Press Release of the Exhibition
Tatjana Doll (Burgsteinfurt, 1970) presents “Recession II”, her second exhibition at Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, in Lisbon.
The title chosen for this show implies a sequential relation between the work that was first presented at the gallery (“Recession”, in 2008) and the paintings and drawings composing this exhibition. Concurrently, the title – the use of words – represents a line of thought and reflection within the artist’s body of work, in which the titles are an element present in the works that determines their relation with objects, everyday references, or geometric patterns – often graphically striking – that expand, to the viewer, their diverse field of observation.
One of the artworks, titled “PICT_Glasurit”, is exemplary of the relational structure built by Tatjana Doll. Glasurit is a particular brand of industrial enamel paint that the artist uses in her paintings. The self-referential relation indicates an affinity for materials – such as spray paint or acrylic – that allow the body to have greater technical versatility when painting. On the other hand, as a semantic tool, language opens up a field of possibilities in the prolific network of meanings occurring between the image and the set of words that compose its title, as it happens in the case of “PICT_Seeds” and “TECHNICS_Nintendo.”
Within this complementary relation between word and image, the recent works Tatjana Doll now exhibits traverse an opposite path to the one suggested by her previous show in the gallery. The images represented by the paintings are subjected to a transmutation, sometimes almost spectral, as it happens with the painting “DUMMY_Angelina Jolie”, and in other cases fragmented and stripped of their resemblance to the objects or characters they refer to – both in what concerns their scale and proportion, and in their apparent proximity to the real model, or its context.
As it is visible in the drawings, the titles suggest a numeric and temporal seriality, and the word is integral to the work, incorporating seemingly decontextualized references and self-referential memories.
“Recession II” is a provocative exhibition in the sense that it makes us closer to painting (to its haptic dimension) as the artist reflects on the social universe of the images we are permanently faced with (symbols, signs, typography). Tatjana Doll proposes a confrontation between what is essential in the immediate acknowledgment of a referent and her active capability – as an artist – to distill and transform the symbols of a collective imaginary into fragmented, quasi abstract elements. Within the conceptual framework of this exhibition, painting is a thought process through which pictorial objects are reclaimed by time and action and become autonomous within strong and expressive chromatic compositions, never losing sight of an analytical intention that demands our physical and emotional presence.
Her oversized enamel canvasses of everyday objects put Tatjana Doll’s name on the map: Cars, trains, containers, pictograms, babushkas... And yet, the pictures do not show reality. Instead they retain their independence. This is also true of her fine drawings – often done in pencil – that make an interesting contrast to the massive paintings. Although the viewer is immediately reminded of commercial photographs typically seen in fashion magazines, they are disembedded from their “instrumentalization,” i.e. the sale of goods. Like the objects in her paintings, Tatjana Doll lends her figures an independent existence. By transforming them into the drawing medium, on the one hand Tatjana Doll reveals the figures’ desires and on the other hand she shows precisely what they can trigger in the spectator. At the same time, she exhibits a part of herself, which is cleverly hidden behind the drawn element.
Tatjana Doll was born in 1970 in Burgsteinfurt. In 1998, she graduated from Düsseldorf’s Kunstakademie. After working as Visiting Professor for Painting at the Kunsthochschule Weißensee, Berlin (2005–2006), she was made professor at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Karlsruhe in 2009–2010. Tatjana Doll lives and works in Berlin.
Press Release of the Exhibition
“Today, I limited myself to a single, wide and long red brushstroke. A workload only akin to the twelve Labors of Hercules. These brushstrokes bring to mind big ships with excess weight at the bow, risking sinking as soon as they set sail but finally managing to go their way.” I wrote these lines in a recent (and lengthier) email to a friend of mine, telling him about what I was doing. If I start by quoting my own words it is because they accurately describe the way I’m now working.
Each one of these brushstrokes arises from a particular place, different from all others, and the dimension they acquire essentially depends on the ballast of pigment and oil they carry within. Black is important because it behaves as a catalyst; for example, as it tangentially approaches a red, it intensifies it, rendering it redder. This red – I could have used any other color in this example – is more intense at its center and diffuse at its margins, almost forming a halo. Apparently immobile, these colors fluctuate and never really touch each other, even when they overlap.
Color and brushstroke are a single entity, inextricable. As such, there is time and duration, beginning and end. It is between these two points, and in a scale ranging from disaster to epiphany, that everything is played out.
