Vitrine, by Jorge Santos

Sit down and watch the time go by in the living room, in the bedroom, in the office, in the studio – an attentive stone by the side of a window.

Wait for the twilight and the low, golden, orange light.

Watch the sunrays drawn on the wall, the projected shadows of the accumulated objects; see the dust flakes slowly come down and shine under the light.

The glowing dots of the shutter, beyond the veil of the undulating curtain, move along the late afternoon’s melancholy and a sun that has all the time in the universe.

The shadows of the dancing grove give life and disturb the superficial stillness.

Wait until the weight of the stoned existence is troubled by the yelling, the sounds and the movement outside.

Sit down and watch the time pass by, yet again, amid the sedation of postponed obligations, to contemplate a worthless existence.


Art is often a phenomenological study of the worldly things – an immersive, radical experience of the phenomena that constitute time, space and life. An annotation of a moment, the dilation – poetic, if we want to – of a fraction of time, minuscule, microscopic, speciously touching and beautiful. When beauty still mattered…

With the exhibition Vitrine, Jorge Santos takes this phenomenological analysis of the inhabited space into art. This vitrine displays and complexifies the interior/exterior relationship, whilst providing its nature as a dividing element. We have always chosen what to show in this vitrine: a crucial play-acting for social survival.

The major elements are present, as if somehow removed from Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space. The light and shadow drawings, the subtraction of forms, the brise-soleil curtains, the folding screen, the hypothesis of an interior animation; and then, of course, the absolute signage between the exterior and the interior, the public and the private.

The formal two-dimensionality of the works has a stripped-down approach. We can perceive this exhibition as a great installation-environment that easily composes and decomposes into the several dimensions of dwelling-in-space from a mental standpoint. But it is the painting, consubstantiated in pure exercises colour-drenched exercises, that deserves the spotlight. We live (in) a painting, (in) a flat picture, immortalized, of the house, the home.

The technique is often found in this artist, but has a different dimension here, focusing on the basic elements of life. Before, the benchmark cut-outs moved in and out – from the erratic bystander, who stares at the windows and tries to guess the experience taking place inside – or between the ribbed and traced element formed by plant motifs, now Santos only minds the inner side. A reclusive insight that reaps the most basic: light and colour.

Contemplating the exhibition from a formal point of view is something curious, borderline formalist, or, alternatively, from the gestaltic perspective, and through the psychology and perception of shapes and colours. Of what constitutes first and second planes, of the three-dimensional flatness and completeness of forms, which is suggested in a stylized way: of the unseen window, as it is not depicted, but whose presence can be perceived due to the cut-outs and light planes; of the projected shadow and the shadow of the railing itself, doubly displayed; of the distances, of the spaces nearby, of the measures of things considering the representations.

The familiarity of the composition and the themes imply a perceptive subjectivity on the viewers’ side. The conclusion is a manifesto of this familiarity and intensity, with which each individual lives the space they inhabit.

To see until October 7, in the gallery A Montanha.

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.

Signup for our newsletter!

I accept the Privacy Policy

Subscribe Umbigo

4 issues > €34

(free shipping to Portugal)