Critics’ Picks

António Bolota, Untitled, 2012, stainless steel, concrete, dimensions variable.

António Bolota, Untitled, 2012, stainless steel, concrete, dimensions variable.


António Bolota

Galeria Quadrado Azul | Lisbon
Rua Reinaldo Ferreira 20-A
September 19–October 25, 2012

A round hole has been dug in the floor of the gallery’s front room, about the size of a foot bath. A perfectly round globe made of metal has been inserted into it. Or, not inserted—for the effect is more akin to an emergence: a silver ball of a world birthed from a cement inferno. Or, not emergence—for emergence implies movement, and the only movement is that which is reflected in the shiny, harsh, metalloid surface: namely, yourself and whatever other living beings happen to be in the gallery at that particular moment.

This is the first of two new works by António Bolota. The Portuguese artist practices what might be deemed a deceptive Minimalism that, in this instance at least, struggles not so much to disrupt the architectural space in which his sculptures are installed as to project a static resonance to parallel its idiosyncrasies. The approach seems so honest and simple: a three-dimensional detail blown up for a three-dimensional space. It is the second, larger of the two sculptures that really disrupts the white-cube austerity of the gallery, by bringing attention to the fact that the rooms aren’t actually cubed at all. The ceilings and doorways are, in fact, vaulted. The work is a massive, perfectly circular slab of concrete held up by a metallic ball similar in size to the first, though maybe a bit bigger. Your mind and vision drift between the work and your sudden awareness of the room’s quiet complexity. Thus, from these sculptures’ enunciation of the space where they are installed, a new space becomes palpable.