Colors are served in tubes we can buy at the store. We open one of these tubes and become ecstatic with what we see. Only later we understand that colors are like sharp ramparts, so closed in upon themselves that they can only be taken by storm, and with immense effort. We don’t even have exact names for them; despite the fact that they’re always so impeccably labeled. Having one color, we just need to change its place so that it’s no longer the same. Colors communicate between them in an indecipherable code, impervious to the most powerful algorithm. They are as slippery as eels, and sting like urchins. We’ll never discover the Rosetta Stone of colors.
JOSÉ LOUREIRO was born in Mangualde in 1961.
Lives and works in Lisbon.
He identifies two pieces of reading as representing formative moments in his artistic development: the poem Deslumbramentos (Fascinations) from O Livro de Cesário Verde, by Cesário Verde; and the chapter from War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy, in which the battle of Borodino is narrated. At the moment, all his life revolves around three words: priolo, filament and rim.
The artist is represented in several public and private collections as Fundação de Serralves, Oporto, Portugal; Centro de Arte Moderna José de Azeredo Perdigão – Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal; Colecção Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Lisbon, Portugal; Colecção Berardo, Lisbon, Portugal; Colecção António Cachola, Elvas, Portugal; Museu de Arte Contemporânea do Funchal, Madeira, Portugal; Fundação Leal Rios, Lisbon, Portugal; Centre Pompidou - Museu Nacional de Arte Moderna, France; Fundação de Arte Contemporânea Daniel & Florence Guerlain, Les Mesnuls, France; European Investment Bank, Luxembourg; European Patent Office, Munich, Germany; European Central Bank, Frankfurt, Germany; Hiscox, London, UK.
Press Release of the Exhibition
Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art presents an exhibition by Miguel Rios. Constituted by design objects, the show is an installation built around two object typologies: variations on a device not included in our lexicon of daily objects (but that we could describe as inhalers), and one table. If the first group does not possess a nomenclature, as its objects do not have any associated tradition of social or personal function, the table belongs to an age-old lexicon that makes it recognizable by a name, a function and a typological set.
Let’s start by the nameless objects.
They are ceramic and glass devices, being that one of them (made of glass) stands out due to its complexity. These pieces emanate from the memory of devices pertaining to a laboratorial universe, consecutively redesigned and refitted to fulfill the function of providing an olfactory experience to their future and hypothetical users. Composite pieces reminiscent of a thermal baths’ ambiance of inhalation, vapor, and odor; they are opaque in their feminine form and (hélas!) transparent in their masculine version. Their gender is determined by their names: Winnie and Willie, names taken from Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, a play written in 1961. This association with Beckett’s text permeates the ambiance produced for the presentation of these objects, specifically through the reference to Winnie’s feminine figure who, free from all causality and enigmatically half-buried in the ground, recalls her past while going through the contents of her purse. Within Beckett’s body of work the past does not exist as causality but as the production of an agent. Based in this universe, the object conceived by Miguel Rios is a memory producing device, one that shapes the way how we relate to the construction of a past.
In this sense, Miguel Rios’ inhalers are devices that possess a particular function – they can be used to sense odors from the past, such as the scent of rain on dry earth, or a scent reminiscent of childhood, somewhere in the countryside, a function signaled by a perfume pump sprayer and a respirator. Through its medical connotation, this function is associated with a tradition of inhaling devices, such as nebulizers and vaporizers, all belonging to the universe of thermal baths, or sanatoriums, which are by excellence the literary place for the production of memories – i.e., its construction for the future, as it happens in the work of Thomas Mann. Taking on another perspective; within the artistic context the phenomenology of odor and its application to breathing and sharing are intimately associated with Neo-Concrete Brazilian Art, as it was personified by Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica. Namely, in Clark’s production of the devices we today call relational and in Oiticica’s scented Bólides (smelling of coffee, for example), works that function both as memory detonators and as games of recognition.
The same happens with these pieces: they are a game of recognition, allowing the exploration of olfactory universes that can themselves build memories, and refer to the future construction of a past. They are “hopeful futilitarian” objects, as Robert Brustein once described Winnie.
The three tables belong to a set of office furniture, currently in development and presented here as a concept, in their project version. The contrast between the mirror’s rigor and opulence, the precision of its finish, possess an almost theatrical – but certainly performative – connotation.
