I will conquer you by Sérgio Fernandes

The dark and warm tones, predominantly red, overwhelm those who see the painting I will conquer you by Sérgio Fernandes. Due to its intensity, despite being intimidated, the observer is instigated to discover the large piece that fulfils the confined space of Kubikulo at Kubikgallery in Oporto. The conventional painting-spectator relationship is questioned through the site-specific work.

A trapezoidal black form in the centre extends almost until the limits of the rectangular canvas and vibrates due to the contrast with the red pigment in the narrow stripe surrounding it. The painting in tension challenges the space’s scale and arouses intense feelings in the human being. At the same time that it frightens, it fascinates and stirs the public’s curiosity motivating a confrontation.

Its absorbing force transcends the observer who is transported into a deep meditation state being embraced by an emotional experience that extends beyond the human emotionalism of feelings or sensuality. A process where exaltation is communicated by the emotional system. A reaction to the accurate proportions and technique and a consequent perception of the harmony of the overall piece, a true beauty experience.

Technically, there is a refinement of painting that gives it a singular elegance and a specific presence and strength. The three canvases are completely smooth, without any imperfection, and the strokes are almost invisible. A treatment that seeks the result’s perfection favouring the observer’s absolute concentration, without distractions provided by any irregularities.

Sérgio Fernandes captures light and colour together so that both are in perfect harmony. Intense tones are arranged on the canvas’ surface through a careful overlapping of layers of various colours. On the sides of the piece it is visible the record of that overlapping process possible because of the excess of paint that runs through the edges. In its thickness it is revealed, without shame, the sedimentation of colours that originated the final result.

Observation requires time. Slowly the canvas’ space is revealed. Diffuse forms emerge, in layers, from the flat, two-dimensional surface, and an aura glows around them. The upper layers become transparent enabling to see the shapes and colours in the lower layers.

Those who have been following Sérgio Fernandes’ work know the quietude that his canvases, mainly of light tones, emanate. Remembering the artist’s individual exhibition um blue, which took place at Centro de Artes e Cultura of Ponte de Sor, it is important to refer its immersive and contemplative dimension. A careful and slow look over everyday atmospheres, their light, their environments and their colours, marks the work that the artist has been developing until now.

I will conquer you announces a new contemplative dimension of his paintings and marks a new phase of his work. The immediate calmness and involvement are replaced by a contagious force and power that intimidate. From the contemplation of atmospheres and the surrounding environment there is a shift to the contemplation of the interior and the most profound and desired feelings of the human being, uncontrollable. The warm, dark tones allow that those feelings appear raw, naked and rough.

The red colour can be associated with an idea of power and wealth, being directly related to royalty as a symbol of a certain status. A status that can be seen in the most recent work of Sérgio Fernandes in which painting is presented as a symbol of power. Power not as possession, domination or leadership, but as an intensity that intimidates, confronts, challenges and provokes.

Thus, I will conquer you is a painting that imposes itself not only over the space that it represents and in which it is installed but also over the spectator, embracing him and conquering him.

I will conquer you opened on the 24th of November and can be seen until the 19th of January at Kubikgallery in Porto.

Joana Duarte (Lisbon, 1988), architect and curator, lives and works in Lisbon. She concluded her master in architecture at Faculdade de Arquitectura of Universidade de Lisboa in 2011, she attended the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands and did her professional internship in Shanghai, China. She collaborated with several national and international architects and artists developing a practice between architecture and art. In 2018 she founds her own studio, concludes the postgraduate degree in curatorial studies at Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas of Universidade Nova de Lisboa and starts collaborating with Umbigo magazine.

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