Desirée Monjardim (1948 - )


Etching on paper
height: 25cm
width: 256cm

Donated by Desirée Monjardim 1995


Desirée Monjardim began her career as a printmaker with woodcut, but developed her most significant body of work after joining the Oficina de Gravura do Museu do Ingá (Niterói) in 1984. Here she was taught metal engraving and perfected this technique into the development of a series of works that combine coloured line and black ground.

The effect of this reduced palette is one of visual intensity. The clarity obtained by her precise technique brings the work close to abstract painting. Commentators have often drawn comparisons between Monjardim's printmaking and Malevich's painting, thus locating her within a tradition of abstraction in Brazil (as represented by Concretism and Neoconcretism, two movements for whom a critical approach to the work of Malevich was significant).

The red used here is sanguine; it is used for its visceral associations as much as for its optical effect. This non-objective attitude towards the affectivity of colour again brings her close to the subjective and expressive position established by Brazilian abstraction. Such comparisons recall the fact that the history of printmaking in Brazil is one that has been closely engaged with painting, without the hierarchies of media characteristic of the clearer division between the two practices in the modern history of art in Europe. Further approximation to painting is brought about by Monjardim's attention to overall shape; here she uses a sheet of paper that, like the line it contains, is vastly elongated. In other works she has used circular paper, which echoes the circularity of a red line shining out from black ground.

Isobel Whitelegg, 2008

browse the collection

artist a-z > work type > advanced search >