Developed in partnership with IMO as part of an office furniture line, they branch from an office furniture typology reminiscent of the 1950s modernist universe. Their current version, subtly asymmetrical (the in-line installation reinforces this asymmetry), corresponds to a limited edition of five copies and may one day be part of a corporate office furniture line. Their adaptation to an office system that will implement their functionalities is currently being developed (by a team that also includes Telma Barrelas, Miguel Rios’ collaborator).
Worthy of note, the mirror surface is produced in stainless steel, a material that unlike glass allows the production of a perfect mirror, one that does not duplicate the image on its surface. The tables’ chromaticity is nuanced by the MDF edges with their lacquered earth tones, tempering its cold universe with one more reference to the materials (wood, metal, and Formica) that were most common in the beginning of the modern age, the age of office furniture, something already belonging to our collective memory.
The exhibition ambiance is enveloped by the same scenic dimension, as a stage for an action – one which will only develop in the game of recognition we accept to play; producing, as a future memory, the reinvented scents from our past.
Press Release of the Exhibition
Within the context of Adriana Barreto’s work, our relation with the body meets a multifaceted genealogy that integrates her ideas on affections, the word, the movement, the rhythm, and the body as a process of transformation of our relation with the tension of the body’s movement in space. Because they don’t originate exclusively from the thought unit configured by the artist’s main studies in the field of dance, all these ways of feeling and producing her work are not exhausted in what appears to be translated by the previous statement, but stem from the necessity of overcoming and reflecting upon the diverse stages of her working process.
The piece “O que pode um corpo” (What can a body do1), a performance first presented in Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisbon, develops its modus operandi, one that returns to itself by exploring other formats presented in the exhibition. Photography, video and a book reveal different degrees of registering and documental archive while rehabilitating the present relevance of the ideas presented by Baruch Spinoza’s in his Ethics, a philosophical inquiry on the limits the body as an element that recognizes itself through the affections it is subjected to.
Quoting Spinoza “The human mind has no knowledge of the body, and does not know it to exist, save through the ideas of the modifications (affections) whereby the body is affected.”2. Adriana Barreto doesn’t intend to confront us with the metaphysical questions advanced by Spinoza’s thought, but she recognizes in the present relevance of his ideas questions that she herself addresses. The book presented in the exhibition is simultaneously a catalogue, the documentation of the version of the performance that was presented to an audience, and a selection of three texts by Alberto Saraiva, Delfim Sardo, and João Silvério.
Adriana Barreto Adriana Barreto was born in Rio de Janeiro, where she currently lives and works.
Presently, the artist paints, draws, creates installations, performances, videos and photography. Her biography includes exhibitions in institutions like Museu de Belas Artes do Rio de Janeiro; MAM – Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro; Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte; Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia, Salvador; Brazilian American Cultural Institute, Washington; BIDE – Banco Interamericano de Desenvolvimento Económico, Washington; and Oi Futuro Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro. In 1992 Adriana Barreto was present in Festival Internacional de la Peinture, Château Musée Grimaldi, in Cagnes-sur-Mer; and, in 2001, in IV Bienal Barro da América in Centro de Arte Lia Bérmudez, Macaíbo, Venezuela.
In 2012, the artist presented the exhibition “Agora Sim” in Museu das Comunicações, Lisboa, within the context of the cultural program “Portugal Brasil Agora”, and the performance “O que pode um corpo”, in Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art. She was represented in the collective show “Place of Residence”, curated by Alfons Hug in Shanghai.
1 (TN) The choice to translate “O que pode um corpo” as “What can a body do” was made taking in consideration that this is the most common and accepted translation of the original sentence in French (qu’est-ce que peut un corps?) whenever in the context of the writings of Baruch Spinoza and Gilles Deleuze.
