The digital version of Arcolisboa continues for the third week in a row, here are some highlights of the fair.
Cristina Guerra Contemporary
Inaugurated in 2001, the gallery is run by Cristina Guerra, focusing on the work of 26 contemporary artists. Besides participating in high-profile art fairs, the gallery also organises exhibitions by foreign guest curators, conceived as platforms of exchange and expansion.
João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva have been collaborating since 2001 to make what they call Poetic Philosophical Fictions. Most of their works take the form of sculpture, installation, and short film featuring amateur actors and low-tech effects; their pieces demonstrate an ongoing interest in the paranormal, the inexplicable, illusion, and the complexity in the production of images.
Jonathan Monk playfully skewers seminal works and ideas from modern, conceptual, and minimalist art predecessors like Mark Rothko, Bruce Nauman, and Sol LeWitt.
Mozambique-born artist Angela Ferreira produces research-based sculptures that delve into colonial and post-colonial narratives.
Madragoa is a contemporary art gallery founded in April 2016 by Matteo Consonni and Goncalo Jesus based in the historical neighbourhood of Madragoa, Lisbon, that gives the name to the space itself and acts as a statement: the project of the gallery looks at how to set a deep conversation with the city, not only by representing Portuguese talents, but also by enabling the local production of each show, also from artists from abroad, setting a dialogue within global artistic practices and local craftsmanship and ideas.
The Skin of Labour by Adrián Balseca is a photographic series originating from the artist’s research on the processes of extraction of rubber from the Ecuadorian Amazon, in a visual reflection circumscribing the historical labour relations in the region. The images inquire about the core values that underlie human exploitation of nature, and reflect upon the impact of the technification of labour — shifting from vegetal extraction by hand to fossil extraction by machines.
The photograph iGagasi by Buhlebezwe Siwani documents the reenactment of the ritual of initiation as a Sangoma — a spiritual healer among the Zulu people of South Africa.
19th and 20th century Italian military garments by Luís Lázaro Matos takes images of advertisement from post-war Europe, and reappropriates them by drawing to re-write reality.
Polígrafa Obra Gráfica
In the 1970s Joan de Muga, son of the founder, Manuel de Muga, opened Polígrafa’s own workshop with facilities for etching, lithography, woodcutting, and other traditional printing techniques. The gallery presents works by artists Jaume Plensa, Antoni Tàpies and Christo.
Helga de Alvear
Helga de Alvear’s project is one of the best-established and longest-running art galleries on the Spanish art scene and has earned widespread international acclaim.
In his opulent, melodramatic films and videos, Julian Rosefeldt reflects upon historical and contemporary events and the human condition. He has explored themes such as striving and failure, and has critically questioned German history and the West’s involvement in the Middle East.
In majestic large-format colour photography, Candida Höfer captures the psychological residue left behind in empty public and institutional spaces. Höfer meticulously composes her shots, positioning herself symmetrically either in the center of rooms or along a diagonal that best reveals the space’s internal architecture.
Axel Hütte is known for his large-scale, coolly beautiful photographs of urban and natural landscapes.
Sabrina Amrani opened her eponymous gallery in Madrid, Spain, in June 2011. The gallery represents artists across East and West, eliminating cultural gaps and promoting a dialogue exchange and intellectual growth through it.
For Arco Lisboa, Sabrina Amrani presents Casablanca-based Amina Benbouchta, who engages gender politics and the feminist slogan “the personal is political” in paintings and photographs in which she uses herself as a subject. Benbouchta focuses on issues surrounding the oppressed position of women in the contemporary Arab world. In her most recent series of photographs, she incorporates objects that reference dualistic themes of domestic confinement and escapism. Caged birds, rubber gloves, teapots, and mirrors cover the artist’s face, acting as masks that transform Benbouchta into a universal symbol for inequality.
Zoulikha Bouabdellah creates work that explores identity, the sense of place and corresponding themes of globalization, otherness and oppression.
This work, by Malagasy Joel Andrianomearisoa, is made of a panel of mirrors that reveal and conceal, showing how lives are lived in fragments. When the viewer looks into the mirror, one doesn’t see a whole person, but many fragments and partitions.
Jose de La Mano
The show presented by gallery Jose de La Mano reconstructs the personal evolution of the geometric language used by two members of Equipo57, Agustín Ibarrola & Ángel Duarte, following the breakup of the group in 1962, in a dialogue with Manuel Calvo, a close friend of both.
