Gisela Eichbaum: Pinturas e desenhos

Alberto Beuttenmüller

[...] her transition to lyrical abstraction; incidentally, the same path of German expressionism, which exchanged the so-called Dresden school (figurative) for the Munich school (abstract). Or, if preferable, the path of Lasar Segall to Kandinsky. In abstract art, Gisela Eichbaum would develop her musical trends, performing sheet music-pictures, composing a harmony of sounds with colors, rhythm, imposed by expressionistic brushwork, the constructive melody of being. The means: in this exhibitio n, Gisela presents works in gouache, one of the most popular water-based inks since the Middle Ages. The visual result of gouache is similar to tempera before protective varnishes. At the same time, there is something brilliant about varnishing, especially with wax and turpentine varnish, which waterproofs the gouache from humidity. Although we use the French term, gouache comes from the Italian guazzo, which means paint with water. Its composition is simple: 50% of Arabian gum as a binder, powdered pigment (zinc oxide, for example) and 5% of honey. With this simple formula, Gisela performes miracles. Her compositions are very reminiscent of Bach’s work too, because they are “fugues”, in which the harmonies are clear, lyrical in their use of color, but dramatic in their tonal construction. This inner music gives use the precise dimension of her work [...].
Visão, São Paulo (SP), 03/19/1986

Alberto Teixeira

An event parallel to the 1st FASM International Watercolor Quadrennial, 2003, the aim of this exhibition is to remember and pay tribute to the work of drawer and painter Gisela Eichbaum, author of admirable gouache paintings, a technique she has masterfully cultivated throughout her life [...]. These works are part of one of the books that she organized, containing her smaller paintings, associated with the idea of the book as an ancestral means of human communication, in her case, communicatio n without words and without color. Two of these books have been published. One of them had the title Canções sem palavras [Songs without words], which made us think of the relationship between painting and music and between painting and poetry, the former was also one of her loves and the later permeated her entire work [...]. The other works in the exhibition, not as small as those in the book, are, like them, an unfolding of her lyrical discourse, expressed in imagery of great beauty, originality and communicative force. One of the most characteristic notes of this imagery, of her painting and drawing, which is always mixed into her painting, is the poetry of light, her own unmistakable light, built from subtle chromas and strokes, in daytime and nocturnal effects, but predominantly crepuscular light and half light, of dreamed or remembered landscapes, symbolic and evocative of situations and multiple experiences, or abstractions that are like music of a singular harmony. The expressionist impulse, which has guided her from the beginning, has grown, matured and directed her to such a high level of achievement [...].
Espaço Cultural Banco Central do Brasil, São Paulo (SP), 2003

