Press Release of the Exhibition
November 25 to January 8 2004
Wednesday, November 24, 10 p.m.
'The Exorcist' brings together a new series of drawings and sculpture by Rui Toscano, as well as the video 'Lisbon Calling', the exhibition's centrepiece, which was produced and presented for the first time at the 9 th edition of the Venice Architecture Biennial.
The exhibition opens with the video projection of Toscano's rendering of Lisbon with interlinked, animated drawings, made from fragmented photographs of the city, which he shapes to form a panoramic view. Unlike his predecessors, Toscano's panoramic endeavour transmits a feeling of disarray; something seems to escape one's view, contrary to the demiurgic feeling of rediscovered superiority that the commanding vantage-point of panoramas transmitted in the nineteenth century, placing viewers in a central position, thus enabling the illusion that they were masters of the world. Historically, the panorama served to calm one's sense of loss of bearing, the city was quietly arranged around the spectator who was thus able to re-appropriate his or her hometown. For then and now, cities have always transmitted man and woman a sense of being lost. Reactions to this loss of 'readability' in and of the urban space have been twofold: induction (for instance, Edgar Allan Poe's The Man of the People, which marked Baudelaire's flâneur) and panoramism.
Besides this sense of a loss of sight, the city became unsightly with the Industrial Revolution. Factories, with their billowing chimneys, made cities ugly places and the link between town and countryside was lost with the rapid expansion of suburbs. Despite the panorama's claim to objectivity and precision, panoramas idealised cities by highlighting green spaces within the city's walls. Walter Benjamin describes this in Paris, capitale du XIXe siècle: 'Panoramas are the expression of a new feeling about life. The citizen, whose supremacy over the countryside has been claimed a thousand times in the course of the century, has attempted to bring the countryside into the town. In panoramas, the town takes on the same dimensions as the landscape in much the same way as it does, though more subtly, for the flâneur.' (in 'The Individual in the Town: Compensation and Control', Comment, Bernard, The Panorama, Reaktion Books, London, 1999) Toscano's rendering, unlike the established paradigm of the panorama, does not play an atoning or compensatory role, but highlights the city as a space of flows, that is, the urbanism of globalisation.
Manuel Castells, in his work on the contemporary network society, distinguishes two broad spatial paradigms: the space of flows, previously mentioned with regards to Rui Toscano's work, which expresses the logic of late modernity, and the space of places, which expresses the bounded territories of lived spaces. Indeed, like most other cities, Lisbon also shifts ands vies between the two.
Here, the dominant factors that order the form of the city are 'globally connected and locally disconnected networks of information, capital and society. Urban space is socially differentiated, discontinuous, unstable. It is the urbanism of megalopolis, free trade, electronic communication and the consumer society' (in New Urbanism, Old Nature?, Swaffield, Simon). Nature is neither enclosed in gardens or parks, but is remnant, somewhere behind the scenes, in creeks, rivers, swamps and fragments that remain undeveloped.
Toscano's reference to William Friedkin's 'The Exorcist', i.e., the 360-degree head rotation, enforces the notion of the rundblick, the circular gaze, and observation. His radars symbolise power, order and control; nothing escapes surveillance. Toscano indeed had already dealt with the gaze in 'Infinity', an überblick of the Brazilian city of S. Paulo. His plethoric, resonant drawings of aeroplanes transmit and reinforce this obsessive gaze.
'The Exorcist' opens November 24 th at 10 p.m. The exhibition runs through January 8 th of 2005.
List of works:
'Lisbon Calling', 2004, video, pal, b/w, sound, 16', soundtrack by Rui Toscano and Rui Valério.
'Heading Left', 2004, panel comprised of 70 drawings (waterproof, light-resistant marker) on paper, 20 x 25 cm each.
'The Exorcist', 2004, video sculpture, 5'' LCD, 63 x 13 x 13 cm.
Press Release of the Exhibition
Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art presents “Unification Theory, Part I”, a selection of new paintings by Michael Biberstein
Opening: Tuesday, October 26, 10 p.m.
