São Paulo

View of “Artur Lescher,” 2013.

View of “Artur Lescher,” 2013.

Artur Lescher

View of “Artur Lescher,” 2013.

Artur Lescher has been making three-dimensional work since the 1980s, during which time he has built a solid artistic career in Brazil. In his most recent solo show, “Pensamento pantográfico” (Pantographic Thought), he presented seventeen works, most produced this year, inspired by the pantograph, an articulated gadget invented in the seventeenth century for copying forms at different scales.

In the main gallery window was Pantográfica (Para Antonio Dias), 2013, a large, wall-mounted piece that resembles a metal gate, similar to the antique scissor types used in elevators. Hung on the wall, it drapes down onto the ground, like a rolled-out rug on display. Its literal reference to the pantograph, through its rhomboidal design and its capacity to expand and retract, leaves little to the imagination. Almost as literal, an earlier articulated wood wall piece, Pantográfico #2, 2011, from the series “Metaméricos,” 2008–, shows the same expansive and retractive system in a piece that is less industrial-looking due to the material as well as its more intimate scale. An articulated armlike contraption that protrudes from the wall and hangs down to the ground, the piece can be extended and compressed to form different compositions. Also mounted on the wall and resembling an articulated limb-like structure, the stainless steel Untitled #2, 2013, from the series “Nexus,” 2010–, refers to the mechanics of scalar reproduction in a much less literal way. Its forty-eight interlinked sections are not simply repetitions of a single form. More organic in its composition and possibilities of reconfiguration, it echoes the dynamic potential of Lygia Clark’s Bichos (Animals), 1960–66.

Three of the exhibited works—telescopic pieces, as the artist calls them—focus on the possibility of a form expanding and retracting into and out of itself while addressing the nature and relationship of different materials. Two of them stand erect and—in this show—connected the low ceiling in the central gallery space to the floor. Telescópica 4 (recartilhada) (Telescopic 4 [Knurled]), 2013, is aluminum, its central fold rough to the touch, while Telescópica 3, 2013, uses three “warm” metals: brass, copper, and bronze. The third piece in this group, made especially for the exhibition, ran through one of the gallery walls, appearing on either side of it. While the other two pieces allude to the possibility of movement, Telescópica em si mesmo (Telescopic in Itself), 2013, is actually interactive: It can be moved and collapsed into itself to resemble a sort of monochromatic aluminum dartboard, or project itself beyond the limits of the wall to form a conical protrusion.

The main gallery space was packed. Pendulum-like pieces reminiscent of Lescher’s earlier work hung in the back; a polished metallic spear-like form jutted down from the ceiling and others pierced the wall; the non-Euclidean form of a flat basalt floor piece with relaxed metric requirements that do not form a perfect figure eight was highlighted by the work’s title, Não Euclidiana, 2013; on the back wall was Livro (Book), 2013, two jacaranda-wood blocks with a thin strip of brass shining between them. The last was arguably the strongest piece in the show. Instead of using form literally to show scalar variations or pantographic structures, it suggests the possible expansion and retraction of ideas, concepts, and language—the real core of Lescher’s art. It may also serve as a metaphor for the way our minds have evolved since the advent of the Internet—becoming more and more capable of expanding and retracting in order to grasp easily accessible information, but also randomly pulling up totally disconnected subjects: working not only with such point-to-point correspondences as the pantograph but with breaks in those correspondences.

Camila Belchior