Veiled Concepts with Fábio Magalhães
Questions/Written by: Anthony Hagan, Answers by Fábio Magalhães All Images courtesy of Fábio Magalhães

Brazilian artist Fábio Magalhães has been sentenced to a life term of Art.  In Fabio’s own words, “Being an artist is a conviction”.  There is no turning back for this brilliant painter who describes his painting as a companion.  To call him a hyper-realist painter is too simplistic and Fabio dismisses this label with tangible backing.  Fabio wants you to go beyond the paint and dance in the reverie of a deeper consciousness.  His words/descriptions are actually so beautiful and confident that you start to wonder – what else is lurking in Fabio’s magnificent brain?  What would a movie written and directed by Fabio be like?  What subjects would a book by Fabio tackle? How would he be as a professor?…. we digress.  What has to be beheld here is the sheer ferocity with which Fabio’s conviction comes through in his work.  His images spark something innate and in his paintings it is really difficult to pinpoint where perception and reality begin or end in his photo-realistic images.  Fabio is definitely posing some very important question to contemporary art.

“From the moment that you perceive it as something irreversible, there is no going back.  I am now sentenced to serve a life term …”

Please tell us a little about yourself – your childhood, siblings, where you grew up, what you liked as a child, strange thoughts as a child / now, unique attributes, where you live now, etc.?
I am the youngest of four children – I have three older sisters. As a child, my first contact with art was through illustrations in an encyclopedia that my father had bought.   We lived in the municipality of Tanque Novo which is away from the big cities and there were no museums or art galleries. My first experience with art was a solitary one. I was naive artist with a simple view of pictures – I think this simplicity exists in images even today, but thought behind my art is quite different now. At that young, I discovered a latent desire to work with in the arts.

In 2001 I moved to the city of Salvador, by joining the Visual Arts program at the School of Fine Arts at the Federal University of Bahia. I used the student label to experience different art languages ​​(photography, printmaking, sculpture, installations, etc.). Through this experience and other radical changes in my psyche, I realized that painting is what I loved and that it would be my companion forever. I currently live in Salvador.

How do you describe your form of art?

My work is not ‘feel-good’ painting. Many art journalists label me as a hyper-realist painter but I think this is a mistake because I think my work questions Contemporary Art.  My works are born of metaphors created from substrates of personal imagery, psychic quests and conditions that target a state of the combination of ‘Picture’ and ‘Body’. Results are obtained through devices that deliver a photographic act through materialization in paint.  I present meticulously planned performances that are able to blur the limits of perception, and reality in a disturbing and distorted manner. My paintings go beyond barriers seeking the ‘Other Self’.

What does your art mean to you?

Being an artist is a conviction.   From the moment that you perceive it as something irreversible, there is no going back.  I am now sentenced to serve a life term of art.

Your art seems to have an obsession with flesh, real human gore and pain what is the thing you most want to convey?

My work speaks of the unreal; the things you do not see and that which is out of logical thinking.  These images reign in the realm of feelings, visions and lucid dreams and I think one of my challenges as an artist is to make these visible to all. I think of my works as open to several possible interpretations. When you view my works, don’t dwell on the initial image that you see, you need to delve deeper. In fact,  I am inviting the viewer into an experience, an experience that is only possible first through the eyes, but in order to feel the full impact, you  need to look beyond what you see on the paint surface because this will take you to another place.  There are many veiled concepts in my images.

What is the worst critique you have ever received about your work? What is the best compliment you have received about your work?

The worst criticism I think it was inserted into a question: “And what you gain by doing what you do?” And best critique: “terrible eye and sure hand!”

Out of all the five senses (sound, sight, touch, smell and taste), which do you think is the most important and why?

The ability of the imagination, it is an indispensable tool for all artists.

Which artist / s do you look up to the most?

I have a huge admiration for the work of Jackson Pollock, Francis Bacon and Rembrandt.   Currently, I admire Jenny Saville and Manoel de Barros (Literature – Poet).

Since Style.No.Chaser is a men’s lifestyle magazine, what attributes / items / clothing / etc. do you think defines a man?

What defines man is his character, the way he deals with life situations. I think the other attributes are superficial in describing who he is, but I like discretion.

What is your personal life philosophy?

I’ve been looking to be less judgmental and more aware of life by just looking and watching.

Who dead or alive, celebrity or not, artist or not, would you like to go on a two week road trip with and why?
Friedrich Nietzsche, I would have a long talk with him.

How can people learn more about your current and upcoming works?

I am represented in Brazil by Galeria Marsiaj Tempo in Rio de Janeiro. I always update my personal website and my Facebook profile

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