October 27 to November 20, 2004
Michael Biberstein has indeed dissolved and shifted the attention of his work from landscape to the atmospheric. The selection of canvases, ranging from small scale to expansive renderings, comprise the show at Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, convey a feeling of distance and sublime silence, in the wake of his most recent solo exhibition in Zurich, in September/October of 2004.
Although Michael Biberstein does not link the meaning of his work directly to their titles or the meaning of a selection of his works to the title of an exhibition, ‘Unification Theory’ does nevertheless play a role in shedding some light by suggesting one in many ways of regarding the artist’s most recent work. Biberstein indeed has a love for art and philosophy which is matched by his affinity for physics and astronomy. The Theory of Everything, the (Real), in other words, the quest for a grand Unification Theory, began with Sir Isaac Newton. This theory ought to provide a blanket statement to describe all things known and unknown to man (in the entire universe). There are two main theories used to describe everything: general relativity, proposed by Einstein, which describes gravity as the result of curvature of space-time; and quantum mechanics, which describes force in terms of little packages. In order to bridge these two seminal theories, some physicists have developed new hypotheses: string theory, supersymmetry, the superstring theory and wave theory. The pursuit for a single, multi-disciplinary theory, capable of explaining every phenomenon in the universe, from a physical, biological and chemical standpoint, has also lured Michael Biberstein.
“I see paintings as «seeing machines». For me, the world only exists as a sequence of physical processes. This is not because I believe the world to be described to my full satisfaction based on the knowledge of the so far unveiled physical laws – unfortunately not. It is more the empirically extracted insight that our knowledge of a comprehensive theory of everything is not sufficient and probably never will be.”
Summoning the words of Pseudo-Longrinos (1st century AD) once more:
Nature has set us humans…into the vast
cosmos as into the scenery of an enormous
feast; we are here to take cognizance of the
whole and the most ambitious of
contestants. She therefore instilled in our
souls an insatiable desire for all that is
great and more devine than ourselves
(in ‘On Vernet, Lanscape, the Sublime and the Beautiful, and what Relevance they might still have to Contemporary Art, B&B publications, Lisbon).
Biberstein’s “skyscapes”, “atmospheres” or better yet, his “soulscapes” (Otto Niumaier), aren’t a pure, simple view of Nature, nor a depiction of her qualities; they are, or can additionally be seen as “skyscapes”/”atmospheres” of the field of possibilities of the medium of painting. On the one hand, these works deal with the issue of scale, on the other, intuition as a legitimate process of knowledge. As Delfim Sardo states, “the centre of Michael Biberstein’s recent work has thus been flexibility of distance, the policy of an epistemological freedom which does not require understanding as a normative phenomenon, and recovery of new subjectivities. It is therefore a question of giving up the search for correct distance (…) of giving up the opposition between inner and outer, between seeing and understanding”.
“Biberstein’s paintings are less depictions than, more accurately, a projection screen for states of recognition and spiritual consciousness, in search of the basic laws of being, and possibly, even the transition to non-being” (Petr Nedoma, Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague, January 2002, in ‘…towards silence’).
Biberstein has subtly rendered the shift from landscape to the atmospheric, the evanescent and dimly perceived – a tendency towards emptiness (and silence) – with colour by distancing the colouristic sensation away from its naturalistic origin, for his palette is rendered, rather than found in his use of the sfumato. These nebulaec paintings in acrylic “guide the eye into areas that do not allow for a static closing of space” (Celia Montolio), they elude form, area or concentration into a single space, rendering a shifting, inconclusive universe beyond the picture itself.
Michael Biberstein was born in Solothurn, Switzerland in 1948, where he lived until 1964. He then moved to the United States. There he finished his formal education, and studied art history with the late David Sylvester, one of the finest writers on art in the second half of the 20th century and a skilled exhibition maker, whose work enriched our understanding of Matisse, Picasso, Magritte, Giacometti, Henry Moore and Francis Bacon.
