Emygdio de Barros
Emygdio de Barros is one of the rare geniuses of Brazilian painting. A genius is neither worse nor better than anyone else. With regard to him, however, there is no way of comparing: a genius is a blazing loneliness. It goes beyond measurements and categories. It is not possible to define him according to artistic schools, avant-garde, styles, “métier”. What we can affirm about Emygdio is that rarely has any pictorial work been able to convey the sense of wonder that we get from his paintings.
Emygdio’s painting does not reflect human experience in respect to society and history. The rupture with the objective world threw him into an abysmal adventure, in which the spirit seems to lose itself in the body matter, to sink into its magma. And it is from there, from this primordial chaos, that he returns with his phosphorescent images, bringing to the surface – where we inhabit – the echoes of another story, which concerns man as well , but which only a few have the privilege to experience.
– I brought him because, for days, when I pick up the others who are authorized, I notice in the corner of this patient’s eye the desire to come too.
At that, I bowed my head. It is not everyone who is able to read from the corner of a schizophrenic’s eye, oh no! It is neither for the psychiatrist, nor the psychologist, or the sage of any kind. Then I went to see Emygdio’s psychiatrist to explain his coming to my studio. And he said to me:
– If you want authorization, I will give it to you, but it won’t help because he has been hospitalized for 23 years, in a state of very deep psychological decay, and he will do no good.
– Nise da Silveira
“The studio was a pleasant place, a wide space with windows always open, showing old trees. The setting was often spontaneously chosen as a painting motif, which indicates how significant this place was for its goers. There, the outside world was mild.”
– Nise da Silveira