China / Society

Painting, soccer transcend barriers

By Mike Peters (China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-15 07:18

Painting, soccer transcend barriers
Sometimes, perhaps, it's better not to be there.

As Brazilian artist Fernando Pacheco was preparing to unveil his World Cup-themed exhibition in Beijing last week, a ruthless German team was crushing his country's hopes in the artist's hometown of Belo Horizonte.

But the color and energy of his paintings suggest that soccer - and even Brazil's dreams of a record sixth championship - will live on in his country. Eyes, a recurring theme in all of his work, are everywhere on his canvases, suggesting an intensity of attention that one sad afternoon could hardly put to rest.

"The eyes of those figures in my paintings look at the person viewing them and ask, 'Who are you? What are your dreams, your fantasies?' " he said.

Pacheco has had to experience the entire tournament and the attendant fanfare from afar. He came to China in May in an art exchange that took him to Hangzhou for several weeks. Then he went to New Zealand for a quiet getaway with friends, where he rented a forest studio and painted the World Cup show that's on view at Beijing's Parkview Green Art gallery through July 20.

"I love football," said the artist, who was born in Sao Paulo in 1949. "I follow the games in Brazil and I have a special team in my heart. In Brazil, we meet our friends, drink some beer and watch the games together. But I don't have a problem following this World Cup here because I can watch on TV and I am talking with my sons in Brazil every day."

Pacheco and his wife, Nina, have been in China since May, when they arrived in Hangzhou for guest lectures at the China Academy of Art there.

Pacheco says he was invited to China by the country's Ministry of Culture, and he finished four paintings while in Hangzhou, which he exhibited in a show with other Latin American artists there. "Afterward, my four paintings went to the ministry," he said.

The artist has said that the creative process is about the development of the language of art, which in his own case means mixing dreams, fantasies and reality. Critics say his work is known for the use of color and reflecting happiness, but Pacheco says it's more complicated.

"I don't have any preconcept about the colors," he said. "But the colors aren't only about happiness. My paintings represent both human life and death, for example. My paintings talk about our interior life, not only happiness."

"It is very important for people of different countries to communicate through art," he said after his Beijing opening. "The sensibility is a very good way to promote peace between the different people of the world," he said, adding that a theme like the World Cup is something all viewers can relate to.

"The free language of my art," he said, "talks about our dreams and fantasies, and so it can touch the soul of the people."


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