Michael Biberstein is a self-taught painter. He lives and works in Portugal. His work has been extensively revised in enlightening essays, published in exhibition catalogues throughout his career.
Press Release of the Exhibition
Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art pleased to present AROUND THE CORNER, the first in an annual series of gallery exhibitions mounted by a guest curator. London-based Spanish curator Carolina Grau inaugurates the series with works by Fikret Atay, Ceal Floyer, Gabriel Kuri and Erwin Wurm.
Opening September 14, 2004
September 14 – October 23, 2004
Around the corner is a group exhibition exploring ways in which a number of artists engage with the everyday and their surroundings. The four artists in the exhibition are inspired by the quotidian world about them, and each artist sees it from a different perspective, each of them showing us very different ways in which the world can be given value and meaning. This is an exhibition about five different and individual points of view, that of the four artists and also, inevitably, the curator's own. It is an exhibition about meaning and emptiness.
Everyone sees the world from wherever they happen to find themselves. As the Istanbul-based novelist Orphan Pamuk remarked recently, 'I have lived virtually in the same street all my life and I currently live in the apartment block where I was brought up. But this is how it has to be for me and this is what I do. And look at my view. From here it is not so difficult to see the world.'
Fikret Atay uses as the primary source for his work his hometown, Batman, by observing the daily lives of the young people who live there. Batman is in the Kurdish area near Turkey's border with Iraq, a place where poverty, military intervention and political oppression are part of everyday experience. Atay has said: 'I live in a town where it is practically impossible to produce art… For me, this is perhaps the starting point of the most wonderful and powerful work. To penetrate daily life, to find the depth of time in the moment, to reflect this in the town in which one lives and to struggle for understanding …' (quoted in 'Poetic Justice: 8th International Istanbul Biennial', Istanbul 2003 p. 72)
The video 'Bang, Bang!', 2003, shows four boys 'playing' war, between two immobile trains in a shunting yard. Atay follows the two teams with a hand-held camera, like a war reporter, while the boys run, take cover and shoot each other with toy guns. The video finishes with one of the boys playing 'dead' and the others gathering around in silence.
Fikret Atay (b. in Batman, Turkey 1974) is an emerging artist who recently had a solo exhibition at Buro Frederich, Berlin and Index, Stockholm. He will be showing this autumn in 'Time Zones', at Tate Modern, London and 'Adaptive Behaviour', at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York.
Ceal Floyer encourages us to look closely at the near-at-hand, the ordinary and often banal stuff of the everyday. Her work plays with our immediate surroundings, from mundane objects to sounds from the street or the view from the window, giving them a new significance and forcing the viewer to renegotiate his perception of the world. As the artist has said: 'There's something almost Sisyphean in my attempts to prove that something is really there, when there was no question about it in the first place. It's like mentioning the obvious but in a different tone of voice'. (Ceal Floyer interviewed by Jonathan Watkins, 'Ceal Floyer', Ikon Gallery, UK, 2001, p. 7)
For this exhibition, Floyer will show 'Monochrome Till Receipt (white)' 1999 – 2004. The work is a supermarket receipt. On closer inspection one discovers both a still life and, as the title suggests, a homage to the white paintings of Robert Ryman. In 'Working Title (Digging)', 1995, we are confronted by two sound speakers and an audio system on the floor of the gallery, which plays the sound of a hole being dug in the ground.
Ceal Floyer (b. 1968 Karachi, Pakistan) has exhibited extensively around the world. Previous exhibitions include: Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; Index, Swedish Centre for Contemporary Art, Stockholm; 'Dreams and Conflicts', 50 th Venice Biennale, Venice and 'Squatters', Serralves Museum, Oporto.