London-based gallery Greengrassi represents a heterogeneous list of artists who work in a variety of media. The gallery works directly with its artists and supports them in all aspects of their career.
Influenced by a diverse range of artists including sculptor Alexander Calder and pop-artist Sister Corita Kent, multimedia artist Pae White merges art, design and craft in works that transform ordinary materials into ephemeral objects and installations.
Photographed in pairs, the ‘portraits’ of guns infer by absence and define by position the hand gestures referred to in the show’s title, Mudra. A Mudra is a symbolic gesture performed with the fingers and hands to focus the mind and direct intention in the spiritual practice of Eastern religions.
In painting, drawing, collage and sculpture, Alessandro Pessoli has built a distinctive cast of characters that are at once heroic, tragic, earnest, and comic. Pessoli alludes to religious symbols—crucifixes and familiar classical arrangements like the nativity or annunciation—mixed with sexual symbols to create enigmatic narratives.
Brazilian artist, Daniel V. Melim is interested in the affective, historical, collective, political, ecological, spiritual and healing dimensions of creation. Melim developed artistic projects in Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Germany and the United Kingdom, and collaborated for several years with the educational service of the Modern Art Center of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (current Modern Collection) and with private art schools in Lisbon. His works are in several collections, public and private.
Eugenia Mussa was born in 1978 in Maputo, Mozambique, but moved to Lisbon, Portugal, at a very young age. She occasionally returns to Mozambique, stopping over in Dubai, UAE. The pedestrian experience of the city is the main source of her language. She uses the classical technique of oil painting with a musical randomness; she floats, freely, between styles, genres or pre-established paradigms.
This piece has been exhibited in Matteo Fato’s solo show in Monitor Pereto in September 2019.
Against singularity and the impossibility of unicity, Fato researches into the continual deferment, regarding the mystery of concomitance; he carries out comparisons between orders of reality, placed in reciprocal relationship with the mediation of painting.
Balice Hertling was founded in 2007 by Daniele Balice and Alexander Hertling. They have presented the first solo exhibitions of many emerging international artists but the gallery also represents pioneering artists of older generations.
Enzo Cucchi is known for his revival of figurative drawing and symbolism. Working in large scale, Cucchi’s textured surfaces and instinctual charcoal lines can resemble cave paintings, and indeed much of his imagery includes primitive tools, livestock, flames, and eyes.
Stephen Willats is an English conceptual artist, living in London. He is one of the most influential artists in Europe. Stephen Willats develops an artistic practice that emphasises the importance of context, language, its meaning and the role of the viewer, addressing the controversies of contemporary society. In his work, he examines the process of communication between individuals and the signs and symbols that surround them daily.
This series of “drawings” by Isabelle Cornaro is based on the architecture of classical French gardens. The artist uses strips of white painted wood and hair that has been tucked at intervals to mark elements of the cultivated, codified landscape, such as a statue or a tree that were visible in the images that the “drawings” are based on.
Galeria Vera Cortês
Galeria Vera Cortês was founded by Vera Cortês in 2006 in Lisbon, Portugal. Initially an agency dedicated to the development of specific projects by emerging artists (2003-2006), Vera Cortês decided to expand the program and became a commercial gallery in order to create more opportunities to establish a longstanding and continuous collaboration with each artist.
Gabriela Albergaria uses photography, drawing, installations, and sculptures to explore the subject of gardens and trees and their histories. Albergaria transforms the natural world to reflect her own subjective experience of landscape.
Continuing the legacy of conceptual art, João Louro investigates both the construction of images and how viewers relate to them in his films, paintings, photographs and sculptures.
Project Blue Book was the attempt to systematically study the appearance of unidentified flying objects conducted by the United Air Force from 1952 to 1970. The study had two goals – to analyse the potential threat and gather data of appearances for further studies. A final report (Condo Report, 1969) ended the investigation, concluding there is nothing anomalous about UFOs. Brian Sparks, a UFO researcher, gathered a second archive of all those cases still not solved until today. The five books presented are a collection of Brian Sparks material.
Feature image: Adrian Balseca, The Skin of Labour, 2016. Digital print of Ilford paper, 27 × 36 cm. Editions 3-5 of 5 + 1 AP. Madragoa Gallery
ARCOlisboa 2020 has been postponed to 13-16 April 2021.