Art is not a process of exclusion by trends, but rather a process of requalification and reinvention by modes. The selection of artists enrolled in or recently graduated from the Fine Arts College in Lisbon, who make up the collective exhibition SINGULAR PACE, emerges during the 2018 Opening Galleries (GA-AB) edition, that took place on the 19th and 20th of May, and from the proposals which occupied the school space. Marked by informalism, and, in some cases by space management deriving from the chaos found in art studios at GA-BA, hundreds of proposals by students and ex-students stood out when they maintained the guiding thread throughout the experimentation of the processes and materials, revealing a boldness of concept and significant virtuosity, in some instances even classicizing. In the building of the old Convento de São Francisco, the distribution took place through subjects and teaching cycles, seeming as though the various ways of looking and observing went far beyond the choice of supports and materials.

What comes to mind when discussing painting? What comes to mind when discussing sculpture? Is it a drawing, an illustration, a setup, photography intervals, agglomerations or amends? Let us begin with painting. Presently, the practice of painting (by painters), is a tekhné apparently distinct from the one which was practiced in its origin. Precisely, the ways and means of transmitting knowledge have been changed. From the workshop, where the master/disciple relationship is privileged based on the possibility of observing and on the disciple’s predisposition to listen, to collective teaching and self-taught learning, a certain forgetfulness is noticed when it comes to copyright references, ways of producing and technical resources. Simultaneously, a certain gain is acquired in painting as tekhné, that is, as a practice which combines its own instruments with knowledge, and modus operandi with intelligent reasoning. The analysis of this loss and gain, shows how painting and other arts undergo constant updates where it is possible to verify, through pictorial works taken as testimonies of this artistic practice, the absorption and inclusion of other media, which both complement and replace the traditional ones, assuming a countercurrent position, without destroying the painting in the sense of announcing its «end».¹

Alberto Rodrigues Marques, André Silva, Dora Meirelles, Fábio Veras, Francisco Correia, Rúben Lança, Sal Silva and Tiago Santos visualize the painting clearly. They ponder the artistic object in its two dimensions even when their languages hold concrete derivations of influence. On one hand in the abstract, material neoexpressionism, leading in some cases to the essence of abstraction through its poetics and colour as an absolute value, and on the other hand in the anglosaxonic neoexpressionism, which emerged in the 1950’s, and where the human figure is worked from the inside out, that is from emotion to expression using anatomy and representation as a support. Carla Afonso, Carolina Serrano, Jéssica Burrinha, Joana Pitta (Não Joana) ponder the sculptural object. Lena Wan positions herself in photography. Ana Sofia Sá, Rodrigo Empis and Rita Vidigal, as well as mikha-ez (with Javier Ayuso) experiment vídeo. The first three in collective work, and mikha-ez in collaboration. Ana Sofia Sá, Marco Pestana, mikha-ez himself and Poli Pieratti, are, however, placed in the hybrid field, in the so called fluid Art, which adapts itself from Zymunt Bauman’s(1925-2017) thought². Denial of form and formats in the “being” of today and the vanguard seeking fulfillment beyond the Academy. The selection aims to demonstrate that to a hybrid cultural process the pictorial response goes through a composition of formal elements representative of different cultural origins (backgrounds) that interwine in a process of cut and paste (…) The cut and paste process composed by the appropriation of different pictorial identities rescues them by their use / re-creation, creating new contexts, through overlaps, transparencies, layers which make up plans creating perspective. The combination of these various elements can generate a multiplicity of solutions, renewing their meaning and message.³

They are paths, they are peripheries. Everything that is presented at SINGULAR PACE is the beginning of an author’s path, in some cases, still in formation. The beginning accentuates his surroundings. It accentuates laboratory perspective as a place of experimentation, of unravelling the science of things. According to these 19 authors, pursuing the philosophy of Clive Bell (1881-1964), “art is not about life, though it may seem so. The only relevant knowledge the observer needs to have is a sense of form, colour, and three-dimensional space.4 In the youth of the protagonists at SINGULAR PACE, the absence of emotional burden contributes to the construction of a course of greater freedom, stripped of worldly, bourgeois and even seigniorial concerns and places attention in the creative process as a learning process, constructor of a visual identity and promoter of consistency in a project.

Regarding the name? SINGULAR PACE emerges from a suggestion of a group of images by Ana Sofia Sá: A set of plasters with a mold representing the void between a woman’s legs, resting on a set of school chairs. This work of art enchanted me for its uniqueness. It reminded me of a film directed by Manoel de Oliveira (1908-2015), “Singularidades de uma rapariga loura”, which is based on a tale by Eça de Queiroz (1845-1900) with the same name, the first realistic tale in Portuguese literature. Ana Sofia Sá’s work of art formally and symbolically reminded me of that character. From there, considering the selection of artists, their subjects, meta-subjects and transsubjects, the exhibition develops rhythmically, simultaneously seeking to establish and open new ways which will enable the spectator to thoroughly see and feel the art.

Helena Mendes Pereira
zet gallery’s chief curator

¹MACEDO, Rui – “De que se fala quando se fala de Pintura” in SABINO, Isabel (coordenação) – And Painting? A pintura contemporânea em questão. Lisboa:
CIEBA-FBAUL, 2014. Page 46.
²BAUMAN, Zygmunt – Modernidad Liquida. Buenos Aires: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2012.
³CORDEIRO, Conceição – “Tempos do ‘cut and paste’? Uma leitura híbrida da Pintura” in SABINO, Isabel (coordenação) – And Painting? A pintura contemporânea
em questão. Lisboa: CIEBA-FBAUL, 2014. Page 71.
4 WARBURTON, Nigel – O Que é a Arte? Lisboa: Editorial Bizâncio, 2007. Pages 22 and 23.