Gabriel Kuri uses mass produced materials for their physical properties and meanings to orchestrate them in poetic installations, drawings, sculptures and photography. His arrangements of the everyday play with the opposition of forces, from a bunch of plastic bags inflated by a pivoting fan to a wheelbarrow full of popcorn. For Kuri, these objects and fragments have a language, and their meanings shift according to their context and juxtaposition, setting up chains of association which begin with the smallest details and seemingly arbitrary conjunctions. As the artist says: 'One of the wonderful things about making art is that, in the best possible cases, it can make one see things in everyday objects and their grammar that one would not otherwise.' (Gabriel Kuri interviewed by Jill Martinez, KultureFlash,n 81, 2004)
For the exhibition Kuri will produce two installations for the gallery, 'Hard Pressed Cable' and ' Sandwich (Moss)' 2004. Typically, Kuri works for the specific context of the gallery, both bringing elements from the street and reworking parts of his works for their new context.
Gabriel Kuri (b. Mexico, 1970) recently has had a solo exhibition at MUHKA, Antwerp, Belgium and Kurimanzutto, Mexico. He has exhibited in several international exhibitions including: Serpentine Gallery, London; 'Interludes', 50th Venice Biennale, Venice; PS1, New York and Sonsbeek 9, Arnhem, Holand.
Erwin Wurm has been expanding the concept of sculpture since the 1980s through the use of everyday objects, drawings, photography and video. His sculptures are inspired by our relationship with commonplace objects such as pens, books, rubbish bins, tennis balls and clothes. In his 'Instructions Drawings', Wurm invites the public to become a sculpture by following the instructions of the drawing, and providing an object or furniture to realise it. The public find themselves acting-out absurd and witty propositions, creating new relationships between the body, sculpture, time and objects.
As Wurm has said: 'The fact is that I don't mistrust the reality but I do mistrust the picture of the reality we have. We can be sure that we see what we see, but we can't be sure that we see is true, as Rene Descartes said.' (Erwin Wurm interviewed by Antonella Soldain, 'Glue Your Brain', Galleria Gianluca Collica, Catania, 2004, p III)
For this exhibition, Wurm will be showing for the first time in Portugal two sculptures with instructions: 'Confessional', 2003, and 'The Breaking Through of an Artist',2003. The audience is invited to produce the work either in their minds, or for real.
Erwin Wurm (b. 1954 Vienna) has had numerous international solo and group Museum exhibitions, including the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna; Centre National de la Photographie, Paris and Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico. Wurm will have a solo exhibition in Lisboa Photo 2005.
Press Release of the Exhibition
Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art
is pleased to present 'On Drawing', an exhibition of recent/new drawings by five Portuguese artists: Diogo Pimentão, José Loureiro, Pedro Calapez, Rui Toscano and Joana Rosa
Opening July 15, 2004, 10 pm
July 15 – August 28, 2004
As the title 'On Drawing' advances, this show provides multiple perspectives on drawing without submitting the subject to a unifying or globalising view, envisioned as a starting point or theme for a potential debate or dialogue on drawing.
For Jacques Derrida, 'Graphematics' informs all experience, which suggests that drawing informs all 'experience'.
The beginning is of the order of the trace, the order of drawing. Given that drawing is of the order of the beginning, these terms are interchangeable. Thus all beginnings draw the traits of drawing into play. The beginning as the delineation, vestige, trace or search for the origin or history of something or someone; drawing as deciphering, discovering, ascertaining by investigation; the trace as delineation, the drawing of an outline or figure, the marking or mark upon or embellishment with lines, figures or characters. For Alan Cholodenko in The Illusion of the Beginning: A Theory of Drawing and Animation, 'the trace is the differance which opens appearance and signification'. Essentially, drawing as a concept is disseminative and complex, escaping permanence and fixation, for drawing draws and withdraws itself, just like the idea of origin – the trace. As Heidegger remarked 'Diese Zeichnung ist der Riss', riss being the tear, the interval, the in-between, a site of passage. Drawing as delineation (drawing, sketch, outline – dessin in French) and design (plan – dessein).
Drawing as the survey and command of nature, through the illustrations of man's milieu in caves, is recognized as being at the 'origin' of all art. These first drawings developed into the forms adopted in architecture, sculpture and painting. During the Renaissance, drawing gained a prominent role as a symbol of creativity and ingenuity. The force of line is the principle that determines the application of colour in painting. Leonardo da Vinci saw drawing as the 'divine science', a process of creative knowledge.