2 Ethica, II; Prop. XIX
Press Release of the Exhibition
Julião Sarmento offers us recurring themes and surprising innovations in an exhibition made of small independent,
dialoguing sets. We are able to recognize house plans, images and shapes conjuring feminine bodies, reflections on
painting and drawing, and the use of photographs made by others, direct and indirect references to Marcel Duchamp,
Alexander Rodtchenko, Barnett Newman, Bart van der Leck, Edgar Degas, Joseph Beuys and Bruce Nauman; the
sum of all these elements forming a small panorama that stands out like a plastic autobiography. This happens with
some of its elements, where we can observe a peculiar melancholy, oscillating between colorful exuberance and
lead gray, the color that usually accompanies this state of mind. However, in the traditional iconography this color is
often associated to melancholia generosa, referring to invention, research, and curiosity as well as to contemplation
and moments of emptiness and speculation that could certainly be one of the explanations of the celebrated formula
by Delacroix: «L’ennemi de toute peinture est le gris.» (Gray is the enemy of all paintings). This theme is represented
by a set of works displayed on a gray wall, in front of which we can see a startling sculpture or a strange object (First
Easy Piece, 2013), an interpretation (not a copy) of Edgar Degas’ Little Dancer of Fourteen Years. When it was first
shown, in an Impressionist exhibition in 1881, the statue was received with surprise and amid scandal because of
its realism (real clothes and hair, and painting imitating skin color) and eroticism. Julião Sarmento emphasized the
traits of this young nymph, almost a woman, further eroticizing them – formed breasts, nudity – while transforming
the statue into an object, a dehumanized material. The paintings displayed behind contain all that: emptiness,
abstraction, objects and materials, constructions and speculations, including a diagram explaining how to draw
We find other ellipses in certain paintings, especially in one (Thing White Plants, 2013) where a drawing unfolds as
if it was a plant or a flower blooming, and that, because of its shape, forces us to think of certain photographs by
Karl Blossfeldt in his Wundergarten der Natur (1932). We can also find an interpretation (also not a reproduction)
of Duchamp’s Why not sneeze Rose Sélavy? (Parce Que Rose, 2013), a work whose title we can find inverted and
modified in a painting behind the ballerina. If we bend down a little, we can read part of title under the cheese maker
– reproducing the device of the piece Duchamp made in 1921. If Julião Sarmento’s work denotes other duchampian
elements – the small rectangles, the thermometer, and the cuttlefish bone – it is not a Dadaist or Surrealist statement,
nor is it another ready-made. It can be seen as an ironic reference to a certain dehumanization of Art, necessary to
the evanishment of forms and to their perpetual renovation. Thus, most important in this exhibition is the formation of forms, how a form forms itself and how that form comes to being. If we look at the hanging forms (142 Silicone
Leftovers, 2013), it is as if they were in a butcher shop – they look hard and ceramic, but are just made from silicone
– we are lead to think of animal parts, and they are precisely that: molds of human body parts.
More clearly than in other works, this exhibition exudes the theme of human finitude, and in a cold, baroque extension,
the dialectic between nothingness and being, between past and present, ending and becoming. This circulation
from form to formless, from dissolution to reformation, appears clearly in these pieces as they interact, transposing
lines and colors from one to the other; or between these works and others that could even have had been made
with different materials, if we think in the films Parasite (2003) and Jolie Valse (2007). Therefore, we are allowed
to see in this collection a great composition in the form of a still life, a vanitas where each element tells us the
same thing: time flies. This is what is expressed by the flowers shown (One Too Many (Yellow), 2013 / House
Plan White Plants, 2013 / Estoril Yellow Plants, 2013) and represented in gray tones. The small golden model
(Templo), exhibited in a glass case as if it was an object of great value, reveals this want for eternity; desiring to
be a monument for posterity while presenting itself as ruin, fragment, not unlike the numerous images of modernist
architecture used by the artist. The piece Yellow Secret (2013), much like a reliquary, a small transparent box
containing wonderfully colored small feathers, sits just beside the cast of a venter and a small yellow monochrome
painting – a color that channels our attention to further yellow surfaces that we can find in other pieces. Differing
from what happened during the Baroque period, we cannot affirm the presence of a narrative or a symbolic, at
least not one as strong as the ones existing in that historical representation system, where everything signified and
always referred to other meaning. However, bodies, lines and colors are as present as they are impermanent, and
the ballerina appears to defy us in time and real space, as she is out there in a place and moment we will never
grasp. The forms are present, but beyond our reach. In the monochromes (Five Frames, 2013) there is no image
but the colors are lively, strong, and dense. The foot’s movement is fixed – we can see the drawing in the wooden
stand – and it’s gone. Just as Sarmento’s ballerinas resumed a gesture and remained in a lost temporality, and as
such were always fleeting forms, this exhibition resembles a large hourglass with its sand trickling down. If we turn
it over, everything recommences. Ending resumes.