Alvaro Machado

Silent music and the abstract ideal
The recurrence of musical concepts in comments about Gisela Eichbaum’s art is noteworthy. When appreciating her work, most observers, everyone from the most specialized analyst to the lay critic, understand the link between her visual work, on one hand, and sheet music, sounds and other melodies on the other. It is as if Gisela’s mature output, in the vein of so-called “lyrical abstraction”, has culminated in a new, contemporary kind of musi c, free of materiality and appreciated above all by the freest of spirits. Commenting on the artist’s creations from the 1950s, physicist and art critic Mário Schenberg also decided to point to the link to the musical universe in Gisela’s work. In his review for a solo exhibition by the artist in 1966, in São Paulo (and reproduced in the critical acclaim of this book), the intellectual referred precisely to a certain kind of “silent music”. From a philosophical standpoint, this is entirely appropriate, because it approaches this visual production, suggestive of “silent music” from the apex of abstract thought: since the Greek classics, music has been located at the top of expressions of intelligence as the most abstract and sublime form of art, above even philosophy. In Eichbaum’s work, therefore, the paradox of silent music is extended, as Schenberg defined it. Perhaps it is the celestial “music of the spheres”, that the Pythagoreans had claimed to be able to “hear” in the context of pure thought. And even though we know that abstract painting is the fruit a progressive pulverization of perceptions of reality from the 20th Century onwards – while physics revealed our new knowledge of particles – if some Athenian contemporary of Socrates had cultivated it, it would easily have been positioned on a level next to music. Although subtly present, and at the same time ongoing in the creations of Gisela Eichbaum’s abstract phase, this purely visual musical quality leads us, on the other hand, to the “voice of silence”, a concept that integrates the body of definitions of states of being in the Upanishads, the Indian philosophical scriptures that are among the oldest known texts, whose purpose was to facilitate the understanding of the nature of the universe according to the Vedas – the sacred Hindu scriptures, dating back to c. 1,500 BC. The expression “the voice of silence” is precisely the title of a book by Russian mystic Helena Blavatsky (1831-1891), translated into Portuguese by Fernando Pessoa, poet and creator of the anti-metaphysical shepherd Alberto Caeiro1. In order to advance a step further in the concepts of this ancient tradition of eastern wisdom, several lines of the work by Blavatsky (in fact, she also a musicologist and cult-follower of Johann Sebastian Bach) can be quoted here: “he who, in the pursuit of inner perfection, wants to hear the voice of Nothing [or “the voice of silence”], the sound with no sound, and to understand it, will need to learn the nature of Dharana”. In Pessoa’s translation of the book by the theosophist, the notion of Dharana is explained as “intense and perfect concentration of the spirit over any inner object, accompanied by the complete abstraction of all that belongs to the outside universe, or the world of the senses”. Although quite alien to our grasp of reality, we are considering here the Hindu concept, the ultimate goal of the perfect Yogi, in order to underline the fact that, even though we sustain ourselves on musical descriptions and we suggest equivalences in the universe of forms – whether chords or clusters of musical notes or diluted architectures – the artist’s works traditionally described as “lyrical” are, in fact, in the wake of more strict abstraction, in which the artist began using formal and chromatic motifs without correspondence to any sensitive objects. As with Dharana, which serves as a formal standard, or a yantra – a kind of simplified visual mantra, the focal point for meditation – the goal is to raise one’s level of consciousness to absolute abstraction. Eichbaum is from the school of European rationalism, and thus is not deeply versed in exotic cultures. However, in the exercise of authentically abstract thought, her gradual symphonies, visual language alphabets with multiple indications of musical extensions and peaks, can perfectly lead an unrushed observer to exercise “intense concentration”, beyond physical objects and appearances. Especially for the phases of her work that were directed, to different degrees, by abstraction, as in her post-1970 watercolors (an impressive legacy in their own right, comprising a true cosmology), they require contemplation, in the extended manner characteristic of the east. And the longer we take to internalize and retain the patterns of these non-linear testimonials and subtle coloraturas like boreal light shows in our memories, the more effectively we will be driven to experience an interior reordering. Thus, the mere recollection of the composition may help us situate ourselves in a territory of nonverbal meditation. If its quality is actually shared among the entire work of art, on the other hand the strength of this particular property in the artist’s works is also admirable. Back to the parallel with the musical universe, there are also biographical data to support such observations. Examining the timeline, we should take as a starting point the tragedy of “crisis derived from upheavals following the First World War, which provoked encounters, misunderstandings and controversies regarding the numerous ways they influenced reactions to impressionism” – this “word painting” by professor Pietro Maria Bardi, the creator of São Paulo Art Museum (Museu de Arte de São Paulo, MASP), was produced on the occasion of the artist’s 40-year retrospective exhibition at MASP, in 1983. Thus, out of the European political and social crisis that heralded the emergence of Nazism, causing the exile of hundreds of families to the South American continent, a couple of uncommon talent and culture, pianists Hans Bruch and Lene Weiller-Bruch, Gisela Eichbaum’s parents, arrived in São Paulo in 1935. Here, they became part of the teaching staff at reputable music schools of the time, such as Pro-Arte. Privileged with top-of-the-line piano training, Gisela also taught music. Thus, classical music was a constant, one she experienced intensely throughout her career, ever since early childhood. In 1986, the artist would go on to publish a book with images of her works, called Canções sem palavras [Songs without words], a tribute to the charming music of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. On the other hand, if one insists on the figurative representation as an anchor for visual interpretation, the subject of the exodus of her parents could also be approached in a special way in her work, through her continual representation of idealized cities – with no corresponding factual basis – in a clear manner to begin with and then in the sense of abstraction. This was noted by Geraldo Ferraz on the occasion of her retrospective exhibition at MASP, when, according to him, Eichbaum was “in her prime as a painter”. According to this critic, in her works of this period, of an abstract leaning, Gisela suggested to us, among other things, “cities and still life, the structures that support objects [...], the deaf evocation of certain twilight hours [...], hovering between a dream world and the absurdity of daily life, with the intermediate function that contemplation of the scene suggests”. Furthermore, the organizer of this book, curator and researcher Antonio Carlos Suster Abdalla, coined the title A cidade eleita [The elected city] for an entire section of reproductions of her work. Cities condensed into their structures and indicative of a space of perfection, suggestive more of their soul than their materiality, by evoking, for example, the German cities destroyed in the Great War and from which the artist’s parents hailed, or even the new towns of Brazil to which they arrived, and that would present other kinds of difficulties, pertaining to cultural adaptation and the reconstruction of their identities. Utopian images of an ideal locus, full of musical scintillation, elevated by twilight colors high above the everyday reality and whose sublime architecture is capable of producing silent music, like that of stellar orbits. The subject has fascinating research possibilities, just touched upon here; however it is not the only one, and perhaps not even the most important one, in a visual adventure stretching more than fifty years, which demands, furthermore, the attention of all specialized knowledge.
1. BLAVATSKY, Helena Petrovna. A voz do silêncio [The voice of silence]. São Paulo, Editora Pensamento, 2nd Edition, 2011. The translation by Fernando Pessoa is dated 1916, in a volume published by Livraria Clássica Editora, Lisbon.

