When considered as a concept, the work of Susi Sielski Cantarino supports multiple readings. These, ambivalent or even conflicting, will not satisfy the burden of mystery of which their purpose consists. She will continue steadfast before our attempts to decipher, although our quests encounter very rewarding moments there, and every so often our perception is misled by emerging and most unsuspecting veins.

It would be by no means an error to identify in this work the accents of a personal or collective pain that transmutes into hope. As it would also be sure for someone to perceive an analogy between this obscure past and a disturbing present of their worst apparitions. And surely more certain still would they be who, incorporating these angles in each other, know how to capture how much dialectic complementariness unites them.  

This is an enigma built only from our certainties and beyond our fears, precisely on the point of intersection between her personal mythology and the world's woes. The author, not by chance a Borges reader, here and there in this maze, subtly studded it with small constellations - some mystic, others philosophical, and others even historic - pointing to the Insurmountable, such as warning us against the sterility of any reductionist interpretation. An enigma that demands of our gaze something beyond mere identification of its premises or motivations: in fact what it demands of us is a more universalising interpretation, only compatible with its dimension of a larger work.


When considered as form, this current stage in Susi's work continues for her concept in absolute symmetry, with regard to its proteiform character and multi-polarity. She mobilizes a vocabulary of sophisticated contemporariness to transmit her truth to the spectator. Nevertheless, at this moment of invention and Discovery, where the new interpretation, quotation, paraphrase, mimesis, appropriation and even parody invite the complicity of the most experienced glance, add certain references of no lesser importance. Certain references informally vernacular and even archaicising to collage, folds, marouflage, embroidery, such as were practiced in their popular origins, linked to the handicraft of the applied arts.


This duality running through the work sometimes acts as a truce for the eye, invited to pleasurably Wander from the more densely connoted reading of meanings to the most immediately lucid, where the light subtleties of this extraordinary craftsmanship are satisfied in her artful simplicity. Not to lose sight, however, that this gamut of notations is not there by chance, or merely ornamental - and much less as shorter moments - of the work, but how they punctuate on different clefs the same virtues of handwriting. Handwriting exercised equally as mastery of the archaic and vanguard. Something like a jazz player or atonalist re-reading Bach.


And precisely this double registration that oscillates between complex and majestic architecture of cantata and the embroidered line of singing seems to visually represent those pairs of opposites - pain and pleasure, hope and despair - in which Susi is based to venture into this sumptuous inventory of the memory of her friendships, experiences, roots. Rarely has an artist's metaphor fitted a disguise, on the form plane, so well.


Some lines above, the term spectator instead of contemplator occurred to me with regard to Susi's creation. This is because, before it, none of us - not even the least demanding or sensitive - would contemplate solely this set of such instigating proposals. Very much to contrary, each of us will be exactly involved in that which implies spectacle, in the etymological sense of the word.


Susi reinvents her own and the memory of her dear ones in a scene where she lived is reworked. Not in the resentful and self-flagellating key of a complaint, much less in that of aestheticising escapism. Here her voice joins those that knew how to do so in the austere key of the tragic. And this is precisely why, with no cheap dramatizations or cliché sentimentalisms. From the top of a rigorous and innovative domain of media, which already imposes at first glance, she offers us yet another new fantasy: serene and transcendent, and what she gives us is a vision of the world. A vision where the terrible and the playful coexist like chords from which we all hang, manipulated perhaps by chance, perhaps by an Order unknown to us. At the portal to this universe that her work reveals to us, it seems that we hear her repeat with Nietzsche: For joy, although woe be deep, joy is deeper still than grief can be.

Ruy Sampaio, Rio de Janeiro, novembro de 2005