New Perspectives from Brazil: Rafael Alonso On Doubt As A Permanent State of Mind

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 “How should we take account of, question, describe what happens every day and recurs everyday: the banal, the quotidian, the obvious, the common, the ordinary, the infra-ordinary, the background noise, the habitual?” (G. Perec, Species of Spaces and Other Pieces, transl. J. Sturrock. London; New York: Penguin Books, 1997.)

The first time I met Alonso, I was wearing a cheap triangular necklace I bought in the centre of Rio made out of green resin – it lead us to Ellsworth Kelly, Bridget Riley and Frank Stella. Fast forward to sleepless nights, beers and a lot of talking and it was clear that what connected us to all of these artists and their work was not the finished piece or the triangles on my necklace but HOW they got there – THEIR CREATIVE PROCESS.

Rafael Alonso’s opening exhibition at AGENTIL carioca this month is the pinnacle of this process.  The artist spent the last year of his research questioning and cross examining himself. The geometric system was seen bending and gaining new dimensions, with colours that covered found objects and took on different shapes. The chance to juxtapose reason became TORTO, which can be translated as twisted, bent, crooked.

 Painting for Leon and Max, 2016,
acrylic on plywood,

Carrying his atelier walls into the gallery as an open sketchbook of experiments and thoughts, his Frames, reflections of what can and WILL be done on canvas, plastic or wood – became the work of art itself. A place where Found objects find a different space in contemporary art as we know it.

JG: What moves you to do the art you do?


RA: The only certainty that I have is that DOUBT is my permanent state of mind. Fundamentally, what is called “contemporary art” is one of those fields that circumscribe what I do, but I think what drives me goes beyond that.

Certainly there are many ways to build these reflective spaces and the way I find to satisfy this inner need is thru what we call – art. I do what I do because I think it is the most authentic way to deal with my manias, neuroses, insecurities, vanities, fears. My work somehow answers indirectly to my inner doubts.

JG: Why do you choose to work with the materials you do?


RA: My work generally takes shape through painting, a questionable media when concerning artistic vitality, taking our main artistic circuit and market in consideration.

As an individual that reflects through the physical process, it seems to me that abstract painting with its various incorporations and possibilities is the most efficient way to build any reflection in my paintings. The form used can then be painting or any other medium, since it is not what this is solely about. It serves as a cornerstone for the construction of an individual inner reality.

Medalha, 2016
10 x 7cm


Rafael Alonso lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, BRASIL.

Jessica Goes

Jessica Goes was born 1977, the year of the dragon and is also known as hildemadame. Her natural ferocity to understand and change the world lead to a poetic pursuit into arts. She is a performer and researcher in new initiatives and art platforms for collaborative creations.