JULIÃO SARMENTO Julião Sarmento was born in 1948 in Lisbon, Portugal and lives and works in Estoril, Portugal. He studied painting and architecture at the Lisbon School of Fine Arts. Throughout his career, Sarmento has worked in a wide range of media – painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, film, video and installation. He has had numerous one-person and group exhibitions throughout the world over the past four decades. Julião Sarmento represented Portugal at the 46th Venice Biennale (1997). He was included in Documenta 7 (1982) and 8 (1987); the Venice Biennale (1980 and 2001) and the São Paulo Biennale in 2002. His work is represented in many public and private collections in North and South America, Europe and Japan such as Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, U.S.A.; MACBA Museu d’Art Contemporani Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; MOMA Museum of Modern Art, New York, U.S.A.; Musée National d’Art Moderne/Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, U.S.A. and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Holland, among others.
Press Release of the Exhibition
A Duet is an activity performed by a pair of closely connected individuals. Each one has its own characteristics playing the same melody with different tones, tempos and rhythms.
Duet is a presentation of specific video works by two artists creating a dialogue with their similitude and differences changing during each day of the week. Using the existing two different spaces at Cristina Guerra gallery, one space darker and more intimate and the other wider for more cinematic experience, the different conversations will develop during each week.
The five duets in the exhibition explores different contemporaries issues that are such as combining documentary and viewpoints are the films by Filipa César (1975, Porto) and Lisa Tan (1973, Syracuse, New York); the sensuality and the female body by Salma Cheddadi (1984, Casablanca) and Julião Sarmento (1948, Lisboa); the influence of painting and its manipulation by Jaume Pitarch (1963, Barcelona) and Rui Toscano (1970, Lisboa); the film assembly from archive material, discussing public figures or spaces by Raphaël Zarka (1977 Montpellier) and Duncan Campbell (1972, Dublin) and the presence and the absence of images by Eric Baudelaire (1973, Salt-Lake City) and Pablo Pijnappel (1979, Paris).
Press Release of the Exhibition
Rui Toscano (1970, Lisbon) is an artist who, since the early 90s, has revealed an unusual ability to expand his field of artistic possibilities by recurring to different media in his projects – painting, sculpture, sound, video, installation, drawing – crossing a complex network of references, materials and formal solutions.
In the exhibition “La Grande Avventura dello Spazio”, Toscano returns to the topic visited in his shows “The Great Curve” (2009, Chiado 8, Lisbon) and “Out of a Singularity” (2010, Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisbon) - where the artist is developing further his research based on space exploration and what is the perception of space in the domains of cosmology, and the artwork “The Right Stuff” stands out as a key piece, being the first in a long string of work where Toscano explores the visual apparatus that usually surrounds rocket launching.
In “La Grande Avventura dello Spazio”, a tittle appropriated from a 1967 Italian compendium on space exploration, the artist recalls the expectations, forecasts, and scientific data of a time prior to the landing on the Moon. This takes form in the development of a series of artworks that abandon the idea of an appropriation focused on the representation of cosmos (of which is an example the piece “Messier 5 (NGC 5904)”, from the “Untitled (Cluster)” series, presented in 2010) to explore a more complex and subjective approach, allowing new possibilities of interpretation.
A recurring approach in the artist’s work, the presence of several media marks this exhibition – drawing, photography, sculpture, painting, and video. Dominated by a play with relationships of scale, the show places the viewer in a thin line between real and imagined in the representation of the Universe as a landscape and the human expectations and impulses.
The artist currently features Sound Sculptures 1994-2013, an anthological exhibition open until May 19 at Culturgest.
* Original title: La grande aventure de l’espace, Éditions Rombaldi, Paris, 1967.
RUI TOSCANO (1970) was born in Lisbon, where he lives and works. He studied Painting and Sculpture at AR.CO (Centre for Art and Communication) and at the FBAUL (University of Lisbon – School of Fine Arts). He has presented his work in galleries, museums and alternative spaces since 1993, in exhibitions such as Take Off, Galerie Krinzinger, Benger Fabrik, Bregenz, Austria (1997), 1, MACS (Serralves Contemporary Art Museum), Oporto, Portugal (2002) and Metaflux, 9. International Architecture Biennial, Arsenale, Venice, Italy (2004), Esculturas Sonoras 1994-2013 (Culturgest).
