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Hospes hic bene manebis, hic summum bonum voluptas est*

*Transcription from the gate to the Garden of Epicurus according to Seneca. Translated as “Stranger, here you will do well to tarry; here our highest good is pleasure”, by Richard Mott Gummere.

The garden always had an important yet discreet place in the culture of civilizations and has been the spark of many thinkers, artists and writers. From the classical antiquity the Garden of Epicurus is one of the most well-known places, an extension, or substitute, of the academy. The peripatetic wanderings between plants and a controlled nature constitutes not only a way of amusement but also a root of thinking, in an immersive – and radical – conquest into cosmos. Therefore, the garden was the realization of the epicurean philosophy, the hut for all good thing in life, the shelter against any type of alterity.

The history of gardens tells us precisely that, beyond the aesthetic qualities, these places are spaces of introspection, solitude and cogitation. And if it’s true that it may seem like an attempt for man to embrace nature the garden too cannot be dissociated from the tyrannical attitude of man towards nature, to dominate her, to control her in his big, obscure and interior designs.

The exhibition Gardens, by Luís Silveirinha, trails several of the paths, meanings and significations of the Garden, focusing primarily in the mysticism, spirituality and awe of these places. The works in black gouache over cardboard have a vague similitude with botanic illustrations and floral motives, which twist until the point of abstraction. In the end, there’s an impression rather than precise forms. Thus, we’re in front of a mental garden of overlapped images, between vegetable and animal. The paintings open the viewer into a cosmos (kósmos) embedded in gardens, an order, a harmony in the Earth – “a space in which the interiority transforms into a world, and where the world interiorizes itself”, as mentioned in the presentation text .

Until 27 January, at Galeria Diferença.

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