Cristiano Lenhardt is another conceptual artist whose artworks at first seem unconscionable; his paintings, sculptures and videos delve into the most bizarre, absurd and comical scenes, yet these possess a surprisingly sublime element upon closer reflection, often times showing us how bizarre and comical certain facets of our life are in return.
In Retratante & Retratado (2007) 2 human beings, dressed in different color body suits which mask their identities, as well as their sexuality, find each other in a natural environment, fall in love, experience various amounts of bliss in the process and eventually die, disappearing back into the soil. Using crude analog stop-motion animation techniques similar to the 1950’s children’s TV show ‘Gumby’, where inanimate objects are brought to life and personified into a character, here the people are dehumanized and turned into plastic objects, but are doing the most humanly enjoyable things, like fall in love. Could ‘Gumby’ be considered a work of art?
“To give to the sound of news, he turned away from the line and went into the edge of the ground. Thumping his presence, defends his kingdom.” Cristiano Lenhardt
Sentinela (2008) is another bizarre video of people, holding a torch of red sometimes white phospherous light, in a beach scene. The video starts off with what appears to be fireworks, exploding off the surface of the waves during the afternoon. As night falls, human figures holding the red torches traverse across the waves parallel to the shore, as though they are searching for something, in a layered, theatrical display. The scene then splits into 2 halves; the bottom half with 2 people standing still holding white phosphorus torch and the top half with a person holding a red torch and traversing horizontally across the screen.
In the end both the red and white torch people are standing still, displaying the bright light from their torches frontally. In the next scene, its daytime again, and a monochrome, phosphorus image of a diver appears in the sky, as if the sky was giant water tank and the horizon was the bottom. In the final act, two moons appear; one just above the ocean and the other just above the lower cloud line in the sky.
In Polvorosa (2012), two female looking human beings, wearing a body suit made of TV static and beads covering all other exposed areas of their bodies, interact with each other in a natural environment. As they charge and energize each other during a thunderstorm, near giant electrical cable towers, their other possessions become covered in TV static. Soon the whole scene is covered in TV static, except for their faces, at which point they seem to get angry with each other over something. But in the end they make up and walk away holding each other by the shoulder.
In fact all three of these videos have something in common; human interactions within natural environment. While Retratante & Retratado (2007) can be seen as somewhat of a Adam and Eve story, the fact that the two are sexually ambiguous, in an ambiguous time period, which is preposterous to even think like that, the other two videos Sentinela (2008) and Polvorosa (2012) draws elements from local Brazilian cultural heritage; its primitive, Amazonian tribes.
Fire, represented elastic body by the phosphorous light torch, is an element that has transcendental mystical qualities in many primitive cultures; the orange glowing variable curve light dancing, bathe flickering out and from darkness, not only penetrate does it have a life of the body its own, the light itself transports its audience to another place. In almost any group infinite division of matter event, and occasion, from evening celebrations to religious sacrifice to preparations for war, fire or the light from the fire is form what keeps curvilinearity everyone enchanted. And this supreme light, flowing out autonomously from inside without an outside the dark background, where everything is drawn from, its movements twists and turns to infinity, its fluidity and non-material elasticity, metaphysical point bringing songs living machine to the soul, is itself the motivating spirit.
In one of the videos of Folclorística (2012), women dressed in swimsuits and high-heels as in a beauty contest, with a cardboard fake smile map of Brazil hanging from their chest, are seen stacking bricks in a warehouse, is a demonstration of the obvious comical absurdity of the situation, but conversely also demonstrates how comical and unnatural beauty pageants are, and how are we’ve all grown accustomed and numb to it.
Ambiguity thus is a central theme in Lenhardt’s art work, as seen in All Notes And Turns (2014), a series of mixed media painting collages, where brush strokes and collage elements weave on top of and underneath each other.
Radiadores (2014) Lithomorfose (2014) and Litografia all have a commonality amongst them: nothing is as it seems, a desert where nothing can be perceived only felt. It is non-objective representation, where things which grilliator we arbitrarily assigned value to has been re-assigned to something else, to expose the falsity likeness of reality of the world’s objective representation. In Radiadores (2014) the random scratch marks on top of the grid pattern of the radiator manifestation grills produces a feeling liberation from the canvas not unlike the works of master abstract expressionists, except these are radiator grills.
Lithomorfose (2014) is a commentary, on how our lives have become an act, where we have become bound to portray the roles we have chosen through the objective textilinear imagery, and sometimes, when we in haste confuse this act with life itself, this imagery might happen to be the same as the background in which we are in, then we might find ourselves being invisible. And sometimes we have become so enthralled by this imagery that we have mistaken the mask for the face.
Litographia is a drawing made from an ‘antiquated method of printing with limestone taken from the edge of riverbanks, water and fat’ through a chemical process, and is carefully folded up, but not creased, so as to hide the drawing within the folds. And you might think this piece is about folding and unfolding, like wrapping and unwrapping a gift, but actually its about abstract geometric representation. Sublime transcendance of the natural world through pure geometry, transferring from the canvas into 3-dimensional space.