His work is represented in several public collections as Fundação de Serralves, Caixa Geral de Depósitos, FLAD (Fundação Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvimento), António Cachola, Madeira Corporate Services, PLMJ, Portugal Telecom, Fundación ARCO (Spain), Fundación Coca-Cola (Spain), MEIAC (Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporneo, Spain) and also in numerous private collections between Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Austria, Switzerland and USA.
Press Release of the Exhibition
(performance - one night only)
Small daily epiphanies
Tomaz Hipólito’s subterranean path dwells in a strange limbo between art and architecture, permeating the various possibilities developed by the artist through his use of drawing, photography, video, performance and sculpture. However, none of these labels seems to be able to describe him as, in each of these artistic practices he uses rules of conception and execution governed by protocols alien to them: he produces photography but is not a photographer, is interested in space but is not an architect, draws and paints but is not a painter. What brings together this multiplicity of procedures?
The common link between these practices is an undisciplined interest in architecture that became an attention on space, understood from a point of view that ranges from phenomenological to conceptual (meaning that it appears to us as the demonstration of an idea). This concern began to emerge in his drawings as a reference to the relationship between objects and their shadows, a clear indication on the relation with the physicality of the surface of a space that is understood in its materiality. The shadow is the sign of invisibility (as an absence of light), but its inscription in a support is the confirmation of the target. Namely, of a surface that encloses and defines a particular spatiality, denouncing the existence of an object interposed between it and the luminous source.
This concern on how an object is perceptible as it exists in the immanence of a spatial expanse came to know various developments. Resulting from the juxtaposition of disparate objects recovered from the artist’s daily life, these sculptures do not exist as artworks until the moment they replace some element of a set of pieces that define the idiosyncrasy of an inhabited place. Often, this place is the carrier of some kind of order, even if that order belongs to the heteroclite space that defines a socio-economic context. Nevertheless, these sculptures exist as photographed objects before the displacement process that bestows on them a phenomenic existence. The confusion generated by this situation is particularly interesting as the objects exist as image before they come to life as objects, something which is only possible through this displacement process, to be finally reduced to a fleeting alternate life that is only possible as image.
There is an echo of Erwin Wurm in this displacement process, in the production of an echo of existence – the link that bonds the interest in the shadows to the interest in the displacement processes.
Even more interesting is to ponder on how this metamorphosis production line comes to transmute itself into the production of a character that populates places, not as a substitute but as an invading entity. With all this recursively presentifying weight of the image of the intruder and of the inscription that it generates, this is one entity whose strange motive of belonging must be placed at the dual level of proving its own existence as well as the existence of its place. This was the path followed by the artworks and projects developed in Brooklyn, New York, at Residency Unlimited. During this period (2011) Hipólito shifts his attention to the urban space, phasing out from the objectual dimension to the city scale. In the project produced at the Emily Harvey Foundation, appears for the first time the relation between the artist’s body and the space defined by the upper terrace of a building, in a work dedicated to how the city was made visible, here, in a relational scale. Using video and drawing, this exhibition explored the topics of invisibility and effacement giving place to a later development that took the form of a series of composite photos of a character (the artist himself, following of a tradition of self-representation that pervades the Portuguese art of the last hundred years) multiplied in different scales in a mirrored game that seems to point towards the idea of the double, a döppelganger. This way of mapping spaces (now evolved to a series of self-representations in architecture studios from Steven Holl’s to Aires Mateus’) is produced through the construction of a lexicon of movements, some pertaining to the history of modernist representation of the body (from the images of the ballets mechaniques to Almada Negreiro’s iconography), others evoking Bruce Nauman’s filmed performances, and are all unified by the use a black or white uniform that depersonalizes the artist, transforming him in a corporeal metric of the spatiality of definite places.
The performance now presented in Cristina Guerra’s gallery space represents yet another form of concretization of this relational method of mapping space.
Briefly describing the performance, the public is invited to enter the gallery’s building and once inside led through a small door into an obscured service staircase. There, they will follow to a lower level and into a door that opens to an unknown space. Being pitch dark, orientation is impossible and the only sense of dimension comes from the sound of a saw. One by one, apparently uncovered by the sawing action, faint lights shine and reveal corners. The performance goes on until, after climbing another flight of stairs, the route comes to an end as the lights reveal that we finally are in the space of Cristina Guerra Gallery, having entered it through an unknown and unheard path.
