When Silence lets itself be surprise


Ink, graphite, paper, line, tracing, trace, contour, the pencil circulates and inscribes on the paper sinuous textures that dilute in clouds, as if crossing a watering, to quickly flow in constellations. Full drawings, where all shapes are possible, where emptiness justifies the whole, and where each drawing holds, as an assumed risk share, its own temporary truth. Thus, cartographies populated of uncertainties, botanical territories almost invisible as well as other farther   cosmologies sway in an extraordinary movement between the highly controlled and the highly sensitive.


I met Isabel Correia on a dance floor. Unlikely place, a restaurant, that we imagine willingly open at irregular and late hours, with something hardly identifiable common to these American, roadside restaurants, which all of us have already seen in movies or pictures and is part of our collective imaginary. Apparently uniform, sloping roof, glass façade, isolated on the riverside as if it had run aground, from which techno music came out whining uneasy to cover the continuous car noise at high speed on the bridge.


Isabel, penetrated by the music rhythm, danced, jumped, moved in an energetic gesture in all directions, exactly here in this spot in the waterfront where, pushed away by the Tagus river in a last farewell, the ships printed charcoal colour furrows, carved in a silver reflex of the full moon in the water.

In the midst of this clamour and a lively dialogue, I told her about my conversations on the topic silence. Drawing lines, tracing shades, defines our way of being in the world. We can sketch noises or trace silences. Quickly Isabel Correia develops her own thoughts as if she were unrolling her drawings. Immediately I thought about the tiredness which makes us more attentive, offers us a special attention and can guide our sight. None of this.

Her conviction is that abandonment is necessary for the drawing to arise. Without silence there is no drawing. Conviction that stimulates her and dictates her destiny. My body is the drawing, the world is our drawing. It needs courage to let go of the temporal; it is needed that the morning mist dispels to enable a clear vision. The spirit passes by, slides, parades, enlightens, wanders without ever settling down.

Impermanence, the very nature of the living and the principle of uncertainty are research themes in Isabel Correia’s work guiding the methodology of her practice. To compromise with certainties is to fail regrettably, she says. But in order to dwell in this abandonment that the drawing practice requires it is necessary that the inner activity of the body be at rest, we need to find an inner peaceful path, a silence that doesn’t disturb this ‘let go as life flows’.

A natural abandonment, free from thoughts, from perfection automatisms, from concerns with appearances, knokcking down the boundaries between us and all kinds of life. It is about forgetting everything, even ourselves for a while. Then, there starts, between outer and inner side, an endless exchange, a natural revitalizing cycle. This consciousness is the active silence.

Isabel Correia, who is familiar with both Buddhism and meditation, surely agrees with me, when reminded of the words of a shoemaker from a little German village from XVII century, Jakob Bohme, who says “ When you remain at rest of thinking and from your own self will, then, the ear, the sight and eternal word will manifest in you...”



Maria de Morais Oliveira

Lisbon, 2 August 2014




Quand le silence se laisse surprendre.


Encre, graphite, papier. Ligne, tracé, trait, contour. Le fusain circule, textures sinueuses creusées dans le blanc du papier, fond en nuage, comme si baigné dans une solution aqueuse et rebondit un peu plus loin en constellation. Dessins chargés, où toutes les formes sont possibles, où les vides se justifient des pleins et où chaque dessin détient, en prise de risque assumée, sa vérité temporaire. Ainsi oscillent, dans un extraordinaire sens du mouvement, entre le très contrôlé et le très sensible, cartographies teintés d’incertitude, des territoires presque invisibles de la botanique et d’autres plus lointains de la Cosmologie.

J’ai fait la connaissance de Isabel Correia sur une piste de danse un soir d’été. Lieu improbable, un restaurant que l’on imagine volontiers ouvert à des heures irrégulières et seulement le soir, avec un je-ne-sais-quoi commun à ces restaurants américains en bord de route, comme ceux qu’on voit dans les films ou en photo, à défaut de les voir en vrai. Apparemment uniforme, toit incliné, façades vitrées, isolé, comme s’il avait échoué sur la marge du fleuve et d’où sortait une sorte de cri lancinant de musique techno qui peinait à couvrir le vrombissement monotone des voitures roulant à grande vitesse sur le pont. Isabel y dansait, sautant et gesticulant énergiquement dans tous les sens, ici même, dans ce lieu au bord de l’eau où dehors, emportés par la rapidité du Tage, les navires laissaient derrière eux un trait noir charbon, creusé dans le reflet argent de la pleine lune dans l’eau.

