«When I arrived to Matarazzo, I found a vacant building with an immense history and importance in the city of São Paulo. That place had been a hospital, a healing place for the city, now abandoned and partially destroyed. I entered the chapel, in the process of being restored, already half-painted, and I thought of all the people who had passed by there to pray for their loved ones and place their hope. It occurred to me that that chapel would have been like a satellite, a place of comfort for those suffering in the hospital, becoming an active part of the community, which seems very interesting to me.
Historically, churches and chapels have always played a preponderant role in cities, offering refuge and security, but this role was even more prominant, due to the proximity of daily suffering. And for me this experience became a kind of pilgrimage, even though I am an atheist. In that moment I realized that my contribution to that desecrated place could be to restore the dimension it had lost, its religiosity and luminosity. That's why I drew a large crucifix, like the ones that identify churches. But I wanted to add something more to it, a presence that began by occupying the floor but would eventually rise, to once again allow worship. I was interested in preparing the piece for both experiences: one profane and the other more sanctified, so to speak. I decided to create one of my Valkyries there, female figures linked to Norse mythology, famous for flying over battlefields, restoring life to the bravest warriors, sending them to Valhalla, to join the gods. And it seemed to me like the perfect solution: a Valkyrie that would help restore religiosity, like a new lease of life, to that place. This is how “Valkyrie Matarazzo”, integrating a religious space for the first time, became the most Catholic of the entire series of textile sculptures that I had been spreading around the world.
And it is undoubtedly a special Valkyrie for that very reason, because it was created for a temple with its own characteristics, rather than a museum or an art gallery. It is not one of the most eccentric, I decided to imbue it with a more delicate spirit, in colors and shapes, but it is strong and firm in presence, precisely because I wanted to contribute to giving a new meaning to that place, to inhabit it again, establishing the connection between the spiritual and the artistic. I saw it a little like the angels in churches, who carry hearts in their hands. And it is as if this warrior goddess remained guardian of the temple while it was being cared for and restored. It's fantastic to follow this entire process, the different phases of the building's evolution.
It was fantastic to be included in it by Alexandre Allard, a man of incredible vision, with a comprehensive idea of the creation of great projects. Someone with an enormous capacity for (re)construction, transformation, very connected to the arts, architecture, and through these to a spiritual dimension. It was very inspiring to see the strength he put into that place to give him back his soul, without forgetting the artistic component. Because a man without spirituality is a man without identity. And his is a creative identity.
In fact, art has always played a role linked to spirituality. Nowadays, this concept seems to have been relegated to the background, but “creator” and “creation” are words that are linked to God and artists. Therefore, one cannot talk about art without talking about artistic creation and one cannot talk about the artist without talking about the creator. The idea of God may vary depending on religion, but it is the idea of the entity that creates and recreates the world. Artists are not gods, nor do they have to be, but by being creators of works they also create a way of looking at the world. The word creation is accompanied by a concept of the unexpected, the unknown, something new. I believe that every creation and every artist has a spiritual meaning. Being more or less aware of this, they are inseparable things, it is the connection between spirit and matter. Art is the materialization of something that has to do with the spirit, the way the spirit relates to the whole. Because the artist's individual look brings a greater magnification to the whole. Or expansion. Through the power of renewal of the creative spirit, there is a special energy that gives new meanings to places. That’s what’s happening in Capela Santa Luzia, that’s what’s happening with Cidade Matarazzo.”