If there is anything relatively consensual to be said about drawing, it may be that drawing is a formative experience which encapsulates all types of manifestations: drawing as process (referred to art that bears the traces of its own making over time, privileging the presence of the artist's hand and its experiential nature) or finished/precise work (as opposed to be found through the process of making, 'projective' drawings), immediate, unmediated works and lengthy, construed drawings. Nevertheless, none of these categories can currently be considered exclusive.
'On Drawing' presents pieces that are neither a preparatory study, nor a minor adjunct to the finished work, but varied approaches to drawing; elaborate propositions that reflect the artists' concern with the employment and problems of the medium. A potential reading into these works, which is mostly latent to each work, is that of dérive (as the technique of rapid passage through varied ambiences) or the attitude of drifting through art, drawing and its conventions.
In the drawing of Diogo Pimentão (Lisbon, 1973), the artist's hand drifts repeatedly over the large sheet of paper, invariably renewing each mark. In some works, the lines that comprise the fine fabric of what is seen emerge from friction, the result of an almost performative event. The density and opacity of Pimentão's works reflects the result of a delicate process of priming the paper with a carefully laid down acrylic gesso surface which is delicately sanded and thinned to welcome his graphite drawings. These works render living pools of mercury that reflect light, obliging the viewer to come close and withdraw from this dark mirror. His drawings define the space of drawing (the space that is occupied by drawing), but they also translate a definition of space that is distinct from the illusionistic space defined in traditional drawing through the use of figure/ground relationships and other devices. Although Pimentão's works are seen flat against the wall, there is a tacit physicality to the drawings that defines the space in front of them, so as to suggest the room occupied during their process of creation and fruition.
For José Loureiro (Mangualde, 1961), drawing is substance. The coupled strokes in Loureiro's works are drawn in such a manner that the eye is impelled to following them lengthwise, from left to right, top to bottom. These four graphite drawings vertiginously repeat these curvilinear and unstable lines which reverberate and destabilize the gaze. José Loureiro liberates his gesture with his automated drawings, covering his visual scores with accord. He does not seek to fix or represent something but to seize an energy. This linear energy determines direction, rate of motion, force of motion – accelerations, smoothness, heaviness, lightness, brokenness, continuity, sharpness – pulsations that relate and release themselves from the sheet of paper, gaining dimension and extension as they simultaneously resonate inner tension.
Pedro Calapez (Lisbon, 1953) drifts through the conventions of drawing, namely the conventions of landscape drawing, an activity that has occupied his attention, which is brought once more to the centre stage of his work. Whereas the naturalist painter takes the landscape as a whole, the parts of his work arranged in order to render unity and recognition, translating a landscape inhabited by articulate and stable meanings, Pedro Calapez chooses to act in the sense of eliminating any expression of reality. In this case, Calapez selects fragments of images of water lines and a conventional landscape and transforms them into abstract graphic registers. Both conventions, one of relief, that other evoking the landscape genre, are equalized by the final graphic result.
Rui Toscano's (Lisbon, 1970) drawings with permanent marking pen translate an exercise of observation that empties places of identity and the artist state of arrest by architecture as a timeless and undetermined space. These drawings adopt and adapt the language of architectural illustration, often choosing to represent or 'project' details and unusual views according to this language. Whereas photography is the direct referent of these works, these drawing direct us towards reality, they are a semblance of the real. Regarding the city, Donatella Mazzoleni's words, quoted in 'The City in The Field of Vision' (in Into the Image, Kevin Robins, ed. Routledge, 1996, 133), significantly resound on viewing Toscano's drawings: ' 'Metropolises are no longer 'places', because their dimensions exceed by far the dimensions of the perceptive apparatus of their inhabitants. The widest sensory aperture, that of light, is shattered. It was the visual field, in some respect, which defined the city dimensionally: in the metropolis there is no longer pan-orama (the vision of all), because its body overflows beyond the horizon. In the metropolitan aesthetic the eye fails in its role as an instrument of total control at a distance'.
