Perception of that which surrounds you, it’s vibrations, the energies it shares and imparts. The adeptness of the senses to absorb those energies and retain their pulse of innocence without becoming sentimental or displaying a naivety of vision, a true focus and gentle eyes to the world. Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas has that vision. He allows the poetry to surface without removing or displacing the poetic which was the essence of that which had initially inspired him.
John Welson. 1976.
(Extract taken from a letter to Conroy Maddox after he had shown John Welson a catalogue of Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas work in 1976 and the same year John Welson had the privilege, for the first of many times to exhibit with Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas, the exhibition being, Marvellous Freedom Vigilance of Desire, World Surrealist Exhibition, Chicago, USA)
As a bee touches each and every flower it flies to, sharing nectar, enhancing nature, extending life force and energy, so the paintings of Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas enhance the imagination, sharing the marvellous with the delicate footprint of soft slumber.
(An extract of a letter from John Welson to Mario Cesariny 1982.)
…and there are artists who emanate an energy of calm, an example being Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas, creative energies that are not threatening and whose gift is the gentle strength of their message (John Welson) […] and that calmness of expression flows from a calmness of an inner personality which in turn is peaceful (Jean Claude Charbonel), extracts from conversations shared between Jean Claude Charbonel and John Welson in the opening address of their exhibition, Surrealism-The Celtic Eye 2011, The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. Wales.
There are a multitude of reasons, causational factors, accidents, plans, misadventures, adventures, serendipities, escapes, conscious decisions and choices why and how any one person takes the path of creativity. For some the road is a simple one to join and encounter, seeming that it was always the path that would be the means to personal expression, it becomes the catalyst for fruitful creativity. Others follow the path achieving and acquiring confidence and thus a steady blossoming of expression and maturity. Another body of aspirants are not attuned to creative expression but need or use it as a method of releasing some inner energy or force, whether internal or in response to that which is around them. Each set of adventurers comes from a different background and a myriad of motivating factors become the catalyst(s) for the initial step being negotiated, stumbled over or danced across.
And from the various and varying creational springs, these rich seams of causational fecundity produce a multifarious body of birthed work, from emotional, subjective weavings and meanderings to focused, sharp, crisp, piercing unbending, unflinching observations devoid of the romantic or the perceived superficial. The pulse of which flows from the reason for creating or the make up of the creator, both variables may overlap, both possibly feeding off and from each other.
The style, the realised and actualised external result and expression is both a reflection of the individuals personality and their temperament as well as intellectual and emotional pulse of cause and effect, reaction/proaction to a subject or issue. In effect the way that they express themselves either in response to external or internal subject matter. subject matter and the individual, a two way interaction of personality and subject matter flowered by the sunlight of the imagination. Further to this is the means of expression, for some individuals are happy to express themselves in one mode or medium of expression, whereas others move between mediums of release and expression, from poem to paint, from plaster/marble/wood to text and prose.
Some creative outpourings are focussed upon narrative whilst others blossom by the release of the free flow of impulse, a poetry cascading from the imagination. There are those whose trajectory defies definition as their source of inspiration seems so personal, so particular to their essence that their expression becomes as a jewel shared, pervading an aura calm in its intensity, drawing the observer to embrace the vista, its atmosphere, seductively sharing the sunset dramas and passions that unfold. Such a rare and individual poetic energy exists in Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas.
Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas has the capacity to realise his vision with both the written word and the brushstroke. It appears that both mediums of expression are at the fingertips of his imagination and in both he is adept at conjuring up the marvellous. The brush and pen merge to become a single voice, a singular voicing of the imagination. The atmosphere that pervades both the expression of poetry and the image is one of a sensual calmness. A peace where ebbing tides have gently deposited a sunset world of figures entwined, calming engrossed in some silent breeze kissed celebration of stillness. There is always a whispered veil of poetry, a gossamer feeling of shared/communal wellbeing pervading the pictures. It is striking that in the majority of paintings and poems there is no hint of aggression or malevolent intent or action. The protagonists and participants are as one in each image, there is never the aura of aggressive oppression or sublimation, these are reflections of accord, human interaction based upon a bond of union. In a world of discord the vision of Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas is a powerful and prescient statement of the positive and the reality of accord of the shared adventure.
Back in the early 1970s, I recall seeing a large catalogue brimming over with the images of Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas, their inviting subtle and muted colour palette, observing the painted boats, figures and fish and sensing a creative spirit who was evoking the reflection of an inner peace and a determination to impart that vista sensitively to the observer. The woks are painted in a figurative style, but not mannered, this is a personal iconography, each object has been birthed by sea and sun but delicately nurtured by the hand of the artist. There is a palpable sense of respect for the imagination in the works, nothing is forced, the drama, often emitting a sense of being gently caught in time is allowed to breath the chronology of its actions and activities. These are the creations of a painter who enables the dramas to unfold without constriction, to heartbeat their own destinies. Tenderness and sensuality of shape and movement are paramount, the characters melt into and around the actions of the other players. There is a pervading atmosphere that the material objects have willingly forfeited their function in order to share this sensual fruiting of the senses. One of the qualities that creates such a feeling of uniqueness is that nothing is overstated, it is always inferred, leaving the observer to immerse and indulge their own imaginations in the next steps of the unfolding feasts of fecundity.
