustrator references to her artistic work, or perhaps, subverts this first universe. His production clearly mentions this world of fables. His drawings, prints and installations bring scenes of forests, small towns or domestic environments, where animals and people seem to play a role in the unfolding of a story. But in the artist's work there is no precise story, the characters seem to wait, in a reflection of what happened, and in a moment of contemplative waiting for a story to come.


The animals that normally appear in fables as symbols of human qualities such as strength, wisdom and cunning, also appear in Thais' works, and carry this symbolism within them. In one of the artist's drawings, we see in the foreground a rabbit, which observes us from the top of its wisdom, standing in an elegant position next to a window, trapped in a domestic environment. Through the window we see a human figure, who is on his back, and looks at a vague horizon from the top of a swing, in a meditative state. This character, like the other human figures in these works, always has childlike features, a symbol of purity and innocence, another reference to the world of fables. A blank page waiting for your story.


As a construction technique, Thais' work has drawing as a starting point (perhaps a natural choice, as it responds directly to the universe of books, paper, and spelling) and from drawing, sometimes accompanied by watercolor, which the work unfolds in engravings, collages, installations and objects composed of layers of cut-out drawings.


Her works are also reminiscent of medieval illuminations, and certainly respond to them, especially in the miniature format that most of the artist's production takes on, but also when the artist inserts spots and plates of black or gold paint in her drawings, or even at work where small semitransparent colored papers are inserted that form the stained glass of a window. In Thais' composition, as well as in the illuminations, there is an economy of forms and characters, although each element receives excessive details.


The artist details her drawings to exhaustion, which means that even in large format drawings, or in her installations with drawings made directly on walls, this reference remains present in the duality between the scale of the work and the scale of the line.


This and the universe presented in the exhibition where I am not, scenes created through a delicate design of extreme labor present a world of intense meditative waiting. Unlike fables, illustrations, or illuminations, in Thais' drawings and prints, the characters do not communicate, actions are always contained in a silent pause. His characters look at the horizon, climb trees, or aim at the sky through cracks, whether through doors, windows or trap doors, in search of the next step, of the course of this story.


That's how Thais builds his world, configuring these elements in cutouts and layers, which, when articulated, build a scenario, a landscape - even if domestic - for a situation of waiting and reflection. A world trapped in paper, a world of paper, a world that seems to want to get off the paper, to invade the world.


Douglas de Freitas


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