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Bad Behaviuouor by Adriana Proganó, at Galeria da Boavista

Bad Behaviouor, a deliberately misspelled title, is Adriana Proganó’s suggestion in her most recent exhibition, at Galeria da Boavista.

The title’s provocative tone is underlined by the exuberant visual information. At first glance, the various paintings, objects and the checkered floor with blue ribbon make it difficult to fixate one point in specific. We encounter a clamorous scenario, with solar colours and dynamic shapes. Despite its lightly humorous appearance, it’s uncomfortable.

After this initial impression, the environment becomes more complex and stranger. Proganó’s singular chromaticism and figuration seem to cunningly camouflage the caustic side of her imagery, dominated by the lack of definition of bodies and narrative. The universe presented is composed of a set of references, in which she skilfully articulates an almost childish fantasy, with sexual tensions drenched in sarcasm, gender issues, female stereotypes and violence.

The notion of game is central to these works. It’s there that innocence and perversion are placed side by side, eliminating the socially imposed connotations. That game emerges in the paintings – the twisting bodies, the drawing sheet, the green floor stepped on by the figure reflected in the sword – and in the puzzle pieces, communicating with each other and playing with their own definitions; or the more direct approach: the carpet with the hopscotch (parodying the art scene) and the soft ladder deprived of its most obvious utility.

Adriana Proganó’s paintings are close to figurative “bad” painting. In recent years, it has regained importance among young artists, but has already been performed by renowned names such as Rose Wylie, René Daniëls or Walter Swennen. Artists capable of merging the purposeful technical precariousness with unusual images, but no less serious and timely. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times, with “bad behaviour” emerging in opposition to “political correctness”.

Bad Behaviouor is also the reinforcement of the curators’ commitment, Sara Antónia Matos and Pedro Faro, to present (young) artists who, for generational reasons or not, have picked up painting again as an autonomous artistic genre. That was the case of João Gabriel in 2018 and, now, Adriana Proganó in 2019.

The exhibition lasts until 10 November, at Galeria da Boavista.

Francisco Correia (b. 1996) lives and works in Lisbon. He studied Painting at Faculdade de Belas-Artes at Universidade de Lisboa and finished the post-graduation on Art Curatorship at Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas at Universidade Nova de Lisboa. He has been writing for and about exhibitions, while simultaneously developing his artistic project.

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