Au milieu de ce vacarme et d’un dialogue animé je lui fais part de mes conversations ayant comme thème le silence. Dessiner des lignes, des traits ou des tâches, imprime notre façon d’être au monde. On peut griffonner du bruit ou tracer des silences. Très vite Isabel déroule sa pensée comme si elle déroulait ses dessins J’ai tout d’abord songé à la fatigue qui rend attentif, qui confère une attention particulière ou qui peut réorienter le regard. Pas du tout. Pour le dessin, sa conviction, c’est l’abandon pour laisser advenir. Sans silence pas de dessin. Conviction qui l’anime et dicte son destin. Mon corps est le dessin, le monde est notre dessin. Il faut donc avoir le courage de quitter le temporel, que les brumes matinales se dissipent pour rétablir une vision claire. L’esprit passe, défile, illumine, vagabonde sans jamais se fixer. L’impermanence, nature propre du vivant et le principe d’incertitude, sujets de recherche dans l’œuvre de Isabel Correia, orientent la méthodologie de sa pratique. S’engager dans la certitude, s’est échoué lamentablement, dit-elle. Mais pour « être sans le vouloir » que la pratique du dessin authentique demande, il importe que l’activité intérieure soit au repos, il faut un chemin de paix intérieur, un silence qui ne perturbe pas ce « laisser aller comme la vie va ». Un « sans-vouloir » naturel, libéré de la pensée rayonnante, des automatismes de perfection, de la préoccupation des apparences. Abattre les frontières entre le soi et le vivant de toutes choses. Il s’agit bien de tout oublier jusqu’à l’abandon du moi pour un temps. Alors, un échange incessant s’engage, extérieur – intérieur, un cycle naturel de revitalisation. Cette conscience est silence actif.

Isabel Correia, qui puise ses connaissances dans la pratique du bouddhisme et de la méditation ne me contrariera pas, si je lui rappelle quelques paroles d’un maître cordonnier d’un petit village en Allemagne du XVII siècle, Jakob Böhme, qui dit – « Lorsque tu te tiens dans le repos du penser et du vouloir de ton existence propre, alors l’ouïe, la vue, et la parole éternelles se manifestent en toi… »


Maria de Morais Oliveira

Lisboa 2 Aout 2014




Landscape Project: Phenomena


PHENOMENA is a natural continuing of ‘Lines All-Ready There’ project, of f 2012, which is made up of a number of prints drawn from real as well as unreal aerial territories. There is a set of new images which are going to populate Phenomena landscapes: ancient cosmological maps, images of the Cosmos, botanical drawings and landscapes – where the almost invisible microcosmic, close world intertwines with the far out, almost unreal macro cosmos.

The work’s intention/purpose is to investigate the reality in its 3 base qualities: impermanent, incomplete and unsubstantial which aim at tracing the Middle way, where the phenomena are ‘neither existent nor non existent, neither both nor any of them’ where ‘form is emptiness, and emptiness is form’*, matter is space, the apparent substantiality is unsubstantial, the illusion of what is defined is undeterminative. This uncertainty molds the work’s content and guides the practice methodology. The drawings unroll themselves; organically compose themselves of lines, marks and textures windingly elaborated and of gestural traces ploughed in the white ground of the paper sheet. The drawings are unplanned travels, attentively listening upon each area, each element showing the direction of the next.

There is a continuous dialogue of herbs’ lines, which gives rise to wind shades, transmuting themselves in dust constellations, melting in watery modulations, in steamy textures that strike upon the leaves’ veins, rocks sedimentations, that sometimes are brutally erased and suspended in a senseless void, ... suddenly, the leaves' vibrations ramify in the paper grain. This is a path of matter and spirit, where space is the protagonist enhanced by form.


Drawing Practice Intention

Authentic drawing happens when there is an absorption in the present moment, an interest in the course itself that the drawing is tracing as it manifests, with a silent attention to the dialogue that develops between the drawer and the drawing, with no worries about the attaining results / (results to attain).

The intention in the inscription process is to abandon as much as possible the self-conscious composition sense, the aesthetical judgments of the outcomes, (is) to let reality itself guide the line, knowing to stop when personal intention starts to interfere and puts upon what is already there.

This a path of recognition, a continuous dance of attention to the present moment, without changing it, modifying, manipulating, without lousing the guide line which links the present moment to reality, made out of ups, downs, pauses, destructions, beginnings and restartings.

When we draw, we are simply trying to express in a simple way our experience ‘as it is’ and in our daily life ‘that as it is ‘ is a work of art.


Isabel Correia



*“Prajnaparamita - Heart Sutra”

© 2014 Isabel Correia