Last but not least, Joana Rosa (Lisbon, 1959) presents 'Scribble', an extensive graphite drawing with annotations of red pastel on vellum that results from the ample register of dense, turbulently drawn patterns. This scribble is a sort of metaphor for the process of thought and work that is unrestricted, unrestrained, open-ended and arbitrary, sprawling throughout the artist's oeuvre. The words and statements written in this work underline the feeling of vertigo that swallows reality and the pleasures of the childhood imagination, narrative, science fiction and ballet. The dimension of process deserves to be especially remarked in this work, rendered by the traces left behind by the artist and vestiges of family life, a subtle reference to maternity and the umbilical cord, the threshold of life.
Press Release of the Exhibition
For immediate release
Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art presents MAKING OF, an exhibition by João Onofre on May 28 of 2004. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Portugal since Nothing will go wrong, a comprehensive overview of the artist’s work, organised by the Museu do Chiado in March of 2003.
The exhibition is comprised of three works: two videos and work on paper. These works succeed the subject matter developed by the artist, namely issues relating to performance, the place of creation – the studio, the re-contextualization of cultural products, amongst others.
Making of, 2004 – video, colour, sound, 8’48’’.
This work, which also lends its title to the exhibition, consists of a continuous shot filmed in real time of the journey from the artist’s studio to Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art gallery. The route taken by a messenger, invested by the artist to deliver a camera to the gallery, is observed from a subjective, unedited angle in this piece. Once the camera arrives, it is handed over to one of the gallery’s assistants who films a firework session
Skull, 2003 – toner on paper, 30 x 23 cm
The phrase EVERYTHING DISAPPEARS is written on fax that will disappear with the passing of time, given the material quality of the paper and of the ink, and thus render this visual tautology. reescrever
Leap in the street (boombox travelling), 2004 – video, colour, sound, 1’20’’.consists
Consists of a travelling shot of a boombox. The volume of the music from the player causes trepidation to an extent that the camera is destabilised and dragged with it. The images register the ghettoblaster’s fall from the artist’s studio on the fourth floor to a square situated out front. The track is an excerpt from She’s lost control (1979) by the post-punk band, Joy Division.
This exhibition has been structured around issues of video representation, probing the continuos shot as an element of the indexation of reality. The works in MAKING OF raise different considerations, for instance, the evaluation of the mechanisms behind exhibition making – re-equating the place of the creative process itself – the revision of artistic genres and the inscription and embedding of the process of creation into the works themselves.
João Onofre has continuosly exhibited his work since 2002. His oeuvre was recently on view at Magazin 4, Bregenz Kunstverein. Amongst the list of shows scheduled for later this year, João Onofre is working on the project Nuit Blanche, commissioned by the Mairie of Paris and another for the Caisse de Dépôts et Consignations for the Louvre Museum, as well as a group show at the Haunch of Venison Gallery in London and a solo exhibition at I-20 Gallery, New York.
Press Release of the Exhibition
Free of any detailed judgement concerning the ensemble that comprises this exhibition, one of the most ornate aesthetic features achieved by José Loureiro rests in THE DOUBLED WORK OF PAINTING IN EACH CANVAS.
According to Loureiro’s procedure, each canvas seemingly unfolds into two simultaneous paintings, forming a final unit within this astounding set of work. Otherwise said:
Behind the painted figurative presences lies another «painting», in an elaborate abstract construction where firm and transfigured remittances float, from more central impressionist chromaticity to the colourist iridescence of Matisse. All the delicacy and discreet tension, with other more remote traditions in art, for instance, the almost dazzling abstraction of some late-medieval and mannerist works, irrupt through his highly elaborate polychrome backgrounds.
