A vaporous watercolour in earthy and rusty tones, this work is part of a series in the purest informalist, non-figurative style that José Escada employed between the late 1950s and early 1960s. These works were displayed at the exhibition held by the KWY group – which the artist joined in Paris as a Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation grantee –, at the National Society of Fine Arts, in December 1960.

At that time, José Escada’s visual explorations were centred on the expression of atmospheric values, prioritising colour and lines, forming nodules and skeins that are swiftly transformed into spots of pigment. The artist then produced several drawings with other variations of colour, saturation and contrast. In this work, greys, sepias, blacks, and greenish, moist earthy tones dominate, dissolving into the air like a storm.

An aqueous medium of light pigmentation, the watercolour creates a nebulous, diaphanous ambiance, with no defined limits, only stirred by a delicate, circular undulation, in an environment where objects and figures appear as if diluted. The poetic conception of a limitless (or only limited by the sheet of paper), asymmetrical space, a space with no beginning and no end, disturbed only by the movements of the expanding coloured matter, is clearly evident in the concentration of colour on the left edge of the image, in conglomerations of lines with dark tones from which emerge brief flashes of turquoise, red, and ochre that are then extinguished and melt into the sepia and grey moistness that spills over the surface of the paper, in every sense.

Ana Filipa Candeias


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Updated on 26 july 2016

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