Das pequenas coisas [Of small things] – Complicity between Pomar and Cabrita Reis

Making the most out of the warm days that are an integral part of the Summer season, even with the Fall already peeking behind the corner, I do recommend visiting this exhibition with works of sculpture, assemblages and small-objects authored by Júlio Pomar and Pedro Cabrita Reis, open until October, at the Atelier-Museu Júlio Pomar, under the curatorship of Sara Antónia Matos.

The pieces gathered for the occasion, around 100, vary from sculptures and objects made of different materials and different origins, having in their entirety a common denominator: they are small-scaled. Distributed among the museum’s three exhibitive rooms, the display is able to establish a rich dialogue, in a successful mishmash between two authors of visual arts, from different generations, but tied together in the intensity of tiny, inspiring gestures of creativity of the artistic object. The initiative was launched by the Atelier’s administration, giving continuity to two displays with Rui Chafes and Julião Sarmento, in an attempt to engender a gathering point in that place, whilst establishing new relationships between the painter’s body of work and contemporaneity. Pedro Cabrita Reis was the third artist to participate in this visual exercise, one he accepted because it is a stimulating and gratifying challenge.

“These are works conducted in the appeal, silence and intimacy of the atelier” Pedro Cabrita Reis

The idea emerged from the will to disclose a production within a specific field for both. Since it is a series of collages, in assemblages, structured on three-dimensional constructions, Pedro Cabrita Reis retrieves a retrospective exhibition (1978) of Júlio Pomar at Gulbenkian. Many of these fragments basically did not need any sort of intervention from the artist, as if the chosen raw material was more than enough to be owned by the authors. These pieces of objects, made of materials found on the beach, presented themselves as worn and corroded by time, in other words, by the force of nature. Juxtaposing that same environment of Júlio Pomar, Pedro Cabrita Reis exhibits tiny works whose tendency is to be suspended as projects delayed in time, like studio works who never get out of the atelier, falling into oblivion as they wait for an opportunity. “It’s a territory that had yet to be promoted, and so one had to shed some light on it”. Júlio Pomar promptly agreed with the idea. “He stayed with me for three full days, inside the museum, with a contagious energy, enthusiasm and joy”. Pomar’s commitment was unconditional, in order to be able to exhibit this new cycle of life, of which his art is an integral part. When one carefully observes the exhibition, it is possible to extract, from the majority of the pieces presented, the authorship of each, in a plastic endeavour, as if it was a properly outlined game of visual decipherment. Nonetheless, there are details through which we may confuse, in terms of language and vocabulary used, a relationship almost mimetic between both artists. Regarding the work of Pomar, we meet a singular, unique poetic content, where the objects acquire a crude format, endowed with a major formal purity, with irregular, undefined and poorly concatenated volumes, from which the painter’s universe is a consequence. One can feel the satisfaction they had for having the chance of making an exhibition together. A contagious dialogue is emphasized between both authors, a dialogue of complicity where the pieces provide a sort of oddness and, sometimes, a disconcerting irony.

After choosing the sculptures, the most delicate aspect was their assembly in a wide exhibitive room. One can sense an enchanting atmosphere hovering in the air, coming from a bright energy between the two, where each work breathes in every gesture and glance, as if it was a sequential line, hence echoing in silence, through their motivations, the voice of each author, outlining a properly historical narrative, which only concerns them. The true atelier is a space between the glance and the thought where “everything I see around me is matter for the works of art” (PCR).

Manuela Synek has collaborated with Umbigo magazine for over ten years. As the years go by, it identifies itself more and more with this consistent, ever-changing, innovative, bold and consistent design in its editorial line. She is a Historian and Art Critic graduated by the Superior Institute of Artistic Careers of Paris in Critique of Art and Aesthetics. She is also graduated in Aesthetics from the University of Paris I - Panthéon – Sorbonne and has the "Postgraduate Course in History of Art, Contemporary Art Strand", by Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Manuela is the author of books on authors in the area of Plastic Arts and has participated in Colloquiums as Lecturer related to Artistic Heritage; Painting; Sculpture and Design in Universities; Higher Schools and Autarchies. Lately she specialized in the subject of Public Art and Urban Space, with the analysis of the artistic works where she has made Communications. She writes for Umbigo magazine about the work of artists in the area of the visual arts who appear in the field of exhibitions and also the dissemination of emerging Portuguese values with new supports since installation, photography and video, where the body appears in its various aspects, raising pertinent issues.

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