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Room with a view

Galeria Jeanne Bucher Jaeger will show until the of December, in Lisbon, the exhibition Room with a View, with works by Jorge Nesbitt.

The works exhibited include those made in paper lithography, mostly in black and white, and they showcase Jorge Nesbitt’s literary interest in Gertrude Stein, something he has been revealing throughout his career. The writer is known to have experienced a commitment to Cubism, and the artist’s work has a formal closeness to Picasso’s movement.

The references to Picasso in Nesbitt’s work are many and they keep reminding us of the relation of opposite sides in the canvas. Drawings of floral elements appear side by side, with shapes of human skulls and primates, negligibly displayed, on top of each other, like pieces of crockery, or instead they lurk in the shadows, behind pleasant vessels of vibrant flowers – unaware of the absence of the being, of the emptiness that resembles the Man Ray mask, present in the work A Highly Evolved Descendant of the Helmet.

Therefore, the skulls unravel the deepest and most obscure fear of “breakdown” and “dissolution” of the body. They unleash feelings of absence and pain, like the “solitudes of Picasso”, referred to by Jean Cassou.

Picasso, given his spiritual and transforming nature, did not appreciate the idea of committing great lengths of time to the same creative solution. The discontented artist thus emphasized the ephemeral character of the works. Cassou called it a continuum of destruction and transformation, and Krauss referred to it as a “surrealizing metamorphosis”.

Nesbitt offers us a variation of still lives that play with the tension between opposites. Life and Thanatos live side by side.

In turn, Hal Foster understands the clash between opposites as a characteristic of surrealism, and describes the dismemberment and disconnection of body parts as a mishmash of “pleasure, exaltation, and fear”.

The artist’s work thus reveals the attempt to recover the hopelessly lost object, and the sole condition to capture it is its permanent replacement and repetition. Therefore, in order to rescue the object, one needs to “make, undo, and redo” the image.

The works of Nesbit reveal the beginnings of Cubism, once started by Cézanne. An interpretation of nature is established and not just a copy, strengthened by black and white contrasts that stand out in the eye of the beholder. Opposed to the use of gradation and modelling, there are spots of opaque painting, which modulate the shape into a synthesizing need. The painting, according to Denis, swings between invention and imitation. Sometimes, the painter copies, establishing a direct translation with natural forms, in others the painter imagines, or feels, and then he transfigures.

Carla Carbone was born in Lisbon, 1971. She studied Drawing in Ar.co and Design of Equipment at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Lisbon. Completed his Masters in Visual Arts Teaching. She writes about Design since 1999, first in the newspaper O Independente, then in editions like Anuário de Design, arq.a magazine, DIF, Parq. She also participates in editions such as FRAME, Diário Digital, Wrongwrong, and in the collection of Portuguese designers, edited by the newspaper Público. She collaborated with illustrations for Fanzine Flanzine and Gerador magazine. (photo: Eurico Lino Vale)

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