Critics’ Picks

Mateo López, Movimento I, 2016, cut paper, watercolor, graphite and gouache on paper, 40 x 26".

Mateo López, Movimento I, 2016, cut paper, watercolor, graphite and gouache on paper, 40 x 26".

São Paulo

Mateo López

Galeria Luisa Strina
Rua Padre João Manuel, 755, Cerqueira César
April 5–May 21, 2016

As one walks into the dark gallery, Luisa Strina’s old Oscar Freire Street space now reactivated for this show, it’s hard not to look at the golden mask shimmering under a faint spotlight. Mateo López placed it there like a jewel or an ancient artifact that takes on the form of a ghostly presence, floating in space. In a way, most of the other works in this solo show, especially those in this dimly lit chamber, seem to be charged with a different energy, not just motionless sculptural fragments presented for contemplation.

Time and memory are fused here in what López understands as an intimate choreography, a setup that echoes the daily routine of his New York studio; it’s as though each object made by the artist were impregnated with his thoughts and recollections. While the works, hanging from the ceiling or carefully balanced on metal rods, betray traces of movement, videos nearby show those same pieces in dynamic states as dancers interact with them. The jaunty, robotic moves of a dancer on the screen, for example, tend to exaggerate the organic aspects of the golden mask, which seems rounder and more polished against such an angular body.

Other pieces, such as a measuring tape wrapped around a clay jug, offer powerful examples of how López has been moving away from rational geometric abstraction rooted in a constructivist DNA of sorts. Here, organic accidents and precise mathematical calculations embrace in a delicate struggle between chance and architecture. Outside on the terrace, loose metallic numbers lie in a circle, resembling a deconstructed clock, an allusion to the twisted way time goes by in the mind of an artist.