Regina Silveira (1939, Porto Alegre, Brazil) received her first training as an artist in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and Madrid, Spain, but it was in Puerto Rico that she developed the first exercises that delineated the core of her work. Invited to implant an experimental teaching model at the University of Puerto Rico, Silveira experimented intensively with graphic techniques for the reproduction of the image and participated in an environment that was debating art as a territory for the circulation of images, discourses and ideological systems of representation. After her return to Brazil in 1973, Silveira continued her work as a university professor in São Paulo committed to contemporary methodologies of creation and, as an artist, she became established as one of the key investigators of the specificities of the technical means and languages of art.
Countless works by Silveira have questioned the limits of representation and visual perception. To this end, the artist studies how the optical apparatus processes what we see and how the drawing can manipulate these processes, dilating them, distorting them, leading them to the absurd. The starting points for these exercises are usually readily recognizable icons – stairways, labyrinths, shadows – which are transformed by operations of permutation and by insertions in photographic images, in systems of representation or directly in the architectural space.
Regina Silveira developed the set of works Dilatáveis [Dilatables] as part of the research for her PhD, entitled Simulacros [Simulacra], at ECA-USP. In the series, the artist appropriated photographs from widely circulated prints and reproduced them in high-contrast using the original heliograph technique, which today has been lost. Beginning the use of projections distorted by exaggerated variables of perspective technique, which in the following decades would become a recurring area in her experimentation, Silveira created disproportionate shadows from the figures, imbuing them with symbolic connotations. In doing so, the artist emphasized the significance of iconic signs in Brazilian political and cultural life at the time (which still very much exist), embodying their oppressive presence in the national imagination whilst also highlighting the threatening nature assumed by promises of happiness, progress and order when they became unavoidable slogans, pillars in the propaganda of the dictatorial regime in force in Brazil at the time.
Caroline A. Jones, Eyesight Alone: Clement Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).
Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).