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


    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

  • Apichatpong Weerasethakul

    Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s survey exhibition—a noteworthy curatorial achievement by Gridthiya Gaweewong—inaugurated a new museum of contemporary art and a new cultural hub in the city where the artist now lives. The museum’s facade is covered with fragments of mirrors that refract and scatter light, a design inspired by Thai “spirit houses,” found in the entrances of homes and public buildings and intended to respectfully welcome previous inhabitants and their past lives. This architectural setting was a fitting prologue to one of Apichatpong’s strengths: the ability to unite a

  • Alair Gomes

    The young male body is the fundamental theme of Alair Gomes’s photographic work. This emphasis is all the more striking given the repressive political and cultural context of Brazil in the 1960s and ’70s. So Eder Chiodotto has rendered a great service to admirers of the photographer, who was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1921 and died there in 1992, in curating “Young Male: Photographs by Alair Gomes,” the largest show of Gomes’s work ever presented by a commercial gallery.

    Gomes studied engineering and the physical sciences, but from an early age he developed a fixation on the theme of the male

  • picks August 09, 2016

    Regina Silveira and Leandro Erlich

    When you approach this new space, it’s not easy to tell that it’s an art gallery, because what you first see is a house, which was designed in 1958 by Rino Levi, with landscaping by Roberto Burle Marx. It’s rooted in a peculiar relationship between interior and exterior in which nature, in the form of two outdoor gardens, makes its way in through the building’s glass walls. With Regina Silveira’s works and Leandro Erlich’s installation, this indoor-outdoor relationship is particularly gratifying. The concept has been a long-standing interest of both artists.

    An exhibition of Silveira’s work at

  • Yonamine

    The work was extraordinary, arresting: Most of the longest wall of the gallery was covered by a field, about eleven and a half feet high by twenty-six feet wide, of 2,500 slices of toast. Many of these were branded using a customized toaster, with a selection of images forming an irregular pattern: two portraits (face and bust) of José Eduardo dos Santos, president of Angola, and the numbers 0, 1, 7, and 8 (the most frequent), along with 5 and 6. The work’s title, Pão nosso de cada Dia (Our Daily Bread), 2016, reinforces a chain of implicit associations. Few things are more universal and

  • Igor Jesus

    When Igor Jesus conceives an exhibition, he begins with an overall approach to the space in which he will be showing, and to the process by which he must transform it in order to achieve his objectives. In the case of this show, his first at the venue, the challenge was a considerable one: Galeria Filomena Soares, boasts the largest contiguous space of any private gallery in Portugal.

    At the entrance, the artist built a black box in which was projected the video that gave the exhibition its title: The Last Letter to Santa Claus (all works 2015), a loop of nearly thirty-two minutes. The visitor

  • Alexandre da Cunha

    Walking along Rua Padre João Manuel, in São Paulo’s Jardins District, one notes the solidity and order of the buildings that line the street, their almost exact symmetry and their geometric design. Recently, anyone glancing into the windows of the gallery that occupies the ground floor of number 775 might have thought the space contained an exhibition of abstract paintings, works as geometric and patterned as the surrounding buildings outside. But things are not always what they seem, even, or perhaps especially, in an exhibition titled “Real.”

    The exhibition was advertised by a poster with a

  • Paulo Nazareth

    Upon entering the gallery’s warehouse space during the opening of this exhibition, the visitor was greeted by the sound of an unusual chant and the smell of home-cooked food. The aroma was of traditional Brazilian fare offered visitors in a family-style banquet setting. The sound came from a video installation shot entirely in the dark, making it a work to hear rather than see: Aprender a rezar Guarani e Kaiowá para o mundo nao acabar (Learn to Pray Guarani and Kaiowá So the World Doesn’t End), 2013. The work documents the ceremony in which the artist, a Brazilian from Minas Gerais, of mixed

  • f. marquespenteado

    Wooden boards (similar to those used in temporary construction sites), some painted pink, were placed over the white walls of the gallery, creating a uniform base for the works included in f. marquespenteado’s recent exhibition “Denominador Comum” (Common Denominator). This artist’s work takes in, welcomes, and renews objects that have been abandoned or rejected (as a function of the logic of accelerated turnover of consumption) or that were bequeathed to us as legacies of experience we cannot share. He is particularly drawn to the world of textiles, to activities such as sewing, darning, weaving,