Alvaro Machado has been a visual arts critic since 1990, when he was deputy editor of the “Ilustrada” (Folha de S. Paulo newspaper) and “Caderno 2” (O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper) sections. He has contributed to Bravo!, CartaCapital and Revista da Cultura magazines, among others. He has translated, edited, undersigned introductory studies and notes for the reconstitution of a classic work of Persian literature, The Speech of the Birds, by Farid ud-Din Attar (1987). In the 2000s, he was responsible for the organization and coordination of books on cinema, photography, literature and fine arts, including Abbas Kiarostami, Thomaz Farkas – Notas de viagem, Claudia Andujar – A vulnerabilidade do ser, Aleksandr Sokúrov and Manoel de Oliveira, all published by Cosac Naify. Editor in chief of Opera Prima (São Paulo), a publishing firm, where he undersigned the introduction and editor’s notes of the historic reissue of Orgia – Os Diários de Tuli

Antonio Carlos Suster Abdalla

Absolute consistency
As a researcher and curator, I have been in close contact with Gisela Eichbaum’s drawings and paintings for over ten years. This has stood for an ongoing discovery that consolidates my conviction of coexisting with the work of an artist who was fully devoted to her craft. Gisela has sought and achieved absolute consistency in her career as an artist, which has spanned more than fifty years. The figurative beginnings of her endeavour carried a certain amount o f expressionism – quite an important movement in her native Germany at the time. Such influence set a definitive impression in her history as an artist and was shared in Brazil with artists like Lasar Segall, Karl Plattner and with Yolanda Mohalyi, in particular. During the 1940s and the 1950s, Gisela and Yolanda, who shared aesthetic affinities, became great friends. Yolanda had a large number of students and artist friends coming to her art studio in the city of São Paulo. An intense and ongoing exchange of information and experience took place there. In this environment, Gisela discovered her talent with watercolors. Yolanda often encouraged her students to paint the same subjects suggested or also painted by her. Many of the models who posed at the studio were depicted in paintings by Yolanda, Gisela and apparently by other pupil-artists – in a shared experience of great interest. If such works could be confronted, they would provide a laboratory of multiple and enriching results, either by the similarity of themes, or by the peculiarities of the artists’ traits. Many of the watercolors that Gisela painted during this period are fully dated (day/month/ year), which seems to reveal – according to information by students and friends of Yolanda and Gisela at the time, such as the painter and photographer Alice Brill, who confided it to me a few years ago – that the work was painted in one single day and duly noted. The quantity and quality of the works produced in those collective experiences are impressive and show the progress of Gisela Eichbaum in her eagerness to get colors and glazes more and more diaphanous – the ultimate aim of watercolor. The few canvases painted by Gisela also date back from this period, as she felt more comfortable developing her works on paper, a medium that was a permanent mark throughout her career as an artist. In her straightforward path towards abstraction, in the 1960s, Gisela was impacted by her brief experience with “Atelier Abstração”, an important movement founded in São Paulo by Samson Flexor, a Romanian who developed his skills in France. Urban landscapes and the elongated, static and mysterious figures painted in the previous decade, little by little began to fall apart. The works of the artist developed into a new, intense and definitive phase, now featuring comprehensive and refined colors. Combined with her line tracing ( which would award her drawings significant critical acclaim in the 1980s), such works paved the way for the definitive elimination of figure, a goal sought with discipline and persistence and achieved by the artist in exemplary accomplishments. The years 1970-1980 consolidated her very personal painting technique, always in paper medium. Exercising a great freedom of expression, Gisela gathered in the same work the various techniques she had been employing as yet. Indian ink, black lead, watercolor, gouache and even the ballpoint pen were merged in unique and surprising results. This was in no way excessive; on