At first sight, I did not feel a great affinity between the authors and the artworks presented, at least an affinity that went beyond the Painting format or pictorial thinking. Likewise, it did not seem to me that there was also a great gap between the proposals, a gap that goes beyond very different processes, such as the collages of Paulo Moreira (n.1968), Manuela Pimentel (n.1979) or Mafalda Santos (n.1980); or Gil Maia‘s oil painting (n.1974), Acácio de Carvalho‘s acrylic painting (n.1952) or Sónia Carvalho‘s watercolors and print (n.1978).
The truth is that the earthly, neither convergent nor divergent, gives me a state of constant gravitation between the material clusters of each planetary proposal, where the distance and the proximity remain, until we sit protractedly in front of each other and interpret them in their singularities. Then, some narrative lines came up that guided me in the relationship between each of these stars that gravitate in the gallery universe.
I began with Acácio de Carvalho for his prominent position in this universe where the translation around the observer/artist is larger. It is the initial phase of this proposal, the figurative one, that worries me the most, to the point where I don’t understand my place before of what I feel. They have no title and so I can’t see them as an image. They are the emptying of Painting, of the full white plane, emptied by the very conclusive representations that do not unveil nature nor mediate the world. They are empty and so they take the painting off the scene. It is as if they deconstructed, to make room for the second part of the translation, the Absides.
The second unveil this same transmutative movement around me and, in part, reveals a material surface of white painting, which deserves the respective highlighting of the material and conceptual aggregation that I recognize in Art. It is a curious route for the group of artworks, a deconfiguration that can be made by its location in an image file, which forms the title read. Acácio de Carvalho paints with a earthly heart, shapes layers, scrapes surfaces, makes gradation trips until the observer is found, surrounding him.
Sónia Carvalho also stands out for her earthly and human side, more than the occupation of the NEW BABYLONS, this work is the tutelary figure of this universe. The allegorical character of the woman figure prevails far beyond watercolors or print. Allegory of the city. The woman who moves blocks is the mother of space, the definition of place. The body is determinant for this understanding, as is the light. Sónia Carvalho gives birth to her body and ascends in a position of excessive occupation of space, before and after the observer. It is the watchman and the protection of the universe. The figure that determines, the seeking figure, earthly but invisible.
From the interdicts of life, death is unsurpassable – it will not be possible for Mafalda Santos or Gil Maia to prove otherwise. Unless we sit for a long time and let them gravitate around the sun we are, we won’t know who throws light on the idea of macroscale. I feel very small together with their masses.
The rhythmic agglomerations of Mafalda Santos‘ notebooks immediately send me to the great cities. They are imposing, impersonal giants. Larger masses attract smaller ones and there is no way not to enter a hypnotic state in the presence of these images. I remember big High Tech buildings, indecipherable codes, worship and daydream. A meticulous work, delicate but very fragile. The assembly reveals their distance from us and the impossibility of sheltering them in our midst, as if we were drifting from it.
At one point the man had a need to hide his equal dead. To hide not only from the voracity of the wild animals, but also from the violence that was to see the body strip. Gil Maia hides and protects the white plane, creates barriers, massive planes that protect the painting from the observer’s voracity while, at the same time, there is something of departure and arrival, something of the fleetingness of an industrial station, the smoke and all. The concealing planes creak on the scraped marks. There is silence and fuss, pain and fear, harmony and doubt. It is interdict but attractive.
Paulo Moreira is defined by plurality, the impenetrable and the grotesque. It is undoubtedly also about the interdict of death, although lived not as Gil Maia or Mafalda Santos, but in an interior plane expanded to painting. This proposal alludes to the partition of housing systems, each on its branch, but all with a strong personal identity. They are self-questions that unveil the presence of this augmented interiority or a pleasurable relationship with death. Painting is laughable as well as drawing, collage or writing, but it is of fiery and sparkling courage. Paulo Moreira paints the apparition of Blessed Mother, or a Favela Ball, aggregated without looking at prejudices. Each work is to unravel by a Handsaw from its inner state, each state a paraphernalia of emotions, doubts and outbursts, for what is not its inner organization and its exercise of personal liberation.
The violation employed in the work of Manuela Pimentel is predicted. It is the imaginary machines, the tap, the car, that start this journey back to the beginning. It is the vandalized plans of the Portuguese tiles. More than that – is the interior of the walls and what echoes in them that comes to hit our inner voice. It hits the front and takes her. The frontal clash between a poor material and making it visible from an old technique, a rich technique that makes the walls speak. We hear the voices already succumbed by those who have passed through here and are no longer, because this star is far away, outside our solar system and so its light, or your voice comes later. A voice present in us passed to the speaker. Only now has Manuela Pimentel come to us, all these light years away. The echoes of its interior have come, the painting of his core and it is not really a closed interior, it is a listening, attentive interiority that has not closed the channels of his food.
How many are not the stars and their particular skills, how many are not the stars and their gravitational forces. The universe is a free and loose space where we are attracted and repelled, the place of man and art.
Assistant Curator | Visual Artist