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Photos: courtesy of the artist

[automatically translated]

Chromotheism or the possibility of a creed in color


Lucia Koch's production deals as a whole with a series of systems that are articulated in such a way that the perception of spaces is put in check, be they the architecture itself or images of simulacra of architecture. In general, his installations work as a filter, adding an element that stands between the space and the spectator, changing the way of perceiving and relating to this place without nullifying its characteristics, which can be architectural, symbolic or use of the space. space, and which are the starting point for the work that will be installed there. This operation is constant in the artist's work, and is repeated in the installation developed for Capela do Morumbi.


The Morumbi Chapel was built in 1949 by Gregori Warchavchik on 19th-century rammed earth walls. The architect was invited to interpret that ruin and complete it, creating a space that drew attention to the allotment of the Morumbi neighborhood. Almost nothing is known about the previous construction and no document proves its purpose or use, but the demarcation suggested to Warchavchik the form of a Chapel. In Cromoteísmo, Lucia creates an environment along the lines of a chapel environment, only in this case dedicated to reverence for color.


Inside the Chapel a large semi-transparent screen with a color gradient printed on it is positioned where the altar should have been. Slightly tilted over the viewer, it gently “washes” the floor and walls with its colors, as it is also the source of a large amount of light. This screen interrupts the architecture, isolating the back of the Chapel, creating a large portal that deconfigures and, together with the other elements placed there by the artist, brings new articulations to the internal space.


This environment superimposed on that of the Chapel is placed in a drier and more rational way, in the style of modern architecture. The color gradient, which in previous works by the artist appears as a condensation of the luminous landscape in which it is inserted, here brings colors that are not directly linked to the place, but which nevertheless are intimately connected to the other constructive elements of the space. it is built with light, the color pulsates, asks for time for contemplation, does not escape a celestial aura and earns due reverence.


Despite being a work of another order, Cromoteísmo is reminiscent of the frescoes and especially the mosaics of the Middle Ages, when the main destination of art was sacred spaces. In the Archbishop's Chapel of Ravenna, below a mosaic with large golden fields, it is written in Latin: "The light was either born here or, captured here, reigns free"[1]. Gold was commonly used in sacred spaces because it reflected light; the result of the reflection of the gold gave shape to the divine sky, which could not be represented as the human sky, and opened a space within the most realistic representation, executed with common and opaque pigment. Thus, as was created in Cromoteísmo, a portal to something sensible was created, but which could not be represented.

In the small side room of the Chapel of Morumbi, Lucia placed a tower in the center, with space inside to accommodate one person. The cobogó, a traditional element of modern Brazilian architecture, serves as a reference for the pattern cut out on the walls of this tower. In it, these elements gain another scale, not architectural, but the scale of the body.


More than separating interior/exterior, they begin to separate the self from the other, maintaining awareness of the presence of both. Despite having an understanding of the scale of the space where it is inserted, as in the large panel, here the experience is intimate and individual. Upon entering the structure, it is possible to observe different depths, that of the cabin, that of the wall of the small room, the central room, and the external landscape, all at the same time, in an optical game, where the eye does not reach the pattern and space in the same glance.


The cobogó maintains its function, delimiting the spaces, but keeping them in contact. From the enclosure inside the structure, it is possible to communicate, even if only through the eyes, with the people around you.


Lucia Koch has already said to avoid developing work in temples[2]. This relationship between her work and the sacred space would imply adherence to a religious symbology that, until then, had not directly interested the artist. What is presented in Capela do Morumbi seems to have come against the grain, but as previously mentioned, it is based on the interest in responding not only to the physical characteristics of the place where it intervenes, but also taking into account the social and historical context of that space in the construction of the constructions. What matters here is the approximation with fiction, the space that was never consecrated as a chapel — it hosted only a few informal ceremonies between 1960 and 1980, and went from a real estate strategy to a museum space — has in Cromoteísmo the resumption of the primordial function imposed by this architecture jumbled in form and use, as a space for reflection and belief, in this case a belief in color.


Douglas de Freitas


[1] Giulio Carlo Argan. History of Italian Art Vol I.

[2] Interview published in the book Lucia Koch, from the Arte Bra collection, Editora Automática / Aeroplano.

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