the contrary, these techniques integrated in images arising from intense work and balance. As to her later works, created between 1994 and 1996, some kind of graphism emerged amidst traces and colors. It was a seemingly automatic writing, a codified text that could be interpreted as the true confession of principles that governed her life as a painter and graphic artist. It seems fair to affirm that those are sentences from her artistic will, the legacy she left. This book is intended to address the leitmotiv of Gisela’s entire artistic journey, which included, in addition to the melancholy of a sensitive and attentive person forced to leave her native country, the discovery of a new world, compatible with everything she held as most important, and which took on a new impetus in the transfigured colors of the tropics, a mixture of safe haven and constant surprise. Raised in a traditional family of musicians dating back to the 17th century, Gisela has produced abstract works full of deep musical knowledge and sensitivity, an assertive and decisive hallmark of her work. Thus, the title of this volume intentionally refers to another book, conceived by Gisela and published in 1986, in a clear homage to her other strong passion in addition to painting: music. On that occasion, the artist organized her Songs without Words, a compilation of images carrying the same spirit as the small pieces of music from Mendelssohn’s homonym work. Alvaro Machado’s previously unpublished text, which is found in this book, enlightens us about the absolute importance of music to Eichbaum’s work. According to Alberto Teixeira, “one of the most characteristic notes of this imagery is the poetry of light, a unique and unmistakable light built with subtle emphasis on color and outlines, in daytime and nighttime effects, but predominantly crepuscular and half light, in dreamy or remembered landscapes, symbolizing and evoking multiple situations and experiences, or in abstractions that resemble uniquely harmonious pieces of music”. Gisela Eichbaum’s works were generally small-sized, yet they provide proof of the broad creative dimensions that led to the consolidation of a long-lasting artistic project.
January 2013 | Antonio Carlos Suster Abdalla has been a curator, a visual art researcher and a specialist in museumology since 1987. He has worked on exhibitions, researches and books with Aldemir Martins, Alice Brill, Arcângelo Ianelli, Burle Marx, Cássio Vasconcellos, Darel, Eduardo Muylaert, Emanoel Araújo, Fernando Odriozola, Heitor dos Prazeres, Jacques Douchez, Jorge Amado, Juan Esteves, Marcello Grassmann, Maria Bonomi, Mário Gruber, Niobe Xandó, Odetto Guersoni, Odires Milázho, Raquel de Queiroz, Santos Dumont, Tarsila do Amaral, Vânia Toledo and Vera Goulart, among several others.

Antonio Gonçalves Filho

Lyrical paintings and barbaric columns
[...] brings together 35 recent gouache paintings, dating from 1984, marking the return of the great German Gisela Eichbaum color artist [...]. The first detail that will inevitably be perceived in a solo exhibition by Gisela Eichbaum is the use of colors that were absent from her previous works, such as green, for example. At the age of 66, this former student of Yolanda Mohaly, Samson Flexor and Karl Plattner, initiated in the dramatic colours of expressionism, displays a mature style of work, full of musical references, like in the canvases of Paul Klee (also a great violinist). This is not, however, a tribute. “I don’t know how to explain my work”, says Gisela, modestly. “Music appears naturally [Gisela descends from a family of notable 18th Century German musicians (Bruch)] in these small paintings, perhaps because I listen to a lot of Bach, Schubert, Schumann and Haendel while I’m working.” [...] Sometimes, the colors are strong, like in a dramatic adage, where the color gray predominates. In other works, the artist resorts to that she calls “lost red”, as in one of Bach’s fugues, but since she left master Flexor’s studio, around 1947, she has only preferred cold colors, like blue, on rare occasions. Colors of war. In any case, the colors, today, 30 years after her first solo exhibiton at MAM in Sao Paulo, are more vivid and cheerful: “I came to Brazil in 1935, at the age of 15, escaping from the terrible experience of Nazi persecution. In the beginning, I drew macabre figures, with soldiers with lost looks, desperate human figures. I do not like to show these works. “
Folha de S. Paulo, São Paulo (SP), 3/11/1986

