The way in which details are composed reveals a tendency to accumulation
Since its onset, Brazilian modernism has been characterized by an insatiable thirst for external stimuli, and at the same time for the recovery of its most authentic native traditions. This is an almost schizophrenic tendency, because on the one hand it is highly progressive, whereas on the other it is equally conservative. In Manifesto Antrópofago (1928), the poet Oswald de Andrade calls this tendency “anthropophagy”, using what is likely to be the most appropriate term to define it. The message is simple: what Brazilians look for outside Brazil has already been present in Brazil; the future is in the past, because “we have already had Communism. We have already had a surrealist idiom. The Golden Age.” De Andreade also writes that someone may even think that Christ was born in Bethlehem. They could not be more wrong: he was born in Bahia. Rodrigo Godà’s works, despite being beautifully original, clearly belong to this fruitful tradition. First of all, they show a clear tendency to accumulation: his paintings can be seen both as large, tangled compositions in which horror vacui highlights the diversity of a country that is characterized by numberless contradictions, and as agglomerations of accurate miniatures in which every detail can be considered as a world in its own right.
There is also a strong dialectic between nature and technology: panthers, trains, bats and gears, fungi and engines, flowers, fish, rockets; these unique caravanserais reveal a precise arrangement that derives from the combination of shapes and colours that are so diverse that they make us think of Carnival. And finally, as part of the great paradox of magical realism and at the intersection between western Pop Art and Street Art, there is a fruitful conversation between the artist and his native land and idiosyncrasies. A cry of protest of an inhabitant of the planet who is worried about the environmental catastrophe we are sinking into, and at the same time the cry of joy of a child who reduces everything to simple, immediate shapes and turns them into imaginative inventions and totems that can make a connection between toys that are just about to break and primeval forces. Like every Brazilian artist, Godà has his own most personal Caribbean revolution to bring about: he aspires to open a horizon that looks both forward and backward, in which diversity gives life to unity without losing what makes it unique. This is, perhaps, the Golden Age, our childhood, the future we continue postponing but that – as Dostoevsky said – we have already lived, and can live again, here and now, if only we want it.
A.M. Arte Moderna