​On the Way to the Sea

From a young age, I have been a passer-by and observer of the mysterious and eerie scenery of Cubatão, a form of landscape insubordination. An anti-landscape, situated strictly on the border: mountain – sea. Metaphorically, my point of transition, work – leisure. 
My experience is far from being bucolic and naturalistic, whether beautiful or not.  The science-fiction scenery, an obligatory passage to whoever wants to go to Sao Paulo’s coast, aroused in me - a city seed, an urbanoid, who is, curiously, always on the move to the sea - a mixture of enchantment and fear, depicted in the images presented here. 

Without noticing, as I chose to produce these photographs, I limited my vision and stopped before scenes that were somewhat kinetic, that had once escaped me as they dislocated rapidly before my eyes, framed by the window of my parents’ moving beetle. The large format of both the 20 x 25 cm film and the enlargements work in this way, accentuating the scene, filling it with details that cannot be seen by the naked eye. And it is what prefigured my first visits: that hasty and unimportant landscape. It captivated me, holding me there, static, before its attractive yet terrifying mystery. 

The multiple times that this theme has been consensually addressed forced me to find a way to distinguish this project entirely from an ecological manifesto, despite the opportunities of our day and age. Although these approaches are legitimate and of absolute necessity, my impulse when producing these photographs had a lot more to do with my emotionally evocative experience of my first moments along that passage, in search of the refuge, for me, idyllic, that my parents sought to provide for us during weekends and holidays. When the highway met with the leaden atmosphere, the superimposed textures and gigantic tubes, the profusions of lights and vapours, the immense chimney stacks spouting fire from their tops – and the forest encompassing it all – my holidays and the delights of summer were, paradoxically, announced.
These memories inscribed themselves in my mind in an indelible way, updated by my frequent encounters with Cubatão.
On my way to the sea. 

Bob Wolfenson