Enock Sacramento

The musical painting of Gisela Eichbaum
There is a very intimate relationship between music and painting, especially between instrumental music and abstract painting. Since Kandinsky, this approach has been clearly noted. In fact, both are perfect combinations. From combinations of notes or colors, in the richness of the possible qualitative and quantitative variations, in the infinite tonal gradations, works that are pure states of emotion and sensitivity arise [...]. Competent vis ual artists and musicians tend towards combinations that follow their own code, starting from a special way of seeing and feeling that leads them to produce works that are different from the works of other artists, preserving a whole unit, a dedicated language that gives them dignity and nobility. Gisela Eichbaum is a musical painter. In both senses, because having studied music at an early age, she ended up producing musical painting when older. She understood from an early age just what harmony, melody, rhythm and counterpoint were. And she has applied them in her current abstract paintings with sensitivity and a wisdom that only years of coexistence with materials and processes could enable one to exercise to the full [...].
Galeria Documenta, São Paulo (SP), March 1986

Flávio de Aquino

Musical painting
“The sounds, smells and colors are similar”, Baudelaire said. This is the case of Gisela Eichbaum [...]. Her art is entirely musical. Vague tones, forms that merge in a fluid medium, like sophisticated chamber music, creating oneiric combinations, dreams in which unidentified forms are involved in a thin colored fog. Her art is soft, somewhat mysterious and charming in its inability to be deciphered. A good exhibition.
Manchete, Rio de Janeiro (RJ), 3/15/1986

Geraldo Ferraz

Gisela Eichbaum is in her prime as a painter, in the conceptual imagination in which she exercises her unquestionable originality. Cities and still-lifes, the structures that support the themes that she approaches as the subjects of an always attentive inventiveness, without precipitations or clamor, in the deaf evocation of certain twilight hours, of certain incisions in which glass grooves are brought to the surface of this miraculous design, which participates in every unfathomable delicacy – are exhibited, loaded with a poetry and a mystery that are at the roots of creation. Rare is the case in which we would have in these works a drawing or a painting in which there was a not minimum of appreciation, revelation, communication of the subjective world that informs it. It is in fact a product of this inner wealth, these dream stocks, from where Gisela emerges with so many qualities and worth. A difficult artist for those who seek mechanics at the surface, for those who turn away from a subjective pressure surpassing all realities, but without a doubt hovering between dreams and everyday absurdities, with the intermediate function of the scenario that the contemplation suggests. A feeling for line, a feeling for color, deep qualities of patient research, this is the example that is in Gisela’s production, what we would ask from life to let her keep developing.
Gisela Eichbaum Retrospective Exhibition – 40 Years of Painting and Drawing, São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP), São Paulo (SP), and Brazilian American Cultural Institute, Washington (USA), 1983

José Neistein

When Gisela started painting, the world was at war, mankind lived long days of anguish. Gisela was part of that anguish and went on to register it significantly in her canvases. Her first painting is dated from 1944. Her first artistic period goes from then until 1960. And it is from this period that the 20 paintings, seen in public for the first time in this exhibition, come from. For Gisela’s friends and admirers, accustomed to seeing her drawings and gouache paintings, abstract and lyrical works, of musical beauty, this exhibition will be a surprise, but also a revelation, in many ways. Some of Gisela’s favorite colors and their combinations were already in their genesis in this period, such as gray, blue, black, for example, and her taste for shadow. The privilege of being able now to see the canvases of that phase and compare them to recent gouache paintings and drawings that accompany them in this exhibition, is in being able to see, absorb and compare the beginning of Gisela’s genetic process of artistic creation to what she has done in the last 30 years, and to note that there is a logic, a continuous thread in her 50-year artistic career. But this exhibiton is more than this: it’s more than the observation of a congruence in formal and chromatic development of the artist, because her figurative expressionism of the 1940s and 1950s already contain and foreshadow the deepening of her lyrical qualities, which would come to be so intensely recorded in her abstract and informal expressionism. The characters that Gisela painted at that time, full of amazement in their gaze at the absurdity of what was going on around them and to which they were innocent victims, express fear, insecurity and anguish, but they do not express hatred or resentment. There is tenderness and a solidarity that unites them, from the individual portraits to family groups, siblings, friends and couples, and the anonymous masses in the streets. There is also a hope in the eyes of all those human beings that lets us see the compassion with which Gisela sees them and the light that she lets us glimpse at the end of the tunnel. In retrospect, it is this light that now allows us to anticipate all mankind, all the lyricism that fuels Gisela’s work and gives us back our belief in man.
Casa das Artes Gallery, São Paulo (SP), September 1995

