The art of Luciana Lupe Vasconcelos (b 1982) and Darcilio Lima (1944-1991)
Curated by Stephen Romano Gallery for the Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magick, Cleveland OH.
July 1 through September 30 2022.
This will be the first major institutional exhibition in the United States for both artists.
The Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magick in Cleveland Ohio and Stephen Romano Gallery in Brooklyn New York are pleased to announce their latest collaboration in an ongoing series of exhibitions curated by Stephen Romano for this amazing venue.
The exhibition features the art of Brazilian artists Luciana Lupe Vasconcelos (b 1982) and the late Darcilio Lima (1944-1991), exhibiting together for the first time ever, entitled “MAGIA PROTETORA” (protective magic) will open July 1 2022, and continue through September 30.
Brazil has a rich tradition of Afro-Brazilian religions, sometimes considered by non-practitioners to be a form of witchcraft or black magic, “and being impregnated with devil worship”. Most notably, the “Macumba”, which is a term of Bantu origins, has been used to describe various religions of the African diaspora found in Brazil and elsewhere in South America
The Atlantic slave trade of the 16th to 19th centuries displaced millions of West and Central Africans to Brazil. There, traditional African religions continued to be practiced, often amalgamating and then combining with both indigenous and European influences. Among the Afro-Brazilian religious traditions that emerged were Candomblé, Umbanda, and Quimbanda. During the 19th century, the term Macumba was used generically in reference to all of these religions.
By the late 20th century, the term was often reserved for those religious traditions whose focus was on dealing with “low” spirits, who were sometimes termed “exus” or devils. These practices differed from Candomblé and Umbanda, which focused on interactions with the “orixá” (spirits that play a key role in the Yoruba religion of West Africa). *
Exhibition curator, art collector and private art dealer Stephen Romano says:
“Both Luciana and Lima’s art embodies the generosity of spirit the Buckland Museum perpetuates amongst it’s community of supporters and visitors. The art, albeit esoteric and occult in nature, bestows blessings, not curses. In the case of both artist the works are intended to manifest magic itself, conjuring a cloak that protects from malevolent forces not only around the creators themselves, but also to the custodians of the artworks who bless their homes with them.“
“It was serendipitous that I discovered Darcilio Lima’s art (or rather it discovered me) in an obscure auction in London, ten years ago. I was shaken by the profound and sublime quality of the art … I set out to acquire as many examples of this artist’s work as I could, it became an obsession, and since that time we’ve been able to raise awareness of the artist by lending works to some major cultural institutions as well as exposing the art in important art fairs and exhibitions.
Darcilio is a spiritual brother to me, and I feel a similarly strong connectedness with the artist Luciana Lupe Visconcelos, whom I believe is an artist, in our time, of the magnitude of Marjorie Cameron and Rosaleen Norton, both major figures in the canon of esoteric art.
To aspire to enter the pantheon of greatness, I look for these things in an artist … One, is technical proficiency — to me, the artist must be able to execute their craft with integrity in order to have credibility with their audience. Two, their art must be about something visionary, and the viewer can return to throughout their lifelong interaction with the art and remain engaged. And finally, it’s in the execution of the works, how the proficiency and the vision come together through the artist’s touch, and is ultimately what will make them inspire awe within the viewer.“
DARCILIO LIMA (1944 – 1991)
Darcilio Lima was born in the small northern Brazilian fishing village of Cascavel and lived most of his time there in destitution. He was however, praised for his artistic ability and by the age of 10 was awarded a show of his art at his school. He thus realized at a very early age that art making was his way of being socially praised, and prioritized it. At the age of 14, he left his rural life and moved to Rio de Janeiro, and quickly and frantically immersed himself in the underworld of drugs and sexuality, also absorbing all he could about art, religion, alchemy, science fiction and philosophy.
