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View of “Igor Jesus,” 2015–16. From left: De costas voltadas (Back to Back), 2015; Domingo (Sunday), 2015; Polaroid, 2015; Polaroid, 2015. Photo: António Jorge Silva.

Igor Jesus

Galeria Filomena Soares

View of “Igor Jesus,” 2015–16. From left: De costas voltadas (Back to Back), 2015; Domingo (Sunday), 2015; Polaroid, 2015; Polaroid, 2015. Photo: António Jorge Silva.

When Igor Jesus conceives an exhibition, he begins with an overall approach to the space in which he will be showing, and to the process by which he must transform it in order to achieve his objectives. In the case of this show, his first at the venue, the challenge was a considerable one: Galeria Filomena Soares, boasts the largest contiguous space of any private gallery in Portugal.

At the entrance, the artist built a black box in which was projected the video that gave the exhibition its title: The Last Letter to Santa Claus (all works 2015), a loop of nearly thirty-two minutes. The visitor had to pass through (and presumably spend some time in) this dark space before seeing in the distance what appeared to be a freestanding wall placed at an oblique angle and nearly blocking access to the last third of the hall. In reality, it was a grayish-blue monochrome called De costas

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