José Neistein

[...] in 1970 [...] what most impressed me was the calligraphic nervousness and the fantastic architecture, although abstract, of her black and white drawings, and also the delicacy and the balance in her use of color in her gouache creations. Today, 12 years later – years in which I closely followed the development of the abstract-expressionist line in Gisela’s work with regards to those two techniques – and at the moment when I write these words for the catalog for the exhibition celebrati ng 40 years of the artist’s work, it occurs to me that only recently did I have the opportunity to see her production as a whole, of which a representative selection is gathered for this retrospective exhibition. As a result of this opportunity given to me to experience during a very intense and vibrant afternoon at the artist’s studio, several basic observations came to my mind. To begin with, the abstraction that began in the 1960s in Gisela’s production is a natural consequence of the para-expressionistic representation that she had cultivated over the previous two decades. But it is a natural development that was also followed by progressive inner release. Gisela’s early paintings are of a projective character, and they are full of angst and morbid fantasies. As one’s artistic learning progresses, one’s personality deepens and one’s level of awareness becomes more acute. In the final period of her representations, her portraits, urban landscapes and still-lifes, color and form merge, increasingly objective and cohesive, and less and less pent up. Once shape and color have fused, from there to expressive informality was a small step. But a difficult step that had to be taken. Gisela did it her way, with timidity and excessive self-criticism at the beginning – hence the severity of her compositions in the late 1950s and early 1960s – with growing lyricism and a dreamlike freedom later. Not that the anxiety has disappeared from her work; what happened was that it ceased to be purely psychologically projective and was transformed into aesthetically valid shape and color. Restrained in her artistic substance, she now appears as a metamorphosis and has been freed by her own creation, integrated into the global nature of her work. And it is with musicality and modesty, which are the essential marks of an artist who reaches her full maturity now and who, therefore, conquered the legitimacy to come to the public today and show how all this has happened over 40 years, in the midst of joy and sorrow, revelation and disenchantment, discouragement and courage, setbacks and advances, belief in her work, belief in life, to the amazement of all the ghosts.
Gisela Eichbaum Retrospective Exhibition – 40 Years of Painting and Drawing, São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP), São Paulo (SP), and Brazilian American Cultural Institute, Washington (USA), 1983

Lisetta Levi

Forty years of uninterrupted work, in which the artist departed from realism to reach the delicate transparency of her landscapes. In watching the development of this work, we are witnessing a process of liberation: from matter to spirit. The initial theme was the human figure, which Gisela transcended to represent its visionary homes, small shapes that outline themselves in space, supported by a lightweight design that combines the shapes. The poetry of these works is due to the fact that each work is born of the inner life of the artist – like mysterious writing. The cubist forms that dissolve into space, a cosmic space that does not belong to any particular place. When the works are vertical, the forms intertwine and rise – in a Gothic ascension – when they are horizontal, they extend - coming together in a kind of andante sostenuto. They are melodies sung between the earth and the sky. A great artist and champion of color, Gisela may even allow herself to use pink – but never overuse it. Pinks and grays, and sometimes blacks floating in space – not on Earth and not in heaven – in the same space where the artist herself is. Gisela has a refined sense of rhythm: even her red circles, which appear suddenly in the middle of an andante, are musical counterpoints. All these landscapes form a matching set in which each work stands out for its creativity, forming a series of “variations on the same theme”. Gisela’s delicate work touches me deeply, while I connect with her floating shapes, her sense of mistery becomes mine. In this work, what Paul Klee said about art is evident: “the invisible has become visible.”
Gisela Eichbaum Retrospective Exhibition – 40 Years of Painting and Drawing, São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP), São Paulo (SP), Brazilian American Cultural Institute, Washington (USA), 1983, and Aquarela Gallery, Campinas (SP), 1985

