Critics’ Picks

Future prospectus #Flag-B, 2006, satin, digital print on silk, rings, polystyrene, and welded stainless steel, 106 x 56“ and 25 x 15”.

Lisbon

Mário Pires Cordeiro

Galeria Presenca
Rue de Santo Amaro a Estrela, 47
March 10–April 28, 2007

“Future Prospectus,” London-based Portuguese artist Mário Pires Cordeiro’s commercial gallery debut, is a two-part exhibition at his dealer’s Porto and Lisbon venues. Cordeiro’s ongoing interest in the representation of futurity, especially as it relates to space exploration, marks his practice; for example, previous pieces inspired by science fiction included a mock-up of the moon’s surface and a walk-in model of the interior of a spaceship. Cordeiro now takes a further step, incorporating a critical dimension by bringing together past and present to examine the future. Corporate-style iconography informs several colorful, medieval-style flags and banners made with silk; each features futuristic patterns drawn from imaginary architecture, industrial design, or technology, as in one presenting a fictional communications satellite. Also on view is a group of drawings picturing various landscapes, created by fifteenth- to nineteenth-century artists, that Cordeiro altered by digitally inserting into the bucolic scenes different constructions painted in contrasting colors selected from a standardized palette. Situated somewhere between a European castle’s armory room and the set of an interstellar TV series, the exhibition has an uncanny atmosphere that allegorically interrogates national identity by questioning symbols as cultural constructs. Referencing history to meditate on seemingly imminent conflicts between superpowers, Cordeiro calls attention to the need for an utopian political vision to replace the realism of current brinksmanship.