Fabiano Rodrigues

The truth is in everything, even in mistakes

“The enemy of photography is convention, the fixed rules ‘how to do’. The salvation of photography comes from the experiment. The experimenter has no preconceived idea, does not believe that photography is only as it is known today – the exact repetition and rendering of the customary vision. He does not think that mistakes should be avoided. He dares to call ‘photography’ all the results which can be achieved by photosensitive media, with camera or without.” 

The text above was written in the 1920’s by Hungarian artist and teacher at the Bauhaus School László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946), a tireless experimenter, from the great names in European Modernism who helped change the paths of art. Almost one century later, still revolutionary, it is now the base for the work of photographer Fabiano Rodrigues, 45. 

To create his most recent series of works, he left his camera in his drawer. He rescues images from second-hand stores and family albums forgotten by history. They unfold into collages and photo collages from 400 negatives from the 50’s and 60’s, when photo cameras became popular. In his experiments, he does not dismiss mistakes. Quite the opposite, he tries to explore them, bringing to light another, more plastic, reality. 

The idea is to reinterpret the images, bring them a new, irreverent meaning. After they are cut, the photos are part of weird collages, a little surreal, a little spooky. Men and women have their faces mutilated by the artist’ precise blades. Torn into pieces, they get reconfigured, inverted, following Moholoy-Nagy’s style. 

In one of them, a formal event that gathers men wearing ties, Rodrigues divides the men’s silhouettes and places them in usual situations of men’s behavior and gestures, against a black, endless background, as if they were floating in a deep abyss. Images that were abandoned before, left to anonymity. More than 60 or 70 years have gone by since they were taken. Some are even older, from 1915. Nostalgic photos, filled with melancholy, recording this phenomenon that does not yield to the passing of time, a kind of freezing into the past people who may not even exist anymore, taking their fragments to the present of people who do not even know them. 

In his research, the artist came across some advertising films made with cameras from that time. And he took the opportunity to also transform them into collages. Commercial frames and moving images are combined with parts of songs and random sounds. The result is a shrill video.  

The artist from Santos (SP) was not used to being conventional before, when he documented the universe of skaters – his tribe, since he is, himself, a professional skater. Surrounded by adrenaline and in the middle of jumps, twirls and unbelievable flights, he photographed when loose in the air or with vertiginous speed, inside museums and buildings with remarkable architecture, challenging institutional limits. He pressed from a distance a remote shutter, which required a good amount of precision. 

During this new phase of his work, Fabiano takes risks with experimentation by leaving his camera in his drawer. More mature with time, he radically starts researching images that already exist. Now he draws by slashing, cutting and pasting. He brings these photos and negatives from the past together, giving them life in contemporaneity by rescuing them from the past. Thus, he creates unusual second-generation images.  

They are strange, it is the least we could say about these images that resulted from the mere gesture of cutting, pasting and overlaying parts of the same photograph. 

Ricardo Resende