Simpósio – the one of Rita Gaspar Vieira at Appleton Square

Simpósio, on the top floor, a large-scale installation. Qualidade do Começo on the lower floor, monotype on paper. Simpósio scattered all over the place, an exhibition conceived from Plato, from that first dialog on the relationship between the beautiful and the useful, on the nature of the righteous and the truth, the praise of love – in any case, for an idea of. This context, first and foremost, approaches the “celebration of the encounter” – specifically, the encounter between the artist’s body and the object’s surface, “between the skin of the one who draws and the skin of what is being drawn.” Simpósio is what is left of such encounter, the force exerted on the mass of cotton, against the referent and for the referent’s sake, the vestige of a fundamentally affective operation – not just tactile, but also affective.

Rita Gaspar Vieira cherishes the most mundane encounter of all, one that is materialized with the most familiar surface, with the object of everyday life – according to her, it always exists for and on the verge of being rediscovered, again and again, with every new glance. Indeed, the evocation of the Platonic lesson conveyed by Diotima: learning to love the beautiful, what is beautiful out there – particularly, what is beautiful in each day, the shiest deviation in any order, the possibility of a fissure. Loving the rule for the exception, in the extent of the exception itself. If friction constitutes a form of affection. If the print is the declaration of affection. One may say that, in this sense, that to act upon is to take care of. Back to the praise of the hand, the artist’s hand, the one which inevitably comes before her – at the service of the whole “trick of the spirit”, as put by Focillon. The gesture that revives, that reencounters.

Simpósio – and, above all, in the installation – enunciates the “recognition of the difference” as the principle of equality: the uniqueness of each lid is inscribed on each paper sheet, on any shim of the table, engaging in the flatness that turns it into part of a whole, of one single structure. This means that the artist takes advantage of the difference in the quest for similarity, in the configuration of oneness. Since the situation of parity emerges, in the first place, from the assumption of otherness. However, this proposal exists beyond the pure and simple assumption. It should be mentioned that the artist’s work always assumes, to a greater or lesser extent, the tone of celebration. Rita Gaspar Vieira is not satisfied with the frottage: she dances in the fissure’s abyss.

Such dance is nothing more than an archaeological process with an exceptional sensitivity, an odd intimacy. Indeed, there is something deeply sensual on the cotton’s peeling – and also on what is remains from that encounter, on the evidence of the consummation. Keep in mind: in the subtleness of the clue, all the violence of the operation. It should be noted, on the sheet, remains not only the contour line, but also some meat – a portion of the magma that made this table someone’s table. One says the splinter, the rust on the hinge, the painting’s detachment, the dust that nobody wiped. Finally, during the decal, everything becomes a vestige: with every accident, their protrusion. Thus, each sheet is the story that is ripped from a lid, from a time, the memory of an intrinsic domesticity, a bit of someone who dwelled on it.

Carolina Machado (Lisbon, 1993). Currently working as a researcher at Instituto de História da Arte with a fellowship granted by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia to attend the PhD in Art Studies - Art and Mediations at Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Already holding a MA in Aesthetics and Art Studies - Art and Political Cultures and a PgD in Art Curatorship from the same institution, as well as a BA in Painting from Faculdade de Belas-Artes da Universidade de Lisboa. She is moving forward with her research project: «Genealogy of derivative practise: Study on the production, mediation and reception system of derivative work within the emerging art scene in the Portuguese context (2015-2025)» comes from «On the transgressive gesture under the aestheticising logic of the post-contemporary scene: An approach to emerging art practise in the Portuguese context (2016-2019)» and aims to scrutinise the ascendancy of a derivative force over the creative gesture, progressively nurtured by the youngest generation operating within this spatiotemporal framework.

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