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Miguel Palma. A-Z

The machine. The motor, the cables, the construction. Turning the visible into invisible. Approximately 300 works on paper that establish what MAAT designates as drawing-installation and that come together under the banner of Miguel Palma’s anthology, based on his less known work. This way we can get to know the artistic methodology of Miguel Palma a little bit better and the way he reaches sculpture and installation. It is the first exclusive exhibition of his work on paper, whose works comprise approximately one-fourth of the existing total, according to the curator Adelaide Ginga.

The present works, even though they serve mostly as support or an auxiliary of Palma’s sculptural works, have not, however, a sketch-like character, but give shape to an artistic parallel path. With that, we can perceive the artist’s joy when it comes to drawing and working on paper, because that takes him to the finished work, eventually ready to be exhibited. Palma declares “I feel an immense freedom with drawing” and considers that collage (which is repeated often in this anthological) has a very close relationship with sculpture.

When we step into MAAT’s Project Room, it is as if we had just entered in some teen’s bedroom, full of posters on the walls. This A-Z has this exhaustive documentational trait, almost as if all drawings form a whole when they come together, which is the work on paper of an artist whose known side is based on installations and sculptures that are recognizable even if we do not know to who they belong.

Here, we can witness his collector profile, something palpable in his large-scale sculptural endeavours, but now revealed in minutiae and thoroughness. Works where technical drawing gets mashed with collage and painting, newspaper clippings or technical books, photos, small captions or comments that seem to compose a whole that should be seen in two different stances: from afar, looking at the spot comprised by all drawings, and closely, where we see the connections to his best-known work.

Not all works exhibited directly remind us of his sculptures. Rather his thoroughness, his love by the mechanics of things and his sense of humour, elements often present in his work and that now appear in a coherent way, yet as if they were some dark side, not because they are inferior in any way, but for being like a shy and delicate form of everything that we had seen already in his sculptures and installations. Miguel Palma considers that, in sculpture, which is a team effort, there is a greater contamination, and that drawing is more solitary, more introspective. In fact, in these works we can have a glimpse of his essence, as if they have in them the key that deciphers all his remaining work or the line that rules it.

There is an experimentational side that crosses the whole work of Miguel Palma and which is clearly reflected in the intimate drawing now displayed. When looking at the walls of the Project Room, we can read the story of the Miguel Palma’s work, told through his drawings, a kind of Warburgian artistic work.

With a career in film production spanning more than 10 years, Bárbara Valentina has worked as production executive, producing and developing several documentary and fiction films for several production companies including David & Golias, Terratreme and Leopardo Films. She is now working as Head of Development and Production Manager at David & Golias as well as a postproduction coordinator at Walla Collective. She is also teacher at ETIC in the Film and Television Course of HND - Higher National Diploma. She started writing articles for different magazines in 2002. She wrote for Media XXI magazine and in 2003 she began her collaboration with Umbigo magazine. Besides Umbigo she wrote for Time Out Lisboa and is still writing as art critic for ArteCapital. In 2010 she completed a postgraduation in Art History.

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