The work of Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas is a gift, devoid of angst and the self obsession of anger and miserabalism his certain footsteps of ink and paint exude a strength, a thread of hope, a crystalline vista, the possible made possible through the imagination.
On a personal level some reflections upon the various privileges I have experienced sharing exhibition space around the world with Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas since 1976 and a comment upon the kindness and warmth shown by him when we produced a selection of joint works some fifteen years ago.
By the late 1960s I was fully cognisant of the importance of the significant energies of both Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas and Mario Cesariny, not to mention the pivotal role both played in Surrealism in Portugal and in the OS Surrealist group in the late 1940s. Andre Breton had returned to Paris and with his return an energy and pulse, a feeling of hope created ripples far and wide and in Portugal a palpable energy of creativity blossomed inspite of the political situation. In the early 1980s I had the pleasure of visiting Mario Cesariny in Portugal (I had a girlfriend who was fluent in Portuguese and she acted as interpreter) and Mario Cesariny was a generous, kind and hospitable host with a fund of knowledge and memories. He spoke frankly of the years he suffered persecution for being gay in a society that was both prejudice and myopic. He also spoke warmly of Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas and advised me to contact him, adding that he knew that I would warm to his paintings. Some three or four years later Mario Cesariny was in London and the painter Conroy Maddox, Sarah Wilson of the Courtauld Institute, London and myself went to visit him at his hotel (Sarah Wilson took a selection of photographs of us all together) and after a few minutes Mario Cesariny asked me if I had contacted Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas, I was very touched that he had remembered our conversation of some years previous. The following day Mario Cesariny and his assistant crossed London to attend a meeting of the London Surrealist Group in a public house in Camden Town, London. Abdul Kadir El-Janabi (then editor of the magazine Grid) took a group photograph of us all with our special guest, Mario Cesariny and included it within the pages of one of the editions Grid. The members of the London Group were eager to hear of current activities in Portugal and many enthusiastic enquiries were made as to the writing and painting of Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas.
In 1976 the World Surrealist exhibition Marvellous Freedom,Vigilance of Desire took place in Chicago, USA (Organised by Franklin/Penelope Rosemont and the Chicago Group) I was privileged to be invited to contribute to the exhibition having been in correspondence with Franklin Rosemont and Paul Garon (whom I had met in London in 1974) for some time. Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas also contributed to the exhibition and thus took place the first time I had the pleasure of showing together with Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas along with a multitude of Surrealists from around the world.
The following year, 1977, at the Camden Arts Centre, London, the exhibition Surrealism Unlimited, 1968-1978 was being organised by Conroy Maddox and Zuleika Dobson. Conroy Maddox wanted the exhibition to be a celebration of contemporary Surrealist activities and act as a balance to the historical exhibition Dada and Surrealism Reviewed which was to open at the Hayward Gallery, London. This exhibition covered the period up until Andre Breton’s death and Conroy Maddox wanted contemporary activities to be reflected and celebrated. Conroy asked me if I would be willing to assist him organising and inviting Surrealists from around the world to lend works, I willingly agreed and we set to work drawing up a list of names of contemporary Surrealists to invite. Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas’ name was added to the top of the list as well as members of the Mouvement PHASES (leader Edouard Jaguer who was kind enough to attend the opening). The exhibition took place and included Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas’ work as well as my own.
At the opening of Surrealism Unlimited, 1968-1978 in London, Edouard Jaguer kindly invited me to participate in the activities of Mouvement PHASES and for the next twenty eight years, until Edouard Jaguers’ death, I showed in over twenty exhibitions with Mouvement PHASES, most of which included the works of Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas. Through all those decades he produced the most amazing works, releasing a body of work which has never been anything less than inspired, inviting us to share in his personal mythology which was constantly organic and continuously fruiting one captivating vista after another.
In 2004 I contacted Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas by letter and he was kind enough to reply commenting on the fact that he had seen my work in exhibition catalogues that we had both been in and wondered if our works had hung next to each other. His hand writing was exquisite, black ink and very precise of shape and form, later letters were typed and then recited and written by an assistant. I broached the subject of creating a joint work and almost by return of post came two drawings started by his own hand and imagination. The energy, beauty of form and shape shone through as it had done for the past half century, here were creations that transcended time as they exuded such youthful energy and hope. I was privileged to be able to joint his adventure… as we all are privileged to have been touched by the gentle and powerful gift that he has shared with us. Thank you Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas, thank you for your imagination.
Agulha Revista de Cultura
UMA AGULHA NO MUNDO INTEIRO
Número 152 | Abril de 2020
Artista convidado: Cruzeiro Seixas (Portugal, 1920)
editor geral | FLORIANO MARTINS | firstname.lastname@example.org
editor assistente | MÁRCIO SIMÕES | email@example.com
logo & design | FLORIANO MARTINS
revisão de textos & difusão | FLORIANO MARTINS | MÁRCIO SIMÕES
ARC Edições © 2020