Filipa Oliveira

  • “Silvestre Pestana: Techno-Form”

    Though Silvestre Pestana has been active for the past five decades, the radical Portuguese artist, poet, and performer has remained virtually unknown outside of Porto. The first major retrospective of his output will feature archival documents alongside more than sixty works in drawing, installation, photography, video, and performance spanning from Pestana’s earliest experiments in 1968 through pieces produced this year. These will include such efforts as the performances Necro Echo, 1979, and Uni Ver Só, 1982; the photographic series “Bio-Virtual,” 1981–87; computer poems

  • Bernardo Ortiz

    Bernardo Ortiz’s work often involves the rewriting and reconceptualization of images. Using drawing as his favorite technique, he takes existing images and pictures them anew, frequently via obsolete processes. Such transformations were showcased in the works in “Printed,” his recent show at Casas Riegner’s new project space, La Oficina del Doctor. For example, 12 Asuntos Abstractos (12 Abstract Matters), 2012, an installation that Ortiz first presented at the São Paulo Bienal that same year, departs from James Ensor’s etching Stars in the Cemetery, 1888. Ensor’s image lies at the edge of

  • picks November 29, 2014

    António Bolota

    António Bolota’s latest solo exhibition treats formal issues as a science and articulates how sculpture can transform the way in which space is perceived. Here, the artist fills two rooms with three massive blocks of brick or brick and iron that resemble polyhedrons and are covered with concrete mixed with black pigment, giving them the appearance and texture of coarse sandpaper (all works Untitled and from 2014).

    Situated as hulking, dark forms in a sparse gallery, two of these pieces resemble hunks of charcoal against the surrounding paper-white walls. One sculpture could potentially be climbed

  • Musa paradisiaca

    Eduardo Guerra and Miguel Ferrão started their partnership as Musa paradisiaca in 2010 with the aim of focusing on dialogue. At first their efforts mainly took the form of audio pieces available on their website, but they have also made slide works and performative events, and, since 2013, sculptures and films as well. “Audição das flores” (Flowers’ Audition), their first solo show in a commercial gallery, overlapped with “Audição das máquinas” (Machines’ Audition), their first solo show in an institution. The exhibitions proposed to refute the idea that humans and nature are separate entities,

  • picks September 10, 2014

    Mateo López

    For a year, under the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, William Kentridge mentored artist Mateo López. Now the two exhibit in adjacent galleries (Kentridge in MAMM’s main rooms and López in the project space), and while López’s exhibit, “Constellations,” features two works made in collaboration with Kentridge, it focuses less on how the pair’s time together unfolded than on where López’s practice is and where it’s headed.

    One of the two collaborative works is an animation: Titled Dictionary from K to L, 2013, the piece depicts a book whose pages turn to reveal the figures of Kentridge

  • picks March 04, 2014

    João Louro

    “The image is strong but next to it is the void,” reads a phrase in a recent work by João Louro. The statement may well be an axiom for the artist’s overall practice, which regards the image as an entity in itself and probes the space that surrounds it. Central to this process is the presence and absence of images and the role the spectator has in activating or reinventing them. In Lisbon, Louro presents two simultaneous exhibitions—one at the eighteenth-century chapel of Projecto Travessa da Ermida and another at Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art—that postulate separate takes on our relation to

  • Leonor Antunes

    For more than fifteen years, Berlin-based Portuguese artist Leonor Antunes has focused on such concepts as measurement, memory, and site. She assesses the space where her objects will be installed and constructs them in relation to its dimensions, character, and history. But her exhibition at Kunsthalle Lissabon, “a linha é tão fina que o olho, apesar de armado com uma lupa, imagina-a ao invés de vê-la” (the thread is so tiny that the eye, though armed with a magnifying glass, suspects it, rather than sees it), seemed to represent a move away from this approach. Antunes did not draw on the

  • picks November 14, 2013

    “The Gravity of Things”

    Gravity acts as an organizing principle in this exhibition of four works curated by Chris Sharp. Take Viola Yeşiltaç’s photograph Mise-en-scène, Untitled (I Really Must Congratulate You on Your Attention to Detail), 2012, which wages a nearly impossible situation: two pieces of paper caught leaning against each other, staging a moment of delicate equilibrium. Echoing this is Fernando Ortega’s photographic diptych Short Cut I and II, 2010, which depicts two leaves held together by a safety pin; an ant walks across the slender needle as if it were a bridge. Sara Barker’s Nature—Builder, 2012,

  • Diogo Pimentão

    Since the early 2000s, Diogo Pimentão has been obsessively questioning the conventions and possibilities of drawing. Paper and graphite are the raw materials par excellence through which this London-based Portuguese artist explores three major themes: weight, space, and materiality. For him, the experience of looking at a drawing should become a physical encounter with a three-dimensional body. Thus, the title of his recent exhibition “Oblique Gravity” evokes the forces that defy equilibrium and the way in which both objects and people constantly inhabit a space between balance and instability.

  • picks September 05, 2013

    Ricardo Jacinto

    Diploplia, commonly known as double vision, is a term that Ricardo Jacinto borrows for the title of his latest exhibition. That said, sound rather than sight is at the crux of the Lisbon-based artist’s practice and this show, which consists of a single installation aimed at mixing one’s perception of space and time through a binaural recording. Throughout the gallery, chairs have been positioned expectantly in front of a wall on which a set of headphones has been hung, glowing in a halo of warm light.