Marcos Rizzolli

Mutations of visual consciousness
“I tried to express the terrible passions of humanity through red and green.” With these considerations, Van Gogh initiates expressionistic meaning. Not the artistic movement. The meaning behind it. In Paris, Van Gogh initiates experimenting with a style of painting involving flaming brushstrokes that seemed to blossom from intense passion. When we visualize his paintings, we can easily observe his restless and insurgent state of spirit. From Norw ay, Edvard Munch also created a form of art as disturbing as a nightmare. Together, they were the forefathers of a type of art that developed mainly in German painting, which intends – by means of a violent visual expression – to transmit social and moral values beyond form/ representation. “Suffering is eternal.” A link is established: the figurative. In Brazil, we have two exponents of expressionism: Anita Malfatti and Lasar Segall; Segall was a master and, consequently, he had followers. Two artists who were fundamental for our art found nourishment in his art: Lívio Abramo and Yolanda Mohaly. Lívio was a master of engraving. Mohaly is a painter. Gisela Eichbaum was a student of Mohaly and, from her, Gisela acquired all her expressive expressionist talent. A figurative beginning. Figuration in Gisela’s works is based on the principles of expression. No refined visual theories. The human figure is an anatomical, logical and rational simplification that transmits the essence: emotion. What is the use for perspective? Situations without traditional optical illusions provide emphasis on the subject: landscapes, natural objects, man. Color is silent. Dense and neutral. Its contours reveal images: it begins to outline a refined design that will, from then on, engage all of Gisela’s artistic production. That’s where her preference for landscapes begins. After Dada’s surrealist achievements, abstract expressionism arises. Now, further development hails from North America. It is post-war. It is visual automatism: geometric or informal. Reason and emotion (old ramblings and/or doubts). Emotion – abstract and expressionistic – will reach its peak in the new work by Gisela Eichbaum. Without figurative parameters, her art takes on a resourcefulness that establishes an original relationship: a visual experience adapted to form, colour and graphism. Form is not always perceived, outlined. The color is constant, sometimes neutral, sometimes provocative of effects and visual resources of infinite plasticity. Graphism interferes in space and creates compositional options. Gouache is the basic material: coverage or dilution. Washed out: watercolor. The velvet of pastel chalk. The lines are sensitive and noble, even when outlined with the pen. Colors/shapes move in space. Always in the background without a horizon. Always in an area without representative logic. Always expression [...].
Correio Popular, Campinas (SP), 4/10/1985

Mário Schenberg

[...] beautiful black and white drawings of recent years, which have gradually acquired the character of fantastic landscapes. The figurative tendency gained momentum in a broadly involuntary or perhaps even unconscious manner. At a time when her fantastic black and white drawings achieved a highly satisfactory level, Gisela felt the need to return to color. At the 8th Biennial of Art, some of her early compositions were exhibited from her colored Indian ink phase, dating from 1963 and 1964. Si nce then Gisela has made remarkable progress in her color work, which has gradually lost the character of colorful drawings to become authentic paintings. At this stage, her paintings are far less figurative than in her color phase prior to 1960. Gisela Eichbaum is an artist of exceptional sensitivity, with a remarkable command of a refined technique [...]. Her color, delicacy and extreme discretion, tend towards the creation of a world of soft silent musicality. Gisela’s last work in color communicates a form of musicality with a rhythmic structure of durations. There is a multidimensional temporality in them, without any linear direction: an emotional floating from stain to stain in an intuitive touch. It creates a feeling of freedom and inner peace with a peculiar dreamlike note. Gisela’s contemplative vision seems to take on a sense of awakening, even without a defined direction or precise dimensionality.
São Luís Gallery, São Paulo (SP), 1966

Pietro Maria Bardi

In the MASP program plan, which since its foundation has championed the most diverse of tendencies, with as much information as possible being its principle, this is an exhibition that deals with a period in which Brazil accommodated artists who came from Germany and affirmed Expressionism with a local accent. In addition to the great Lasar Segall, here is a painter who is part of that broad phenomenon, a consequence of the crisis derived from the restlessness that had followed the First World War, provocateur of encounters, misunderstandings and controversies of the numerous paths that took part in the reaction to Impressionism. Throughout our generation, the affirmation of concern and perplexity matured in the 1920s revealed itself, determining currents that overcame the external consideration of reality, in the search for meaning, messages and animations. Gisela’s participation, with her spontaneous expression, stands out, revolting against the “noble inventions” of the classics, obligingly followed by academics, in one of the many decisive moments of the poetic landscape of the 1900s, which dissolved into freer, antitraditional manifestations.
Gisela Eichbaum Retrospective Exhibition – 40 Years of Painting and Drawing, Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP), São Paulo (SP), and Brazilian American Cultural Institute, Washington (U.S.), 1983