The other «painting» is a figuration that can be classified as rampantly joyous. Objects of what could have once been a cold world (besides their euphoric trepidation, these objects remain indifferent), human figures delivered to physical copiousness, oscillation and dance, through vibrant incandescence, transport the beholder to a world of figurative bewilderment. Learned in overriding figuration, yet wandering through the fixed axes of references to the real, ensured by the clear outlines of the images as they are first perceived, Loureiro produces a renewal of the pictorial line, which for many decades remained to be seen in Portuguese art.
The canvas affirms itself as a dialogue between these two designations. From an intimate accomplishment, achieved with vigorously clear lines and nuances of subtle seduction, a singular work is rendered when viewed within this ensemble. Beyond the Portuguese arts context, including the one established by a mafia at the backdrop of doubtful internationalisations, Loureiro’s comparative resistance can easily be observed.
Indeed, Loureiro’s work is a gift that, if efficiently recognised, could aid a cultural context of inept promotions (which die out without ever having understood many greats, choosing to overrate the movers of a sordid and unashamedly meddling terrain of festivities, calculated by partisanships), sociologically demonstrating that the art world is capable of understanding the results of overcoming what was once new within the central spaces of current pictorial production. If this cultural context is unable to undertake this change with its licensed agents and their unethical shove, then let the public and individual connoisseurs undertake this move by letting them in to see, in their modifying assurance as true experts, unaffected by the pressures of the establishment and routines of acceptance.
Press Release of the Exhibition
Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art
With all due intent | Com toda a intenção
Solo exhibition by Lawrence Weiner
Runs: March 11 – April 13, 2004
Opening March 11, 2004, 10 p.m
Lawrence Weiner (Bronx, 1942) initiated his career, working essentially as a painter, in the wake of Abstract Expressionism. Weiner’s work rapidly evolved into restricted modular forms and the disappearance of the pictorial image. At this time, his paintings were conceived as a means of transmitting information through materials, having nothing to do with the information being transmitted or issues of display. This differentiation came to be the center of his work, and presentation, the body of the artist’s oeuvre.
This quest for another phenomenological space unites the elements that, at short term, evolved to a type of conceptual work or practise.
The artist may construct the piece.
The piece may be fabricated.
The piece need not be built. Each being equal and consistent with the intent of the artist, the decision as to condition rests with the received upon the occasion of receivership.
Weiner’s highly quoted “”statement of intent”, which dates back to 1969, meant to function as a guideline for the operation of his work, briefly expressing the spectator’s responsibility, and the need to diminish the distance between the beholder and the producer, in an attempt to produce an egalitarian method of art production, revealing Weiner’s concern for the public domain and the search for new spheres of reception.
This very ideological stance in Weiner’s practice led to his transition from the visual to the linguistic model. Weiner has exclusively used language as the choice medium of his work since 1967, primordially registered in sentences or parts of sentences, which he presents in posters, texts/drawings on the wall, sound and, more importantly, in books. These statements frequently allude to the locations or the description of the conditions and circumstances that attest to the original act of writing.
Weiner’s ensueing work, now transformed into the undated, numbered manifestation of language + the materials referred to, which he registers in notebooks, forming, in purely linguistic terms, statements, ideas and actions contained within the linguistic framework. Weiner thus presents information under the guise of enunciations, declarations and statements. The result construes a series of declarations that linguistically defines the material structure of the work, presenting, in the past participle (conclusive and expectant) facts concerning the material and processes of production, and writings about the materials and the material quality of the text, in alliance with the emphasis given to an egalitarian model of communication. The content of his work, on the other hand, resides in the perceptive reality of a continuously evolving context, a process and a presentness which depends upon the receiver and the occasion of receivership.
In an apparent and consistent manner, from the 1960’s up until now, the notion that art cannot assume the preexistence of an audience, but that it should help produce one, can be found in his work.
Indeed, the acuity of the translations of his work to the language of his host country produces a socio-historic construct between the work of art and the location, demonstrating the parity that exists between the languages that comprise the work’s context, influencing or changing its reception.