Soon after he had a mental breakdown and was admitted as an out-patient at a local mental facility. There, he was discovered by the well-known Brazilian artist Ivan Serpa, who took him in and mentored him in printmaking at his home and studio for the next few years. Lima began receiving accolades and awards in the Brazilian art world, partaking in several prestigious exhibitions and being awarded a travel grant to Europe where he met with the likes of Salvador Dali and Jadorowski, among other notables, while living in a cemetery.
Just at the height of his accomplishment, climaxing with a solo exhibition and the publication of the book “Diafragma” Darcilio Lima simply disappears. He was found a decade later by a journalist back in his hometown, disheveled and speaking in gibberish, living off the generosity of the church in a dirt floor back room. The church had convinced him his works were profane, and he set out to destroy all of it, which accounts for the scarcity of his work today.
“Before starting drawing one of his works, Darcilio already has his central theme predetermined in his mind’s eye… His creative hours are spent almost in a trance, while his pen runs smoothly and without interruption over the sheet of paper…
… It was then that he started his long battle against the dragons of lust, who, in his opinion, are all incarnated in the mysticism of the Roman Church. It is against this mysticism that he seeks to illustrate the sanctity of erotic love…
To Darcilio, human genitalia represents man’s destiny, from which there is no possible escape. The openings of the human body, represented by him in detail, they are more a kind of denial of human flesh… his drawings are never sensual, but of a tragic genre with distressing symbolic elements…“
– John Mitchell, London 1974, excerpted from the book “Diafragma”
At the relatively young age of 47, Darcilio Lima had an accident and died. His work fell into obscurity until the past few years, when curators for important institutions such as the Met Museum in New York and the Reina Sophia Museum in Madrid have included his art in important exhibitions.
Darcilio Lima’s first exhibition in America “Darcilio Lima MAGNUM OPUS” took place in 2014 at the Stephen Romano Gallery in New York, with an accompanying catalog with essay written by Barbara Saffarove of the prestigious ABCD Collection in Paris. His works have been exhibited at art fairs including The Outside Art Fair, The Metro Show, Pulse Art Fair and Scope Art Fair in New York.
“Darcilio Lima had strong ties to the Brazilian avant-garde of the 1960s and 1970s, especially Ivan Serpa, who mentored the younger artist between 1967 and 1969. Lima’s figurative, densely symbolic work takes a very different direction than many other Brazilian artists at the time, who embraced geometric abstraction. This work gives form to a fabulous hallucinatory universe presided over by a bestiary of hybrids and mutants. In Lima’s work, polymorphism of gender and sexuality rule, while opposites of every kind—human and creature, pleasure and violence, power and submission—are fused.”
– Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
“In Darcilio Lima an arresting talent for transforming eroticism emerges. It is precious. Despite the near institutionalization of the erotic in the Brazilian art scene Darcilio’s expression remains deeply and appositely personal, while sustaining a dialogue, mythically rich and protean, on, or about, our global metaphysical welfare.”
– the renowned writer R. Beresford Evans, 1971.
“By the creation of new links between hypertrophied organs, and multiple arms and limbs, Lima invents a new cosmogony. The alchemist’s art and artistic creation overlap without any possibility of separation: the crown of perfection symbolizes the ultimate completion.”
– Barbara Saforova, President of ABCD Art Brut, Paris, excepted from “Darcílio Lima’s Opus Magnum” 2014.
