New gallery UMA LULIK_

A new gallery is about to open in Alvalade on October 13th and, with that, the reassurance that Lisbon is now opening its doors to art and artistic production, aiming to amass new outlooks, horizons and some other forms to understand art and the world. To the fresh new galleries addressed by Umbigo in its new printed issue, UMA LULIK_ (A Tetum term that means sacred house), conducted by Miguel Rios and focused on the so-called new geographies, is now added.

This term – somehow a bit unfair and belligerent from the academies’ point of view – refers to nations whose cultural activity emerges beyond the traditional western art centres, roaming between New York, London, Paris or Berlin and, this way, they are able to question globalization and contemporaneity. Among the world regions represented by UMA LULIK_, such as South America, Africa, some nations from Asia or the Middle East, several belong to this designation.

Visiting this gallery is, therefore, a moment of reflection on contemporaneity and on the proliferation of discourses and visions sometimes dialogic, sometimes confrontational, which derive from a growing, enriching polysemy, which contests the idea that the future will be unavoidably homogenous.

The inaugural exhibition Ausência [Absence] opens with the work of Joël Andrianomearisoa, an artist born in Madagascar with education in Architecture from the academies of Paris. Delfim Sardo begins the curatorial discourse by contextualizing the artist’s exercise from a western point of view and based on the concepts of monochrome, handicraft and acromia, techniques blatantly explored by western artists like Yves Klein, Ad Reinhardt or Piero Manzoni. Indeed, the use of black and white is something recurrent in the work of Andrianomearisoa, who, nonetheless, and unlike the aforementioned artists, is not bi-dimensional, but three-dimensional. And, if these approximations between western artists and the Malagasy artist appear to enforce an external context to a reading conducted by the eyes of the inner side, the truth is that there is a rather unique lexicon and that has very little to do with the west, given how based it is in a materiality (and handicraft) deeply associated with a particular geography and culture. As put by the curator, “the reasonably cryptic autobiographic references, the sensitiveness of the materials, the ductility of the shapes and their frailty, they all work as engines which activate the remissions for cultural contexts, as well as for the mastery of the subtle poetries of everyday life, for the urban as a place where countless languages are conjoined in an image”.

The openness of the west to the cultures of other latitudes hence demands a review of the concepts that Art History or, generally speaking, sciences and humanities, have regarded as stable and cemented. The schemata – a series of patterns, knowledge and information that structure any given subject – of Art History and the historiography of Art History itself have been studied under this new prism of new geographies. The exhibitions, like the written documents, are a quintessential complement for this discussion and, therefore, material testimonies of artists whose work is based on a broad understanding of geography, art and geography of art.

Ausência and UMA LULIK_ open on October 13, Friday, 10 pm, at Rua Centro Cultural, 15, porta 2.

José Rui Pardal Pina (n. 1988) has a master's degree in architecture from I.S.T. in 2012. In 2016 he joined the Postgraduate Course in Art Curation at FCSH-UNL and began to collaborate in the Umbigo magazine. Curator of Dialogues (2018-), an editorial project that draws a bridge between artists and museums or scientific and cultural institutions with no connection to contemporary art.

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