The Outcast manufacturers, by Andreia Santana
Andreia Santana presents, at Galeria Filomena Soares, The Outcast manufacturers, an exhibition that gathers a group of iron sculptures made by the artist.
Curved rods with sinuous filaments are contorted and evolve throughout the gallery, constituting linear structures in black and summoning the essential element of drawing: the line. Abstract constructions that initially appear to have originated from ancestral contours and backs, and, or, from other (con)figurations, invade the gallery, and slightly reveal the mystery of specific phenomena or magical narratives. The exhibition stems from her current research on the work of the archivist of objects and anomalous phenomena, William Corliss, and her residence in the archives of the Peabody Museum at Harvard.
The black, iron-made lines outline horizontal, vertical or vagrant paths. Restricted to frames or structures that resemble furniture – some supported by four legs, as if they were stools or tables, while others attempt to stimulate a mirror structure –, they try to free themselves from the plane, they try to “pierce through it” and assume a primordial role. One day, Kandinsky compared the work of art to “a transparent glass”, “hard and rigid”, and he may have said that it was impossible to “access it directly”, since we still would have to “penetrate” it using our senses.
Andreia Santana’s exhibition appears to summon a reflection on the act of drawing and full use of the senses. In order to understand the structures at the gallery, one has to walk through the space, see through the sculptures. We can look at the pieces, we can enjoy them, but we immediately understand that there are others behind them, while others reveal themselves as if they were transparencies. We are then compelled to find out more about those objects. To identify their connections, to understand the relationships they establish with each other. We also know that there has to be some sort of previous experience about them, an earlier contact to be understood – to be drawn –, something greater than the simplest act of observation. That’s why the artist’s sculptures ask to be walked around. The exhibition space calls for a movement around them.
Santana’s sculptures are similar to drawings in space. In 1932, Julio Gonzalez seemed to know this. With his technique, he allowed Picasso’s works to come out of two-dimensionality, edifying themselves in space, so that shapes and collages, now with volume, could occupy different positions, revealing the drawing behind them.
To draw is to know, as much as possible, the object drawn. It is to know the texture, the temperature, sometimes the taste. It is to know the odour, the shape. Drawing only takes place after that. Drawing is, therefore, the extension of the act of seeing.
Drawing is, therefore, the gesture, the arm’s movement. For some, drawing is the outcome of the hand gesture – even of the body itself –, it is to pay attention to the process of drawing, rather than to its concreteness or purpose. The artist’s pieces propel this action. A liberating action of drawing. The drawing exists by itself, without being subordinated to an ultimate function. The elements of the drawing are the key characters: like the point at first and then the line. But drawing is also learning how to see, and the “element – time” is an essential dimension to know the object and its shape. The line, or outline, also has a length, and it differs in duration, whether it is straight or curved (as an extension of the circle).