While this happened the gallery space was being strewed with the debris from the performance (the part of it that was carried out by the artist, as the process of perplexity and discovery of the space is collective and shared by the audience). This debris shapes informal sculptures of dubious status, being unclear if they are the memory of the action or claim to be autonomous as objects.
The typology of this artwork has a reminiscence of Robert Morris - or we can call upon it – as it is an inversion of the process of the seminal piece Box with the sound of its own making (1961). Here the sound is heard live and simultaneity is produced in the viewer’s memory when space is revealed as familiar. However, the state of perplexity is essential as it creates the availability to, progressively or gradually, recognize and experience the situation as an event on itself.
Between irony and candid fascination, the discovery of space is the recurring event in the recent developments of Tomaz Hipólito’s artwork. This discovery is often a micro-fiction emphasizing an order that transcends it – a landscape in Azores, Death Valley, the rooftops of New York, sometimes the lexicon of an almost didactic action, revealing a methodical study that seems to collide with a certain state of things, as in the images of the architecture studios.
Whatever the case may be; small epiphanies they are.
What else matters?
1969 Born in Lisbon | Studied architecture | Lives and Works between Lisbon and New York
With architecture as background, my work is an ongoing research driven over the architecture themes. The core themes are exhaustively revisited and begin with the investigation and staging of the mode by which we apprehend the relations between people, objects and space.
Multiple media such as photography, film, video, drawing, painting and performance are used to better reveal the concept of each work. Random attitudes, over a specific project, act in space in order to create singular experiences. Process is part of the work. All the works unique pieces
Recent projects: 2012 nature_01 “Moss Me”, Elastic-City, New York / 2012 home_02, Arte Institute, New York / 2011 draw_03, Appleton Square, Lisbon / 2011 draw_02, Residency Unlimited, New York / 2011 reflex_00, Abrons Arts Center, New York / 2011 rebuild_00, Emily Harvey Foundation, New York / 2011 layer_02, Union Square Park, Arte Institute, New York / 2011 censura_01, Hunter College, New York / 2011 layer_01, Lumen Festival, New York / 2010 poem_01, Emily Harvey Foundation, New York
Upcoming projects: 2013 rebuild_01, Baginski Gallery, Lisbon / 2013 project_xx, 102-100 Gallery, Castelo Branco / 2013 project_xx, Rooster Gallery, New York / 2013 project_xx Residency Unlimited, New York / 2014 project_xx Ermida de Belém, Lisbon
Press Release of the Exhibition
For this 4th show at Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Matt Mullican proposes a simple concept of a single drawn line as the common Architecture that binds the works in his upcoming show.
In the 1970's Mullican's Exhibitions could all be read as giant maps describing the relationship of subject to Sign to Art to World to Elements. For this show he brings back this device in order to bind and illustrate recent pictures and objects.
The single line is also a way of redefining what is possible in relationship to his earlier exhibitions at the gallery.
Most of the work will be modest in scale and everything will be displayed on a line on the wall.
The line is syntax, structure, context and in a way it represents “linear thought”. Recently in an exhibition in Switzerland titled 'Who Feels the Most Pain' Mullican used a drawn line to connect pictures of different media. Everything from Rubbings, notes, paintings, objects, models flags were incorporated and laid out all in a row. The thinking being that one understands the image of a man in a photograph in a different way than one understands a drawing of a man on a piece of paper.
The subjects of the pictures displayed on the line will include; Art, Society, Worship, Sex, Gods, Men and Women, Dreams, Work, Identity, Experience, War, Love, Truth, Beauty, Subject, Sign, World, Element, Brain, Cosmology, Coffee Cup, Notebook.
The forms of the pictures displayed will include photo's, Xeroxes, rubbings, lightboxes, collages, drawings, paintings, etc.
Pictures on the line could also be displayed in groups as in displaying a book.
The artist will be present.
MATT MULLICAN (b. Santa Monica, CA, 1951) lives and works in Berlin and New York. Important exhibitions include “Organizing the World”, Haus der Kunst, Munich; “12 by 2”, Institut d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne, France; Kröller Müller Museum, Otterlo, the Netherlands; STUK Kunstencentrum, Leuven, Belgium; “Pictures Generation: 1974-1984”, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, USA; “Matt Mullican: A Drawing Translates the Way of Thinking”, The Drawing Center, NY, USA.