Press Release of the Exhibition
Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art
Presents 'Interdigital', a one-man show by Alexandre Estrela
Opening 29th January, by 10 pm
30th January to 28th February 2004
The Interdigital exhibition by Alexandre Estrela, opening at the Cristina Guerra - Contemporary Art gallery on the 29th January sets an expositive programme of video crossover between analogue, digital and what’s beyond, interdigital.
Three videos will be presented:
Interdigital (between my fingers) (mono video projection, NTSC DVD, sound: Flim, 12', 2003): a video which has been directed by filming a pile of papers and some envelopes on a table. The whole shooting was done between the artist’s fingers while listening to a digital track by electro band Flim. The resulting image resembles a sea horizon as it is perceived through a 'wavering' window.
Hear Here (mono video projection, PAL DVD, sound, 2002): video based on the method used to calculate the distance of a storm. By measuring the lapse of time between a thunder and a lightning, it is possible to determine how far is a given storm. At the core of this calculation lies the fact that the propagation of sound is slower than lightning’s. In this video, a continually screened black image is interrupted by a white flash (a single white frame) followed by a quick shrieking sound fragment. Immediately after the sound, the distance between the flash and the previous is revealed, establishing a connection between both. This distance reveals the relative position of the lightning towards the spectator. The time gap between light and sound varies and so do the distances. When sound is synchronised with image, the tile Hear Here is projected.
Metadrop (video stills, sound Gilius van Bergeijk, loop, 2002/4): in the technical language of video, a drop is an absence of signal originating in several possibilities (bad recording, damaged tapes or DVDs,...) which, according to the technical perfection intended, should always be removed, since it is considered a defect on the video’s linearity. in this particular work the drops were produced by the necessity of the hardware in fulfilling the gaps of the video signal, in the absence of input signal in a digital recorder. The video-entities (whose presence and duration is less than a frame) were isolated from several tapes and afterwards edited in a single sequence, continually interfering with one another as if 'the drops were dropping one another'.*
* The first isolated presentation of the drops was done during a screening of the exhibition Expect the world - moi non plus (commissioned by Ana Pinto, Sparwasser Parkhause Galley, Berlin, 1992).
Alexandre Estrela (b.1971, Lisbon) has a Painting degree by Lisbon’s Faculdade de Belas Artes. In the early 90s he began his artistic career, being part of a generation (i.e. Rui Toscano, Miguel Soares, Pedro Cabral Santo, Carlos Roque or Rui Valério, among others) that has been part of some of the most relevant independent exhibitions in that decade in Portugal (i.e. Artstrike I, 1991, Grenhouse Display, 1996, O Império Contra-Ataca, 1998, Espaço 1999, 1999) and actually commissioning some of them (Independent Worm Saloon, 1994, with Rui Toscano, and Wallmate, 1995, with Miguel Soares).
He has been living in New York for the last 6 years, where he has moved in order to carry out his studies (a post-graduation on Visual Arts by the School of Visual Arts, ISCP - International Studio and Curatorial Program).
Operating on and with image, both moving and static, some individual exhibitions stand out : CrossSharing, Hi8, Turquoise Hexagon Sun, Interferências, Museu do Chiado, 2001; Slow Motion, ESTGAD, 2001 e RTP2, 2000, in a Lisbon apartment.
Internationally, the following stand out: Revolving Door, Chambers Fine Art, New York, 2003 (commissioned by Yasufumi Nakamori); DIG2, Artist Space, New York , 2003 (selected by Anne Ellegood); Veneer/Folheado, Catalyst Arts, Belfast, 2003 (co-commissioned by ZDB and Catalyst Arts); Squatters II, Witte de With, Rotterdam; Air Portugal, London Biennial, London, 2000 (commissioned by Fofinho and Matrículas) and Plan XXI, G-Mac, Glasgow, 2000 (commissioned by Paulo Mendes and António Rego). As a cultural producer, it is worth mentioning the activities he has developed as the director of video festival Hi8 - Short Video Festival, 1999, as the artistic director of the Biovoid exhibition, 1998, and as the editor, together with Scott Harrison, of Manual, a drawing and illustration anthology (2003).