Carlos Martins (1946 - )


Aquatint on paper
height: 27cm
width: 26.5cm

Donated by Carlos Martins 1998


Martins had received a British Academy grant to study architecture at Edinburgh University between 1973 and 1975, and in his final year he studied etching at the Slade, London, where he also went on to take a specialised course in printmaking techniques. Journey to Portugal is a series of individually titled engravings produced during this time, of which UECLAA has three examples. Randufe is one of several engravings from this series to address the depiction of exterior space. Here, the simplified trees that appear in other engravings are distilled even further into geometrically precise cones, while the ground is reduced to what appears to be a flat tabletop, the horizon broken into a sharp corner. Like À noite em Setil the composition generates confusion between the interior and exterior, while the stylised, object like trees disorientate the viewer 's sense of scale. This effect is reversed in a 1977 series of etchings, where diminutive trees are grouped amongst other objects in a still life composition, and in the 1979 work Two Trees on the Table. While undertaking specialist training in printmaking technique, Martins was also gaining close familiarity with historic works at the Print Rooms of the British Museum. The series title is perhaps inspired by M. Link's famous 1797 work 'Voyage en Portugal', a visual record of travel through regions of Portugal concentrating, unusually for the time, on personal rather than monumental landmarks. Journey to Portugal is therefore an early indication of Martins' interest in the European tradition of the traveller-artist. On returning to Brazil Martins became particularly interested in 'Brasiliana': works by 19th century European artists documenting their impressions of travelling to Brazil.

Isobel Whitelegg, 2008

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