Alexandre Melo

  • Gabriel Abrantes

    While Gabriel Abrantes might be best known as a filmmaker (having recently won the International Critics’ Week Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his first feature-length film, Diamantino [2018], codirected with his occasional collaborator Daniel Schmidt), the Lisbon-based artist has been developing his themes, obsessions, and research across a wide range of mediums, from simple pastel drawings and oil paintings to animations and virtual reality. Curated by Inês Grosso, the exhibition “Melancolia Programada” (Programmed Melancholy) has brought together more than a decade of work, starting

  • Rosângela Rennó

    It was more than a century ago that Lenin thundered his way into twentieth-century history. For some, his name became synonymous with the onset of Communist totalitarian terror; for others, it represented the greatest hope for liberation in human history. These days, Lenin’s ideology is generally considered obsolete, but his image—replicated ad infinitum by the USSR propaganda machine and its cult of personality—continues to hold power as both a point of reference and a source of controversy, especially in Europe in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the struggle for democracy

  • Juan Araujo

    In drawings, paintings, and objects, Juan Araujo combines conceptual sophistication with technical virtuosity, the former evinced in his evocation of art history (modernism in particular) and the latter apparent in the methodology of his installation, which allowed this survey exhibition to function equally as a whole or as a collection of individual components.

    In the first room of the show, the display strategy for the works followed strict rules of duplication (via works that are copies of preexisting images) and reduplication (via further copies of the same images, a repetition of the

  • Runo Lagomarsino

    One of the works in this exhibition, Untitled (This wall has no image but it contains geography), 2011/2018, featured the Portuguese version of its subtitle, written in small letters with white pencil on a wall painted black. Geography is the theme of much of Runo Lagomarsino’s work, so it’s undoubtedly significant that this show was presented in a space—run by the Lisbon municipal council—located near many historical sites and monuments associated with Portugal’s history of colonialism and seafaring in the fifteen and sixteenth centuries. Titled “La neblina” (The Fog), and curated by

  • João Pedro Vale and Nuno Alexandre Ferreira

    Due in part to being ruled by a dictatorship from 1926 to 1974, not to mention the hegemony of Catholicism, Portugal has no explicit lineage of gay art. In this show, titled “A Mão na Coisa, A Coisa na Boca, A Boca na Coisa, A Coisa na Mão” (The Hand in the Thing, the Thing in the Mouth, the Mouth in the Thing, the Thing in the Hand), the Portuguese duo Nuno Alexandre Ferreira and João Pedro Vale set about addressing this lack. The main work in the central gallery was titled Vadios (Vagrants), 2018, after the word used to describe gay men in the 1912 Portuguese law criminalizing homosexuality

  • Tiago Alexandre

    On Balcony’s facade, atop a wide glass display window, visitors saw the handwritten question WHO RUNS THE WORLD? in pink neon. On its display window, in a more discreet position, was the title of the exhibition, WORDS DON'T COME EASY. Between F. R. David’s 1982 Europop hit “Words,” the source of the title, and Beyoncé’s power statement of 2011, is a span of some thirty years, which (perhaps not coincidentally) is about Tiago Alexandre’s age today. The citations announced his exhibition’s themes: What is power, and who has it? How does power manifest itself through images, words (which are not

  • Fernanda Fragateiro

    Fernanda Fragateiro’s recent exhibition, curated by Sara Antónia Matos and titled “Dos arquivos, à matéria, à construção” (From Archives, to Matter, to Construction), was a good example of a selective anthology of works of a midcareer artist. In a fluid and clarifying manner, it juxtaposed pieces from as long ago as 2002 with more recent ones, some of them made for this exhibition. At the entrance was Demolição 2 (Demolition 2), 2017, an assemblage, in a huge panel, of masonry fragments collected from a renovation project in downtown Lisbon. The work showed how the artist conceives of her process

  • Lia Chaia

    Although it might sound surprising to say this of an artist not yet forty years old, Lia Chaia’s recent exhibition “Pulso” (Pulse) had the virtues of a retrospective. In the gallery’s main space she showed several groups of recent works, themselves a clear demonstration of the breadth of her production. In one of the adjacent building’s rooms, transformed into a comfortable auditorium for the occasion, she presented eighteen videos made between 2000 and 2016 (with a total running time of more than four hours). These provided the necessary background for a full understanding of the themes presented

  • JORGE PINHEIRO

    There is no doubt that Jorge Pinheiro occupies a singular place in the history of Portuguese art since 1950, but observers differ in their characterizations of the nature of his achievement and the greatest strengths of his work. He deploys both figuration and abstraction in his art, intermingling those two modes in complex ways to generate works that are strikingly diverse in appearance, yet united by a systematic austerity. More than eighty such paintings, drawings, and sculptures will be on view in this retrospective, which terms itself historical but also includes

  • Ana Vidigal

    A merging of personal and cartographical histories was evident throughout Ana Vidigal’s solo show, particularly in two attention-grabbing works, stationed near the gallery entrance, whose elements and titles both offered valuable clues as to the exhibition’s larger concerns. The first, a mixed-media piece titled sem família (say it in modern greek) (Without Family, [Say It in Modern Greek]) (all works 2017), incorporates burlap scraps from Sharjah and a Greek-language phrase book for tourists in a framed collage resting upon twenty-four sandbags. Connecting the composition’s elements are strips

  • Rui Chafes

    Entering the exhibition space, one saw two parallel rows of vertical sculptures, apparently abstract, in black iron. This material and color are hallmarks of the art of Rui Chafes, as is the vertical format that the artist (in texts and conversations) relates to European architecture and gothic sculpture, and places in opposition to the horizontality that he considers characteristic of modern sculpture (except for Giacometti, whose evocation here may not be by accident)—above all, the American sculpture of the second half of the twentieth century.

    Given the exhibition title “Incêndio” (

  • picks December 13, 2016

    António Ole

    “Luanda, Los Angeles, Lisbon,” a retrospective of Angolan artist António Ole, offers a unique opportunity to delve into the story of a diverse imagination who is a source of inspiration to recent generations of Angolan artists. Viewers also get to further understand Angola, a country with a complex history that has much to say about social transformations in Africa and post–Cold War colonialism.

    World of Writing, 1985—produced in Los Angeles, where Ole studied film—brings to mind comic strips and the post-Pop discourses that influenced the artist in the 1970s. Sobre o consumo da pílula (On Taking