A Pause with Claire de Santa Coloma

The French-Argentinian artist was the winner of the 12th edition of Prémios Novos Artistas Fundação EDP (New Artists Award of Fundação EDP), for the first time awarded to a non-Portuguese youngster, with the installation Composição Eterna.

Claire arrived in Portugal in 2009, when she was just 26 years old, and it was in our country that she began her career in the world of arts, with a decisive experience in the Maumaus school. She learned the importance of the context in a work of art, conceptualizing and presenting it in an open and thoughtful way in a contemporary space.

Pausa is her most recent individual exhibition, accessible until January 13 at 3+1 Arte Contemporânea, the gallery that has been representing her for several years. The current show is comprised of seven interventions, divided into the exhibitive rooms in a reduced space which, this time, don’t work as a whole like it happened at MAAT; rather in articulation with the space itself, in a dialogue established between sculpture, the functional object and the user’s realm, referring to an achieved triangulation.


“What interests me is the time that sediments itself in my works” C. Santa Coloma


The abstract works, of sober lines, live and breathe freely, where each one moves in a specific place, with different positions (the one of the wall; the one of the floor, vertically supported by a base or simply suspended), an exercise deemed crucial by the author. The artist intended to assemble the pieces to create spots of thoughtfulness, where one can question the way we see and interact with them. She is attracted by the idea that her sculptures may end up living in a daily context, interacting with other objects, which inhabit the space, where they can be touched and seen. Her work, which implies the touching element, always needs a physical presence, in an act of doing with the gesture. “What interests me is the sculpture’s relationship with the spot where it’s settled”. The most important thing is to enact the experience of the work of art.

The work is conceived using her favorite material, wood, punctually articulated with iron, which keeps assuming new contours with different functionalities, welcoming the previously established spot, based on the sapient choice conducted by the drawn path. “I think I’m addicted to wood”. The central piece spins around Banco para contemplação, summing up her work, which, besides enhancing the organic aspect, assumes a strong appeal to the touch, something that the volumetric shape displays and provides. She also references two-dimensionality (drawing and painting), through a rectangle hung on the wall, in a clear and attested allusion to two other compositions Frottage Paisagem and Escultura sobre tela. By transposing, in an emphatic and expressive way, a bench with a bottom carved in two binders, she leaves an open spot to the weight of the body itself, inexistent in that place, in a presence of the memory of a human body that inhabited that place, in a sensorial cohabitation. What she finds particularly interesting is the behavioral exercise shown by the sculpture, in its own spatiality, on the sphere of concept. Regarding the artist’s creative process, it is nothing something unheard of, nor can it be considered particularly original; (an issue debated by the Jury of the Award), except for the rational exercise which is capable of conciliating the sculpture through the time element, between the past, the present and the future, reflecting on “what can sculpture be today”. She absorbed the techniques of a lesson given by the past, learning how to perfectly master them and made a reinterpretation, transcending the technique itself.

Her work suggests a reflection on the times we are now living, our daily lives, praising slowness. She was born in Buenos Aires in 1983. She studied direct carving sculpture at Ateliers Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris. She completed her master’s degree in Plastic Arts at Sorbonne University, Paris, and was part of the group of Latin-American artists of Lisbon Ibero-American Capital of Culture, with a residence at Coruchéus and a project in the Quadrum gallery.

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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