Work Analysis – Bruno Passos

(2021) oil on marine plywood.
2.4m x 1.1m / 95 inches x 43.3 inches.
Price: BRL 39,400 / $7,500.

Commentary from Adam Holzrichter & Trevor Knapp.

From Adam Holzrichter:

God. This looks to be a very hard-working man. He has these sorrowfully large boots that lumber over this mighty blue ox, which he seems to have mutilated. The bloodstains on his pant legs tell me he has been stepping in these entrails for some time. I see no other sign of gore on his body.

I feel the same sense of being gutted that I experience when looking at some of Goya’s drawings, or looser paintings. The aura surrounding death is not a melancholic one. It’s somehow a remembrance of the vanquished.

Suddenly there is an explosion of flaming color! It seems almost as if flower petals have leaped from the carcasses of these creatures underfoot. They may be the spirit fleeing its body, as their makeup is slick like piles of congealing blood. They are transparent in their flowing nature, and the physicality of paint application has made them feel like butterflies that were thrown with great might against the canvas. Somehow a candle flame flickers inside of them. This picture is rich with conscious and unconscious design choices, which feel like a series of good fortunes. Very mysterious and brave. This seems like a world where Bruno knows some great secret about life, or death.

From Trevor Knapp:

Above and below. I have been looking at this work by Bruno for some time ever since he created it, and it disturbs me. Disturbs me in the sense that I can’t quite make out what is happening – an idealistic beautiful above, yet, an exaggeration and grotesqueness below.

As if the primary character we see is living out what he is dreaming before our very eyes. Dreaming of earthly delight with flowers or butterflies flowing above, painted in impressionistically, a sort of elegance with loose drapery behind the dreamer.

And then a sort of violence underneath the dreamer, a grim reality that sits at his feet. What is happening? Why is this happening before the dreamer? Did he begin his slumber within a butcher house?

His clothes seem to be bloodstained, involved with the bloodletting. Is the dreamer lying to himself about what he has done?

Whatever the dreamer is dreaming, he seems to be in the flow of it, balancing that lightness and darkness, sitting with it. Word. I can dig it.

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