    The sound tracks that play from the headsets are all recordings of a scripted thirty-minute

  • Julião Sarmento

    The first thing one saw in Julião Sarmento’s recent solo exhibition was Two Frames (all works cited, 2013), a diptych composed of a black-and-white photograph of Duchamp’s Why Not Sneeze Rose Sélavy?, 1921, and a simple schematic watercolor of Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, ca. 1881. Together, these images convey themes that have long been of great importance to Sarmento: the history of art in general and of modernism in particular, and the representation of the female body.

    Inside the first room stood, among other works, First Easy Piece, a sculpture of a young woman mimicking the position

  • Rui Chafes

    It has become a clich. to talk about the overflow of images in our time. We hear again and again about an excess producing a kind of blindness, as if images were so pervasive as to have become transparent, slippery. Another current clich. is that the constant flow of images and information in which we are immersed has accelerated time, leaving us increasingly unable to pause long enough to look, think, or experience in a sustained manner. Yet these truisms can still be useful starting points for reflection, as demonstrated in Rui Chafes’s recent installation Tranquila ferida do sim, faca do não

  • picks March 19, 2013

    Fernanda Fragateiro

    Fernanda Fragateiro’s practice is invariably about studying a particular space or situation and intervening in it, her objective often being to direct attention to the unquestioned. In the case of her installation To Think Is to Destroy, 2013, the floor of Ermida de Nossa Senhora de Belém, a eighteenth-century chapel, is the object of her attention.

    While the chapel is almost entirely in its original state, during the 1980s the floor was redone in a gray Portuguese marble. This material is noticeably different than those used in the church’s initial construction, so much so that the marble almost

  • José Pedro Croft

    In a career now spanning more than thirty years, José Pedro Croft has constructed a visual and conceptual language that has begun to seem practically unshakable. Particularly in the past fifteen years, we have come to expect his work to be not just sculpture but more specifically metal structures with stainless-steel surfaces, sometimes painted or mirrored. Yet the recent project he developed with curator João Silvério for Appleton Square marks a clear change in his familiar materials and vocabulary.

    Croft presented a new sculpture (all works Untitled, 2012) that is a reworking of a very large

  • picks December 23, 2012

    Becky Beasley

    Questions related to the overlapping histories of the photographic and the sculptural, to thresholds between the two, and to conditions for exhibiting both have been at the core of Becky Beasley’s work for over ten years. Her current exhibition in Lisbon makes evident her primary conceptual concerns.

    Take the newest piece, specially commissioned for this show: Given (or One to One), 2012. Installed near the entrance to the show, this floor-based work consists of a large piece of linoleum on which a black abstract form has been printed. The work is simultaneously an image (the abstract shape is

  • picks November 28, 2012

    Sancho Silva

    In his poem “On the Nature of Things,” Lucretius suggests that images are like a second skin: Mimicking their particular material forms, they float freely in the ether. For his first solo show in Lisbon, Sancho Silva stages this poem as an installation, precisely titled as Effigiae, 2012, which is Latin for “ghosts.” The main entrance to the Kunsthalle has been replaced by a mirror, which duplicates the space and prevents access—the museum has set up another entry nearby. Within the exhibition, it becomes evident that the mirror is in fact a spyglass, simultaneously allowing and blocking

  • António Palolo

    António Palolo is mostly known as a self-taught painter whose work veered between Pop and abstraction. His recent exhibition at Culturgest focused instead on his films, revealing a side of his practice that, with a few exceptions (notably his inclusion in the 2000–2003 “Slow Motion” survey of Portuguese artists’ explorations of film and video), has remained hidden. While Palolo explored the limits of painting in his work, this exhibition acknowledges that he also occasionally transcended them, using film as a medium to explore possibilities unavailable to painting.

    Palolo, who was born in Évora

  • picks August 13, 2012

    Fernanda Gomes

    The Pavilhão Branco is a two-floor pavilion located in the garden of the city museum in Lisbon. It has white walls, high ceilings, yellowish floors, and large glass windows that overlook the grounds. Fernanda Gomes used the specificities of its architecture to determine the installation of her exhibition: All of the pavilion’s space (inside and out) is incorporated and becomes a landscape of events. For example, Gomes inserted a small pointy stick of wood into an existing fissure in the gallery floor. What used to be a barely visible imperfection is transformed into a sculpture and floor drawing

  • picks June 17, 2012

    Noé Sendas

    A relentless collector of images, Noé Sendas has always let photographs––drawn from cinema or art history books, for instance––play a crucial role in his videos, sculptures, and collages. Since 2010, Sendas has dedicated himself almost exclusively to photography, primarily searching out, collecting, and appropriating existing images for his works, in order to manipulate and subvert the originals as if he were sculpting a three-dimensional piece.

    At the heart of his current exhibition is the series “Desconocidas (Madrid 1945)” (Unknown [Madrid 1945]), 2012, which began with nearly 500 negatives

  • picks May 05, 2012

    Bruno Cidra

    Bruno Cidra’s current solo show is titled “Flecha,” Portuguese engineering jargon for “deflection”—that is, the degree a steel beam can be bent under tension. Cidra’s sculptures play with the limits of this idea, experimenting with and frequently intensifying it. Untitled (arrow), 2012, for instance, is a product of extensive research Cidra conducted to find the exact point where a beam of steel and paper would deflect—which it does at five feet and six inches—and naturally curve against the wall. He applied the same process to Untitled (vertical), 2012, cutting a similar beam until it was able