Filipa Oliveira

  • Silvestre Pestana, Árvore Fractal (Fractal Trees), 2003, argon tubes, dimensions variable.

    “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, 12 Asuntos Abstractos (12 Abstract Matters), 2012, mixed media. Installation view.

    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

  • António Bolota, Untitled, 2014, brick, iron, concrete, and black pigment, 11' x 10' x 67".
    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

  • View of “Musa paradisiaca,” 2014; Kunsthalle Lissabon. From left: Pau-mão (Stick-hand), 2014; O sono do Francisco (The Sleep of Francisco), 2014.

    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,

  • View of “Constellations,” 2014.
    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

  • João Louro, Ulysses, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 67 x 52”.
    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, the thread is so tiny that the eye, though armed with a magnifying glass, suspects it, rather than sees it II, 2013, agba wood, nylon thread, dimensions variable. Installation view.

    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

  • View of “The Gravity of Things,” 2013.
    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,

  • View of “Diogo Pimentão,” 2013.

    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.

  • View of “Diploplias,” 2013.
    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, First Easy Piece, 2013, 3-D printed sculpture, ABS plastic, wood, chipboard, water-based enamel on glass, ink-jet prints on aluminum, frames, water-based enamel and acrylic on paper, dimensions variable.

    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, Tranquila ferida do sim, faca do não (Quiet Wound of the Yes, Knife of the No), 2000–13, iron, light projectors, each element 118 1/8 x 10 5/8 x 30 3/4", overall dimensions variable.

    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