Luciana Lupe Vasconcelos (b.1982)
“Vasconcelos is not just a powerful art-witch. She is a sociologist who has diagnosed an imbalance of energies polluting our celestial plane. She is also healer who has prescribed the proper remedy– a concoction of feminine and masculine energies to enrich our stagnant cosmos. And Vasconcelos is also a communicator, endowed with the skills often given to activists, politicians, teachers, and very good friends. She communicates through the universal language of imagery, the only language powerful enough to reach the entire world, and to heal a bloody psychic wound.“
“Majestic, Twisted, Fragile, Powerful, Magical, Otherworldly, Haunting are some of the words that come to my mind as I gaze at the unreal paintings of Luciana Lupe Vasconcelos. This self-taught artist creates paintings that are brimming with occult mysteries that will leave you with a grand sense of amazement.“
“ With a dark, surrealist feel, these ink drawings create a fantastic aesthetic, channeling the occult and themes of darkness in her gorgeous hand-made illustration. By tapping into the collective symbolism of mythology, Vasconcelos creates art that is both familiar— resonating with our cultural memory— yet these poetic & haunting works of art are new, compelling, and unique.“
Luciana Lupe Vasconcelos is a contemporary Brazilian artist residing in the mountain town of Teresopolis, Brazil. Her art explores the realms of the mythic, the mystical and the occult through the use of traditional techniques, with a particular focus on the exploration of automatism in water-based media. Her very distinctive style alludes to influences from symbolism and surrealism and marks a continuation of the tradition of women artists working with the subjects of magic and the occult.
She has illustrated numerous book both in English and in Portuguese, including a Brazilian edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”. Her work has been exhibited internationally and was featured across online and printed media alike.
Stephen Romano Gallery has presented her art in numerous group exhibitions including “NO STARS – A TWIN PEAKS tribute exhibition in 2019 in New York, “”APPARITIONS” specters, conjures and the paranormal ..” at the Buckland Museum of Witchcraft in 2021 and the artist was highlighted in a major feature on MONSTERBRAINS.com while Stephen Romano was curator in residence. The artist was also included in the groundbreaking exhibition at New Yorks “The Living Gallery” entitled “GENUS SORORUM”, an exhibition of images and works by living women artists who deal with themes of witchcraft, magic, esoterica.
Luciana was asked whether as a practitioner or scholar in the arcane art informs her artistic process:
“For the past 10 years or so I’ve been what is known as an ‘armchair occultist’, at least for the most part. The occult in its many variations was mostly an inspiration, an obsession that generated visions I transmitted to the paper or canvas. With the exception of a brief period in which I did devotions for the goddess Babalon, it was only about books.
In a sense my art-making was the practice, and it still is, there is much magic in that.
What I found out recently is that there is a whole other world in regards to the spiritual that I mostly ignored until it approached me by its own will. It’s hard to resist the cult of Exu and Pombagira if you have the right eyes to see – and the right heart to feel. They will find you, eventually. These divinized ancestor spirits are imposing and can be quite demanding, but if you treat them well, you’ll be rewarded profusely.
So now I’m on this path, the path of ancestor worshipping. It’s a path of strengthening and healing, and of course, of sorcery. Very hands-on and demanding. And it’s a genuinely Brazilian tradition.”
Luciana cites as influences, Austin Austin Osman Spare and Marjorie Cameron, Alister Crowley, Dion Fortune, Kenneth Grant, Peter Grey, Alejandro Jodorowsky, William Blake, W. B. Yeats, Remedios Varo. Leonora Carrington and Leonor Fini’.
One of her greatest influences is Darcilio Lima, of which she says:
“The enigma of Darcílio Lima entered my life just a few years after I moved to the same town he lived in 31 years before. His name had just been brought back to public attention on the occasion of the first exhibition of his work since his untimely death in 1991, which I missed by only a few months.
One of the many articles about the exhibition reached me and that was that; I became hopelessly entangled in Lima’s mysterious threads. As an artist that favors the line, I found in Darcílio Lima to be the master I never had.“
Luciana continues: “It was a very powerful convergence back then, and this contact energized my own work immensely. I consider Darcílio Lima an ancestor, someone who came before me and to whose lineage I belong. In a way, my work is a continuation of his.“
Exhibition curator Stephen Romano concludes:
“Both Luciana and Lima’s art manifest this awe and in sharing this art with the world in this historic exhibtion we hope to open a portal that will affirm the healing power of art, especially in these ever bewildering times“
BUCKLAND MUSEUM OF WITCHCRAFT AND MAGICK
2155 Broadview Rd.
Cleveland, OH 44109