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Acheron by Ana Izabel Miranda Rodrigues and Polpa by José Taborda

Galeria Graça Brandão is presenting two exhibitions that are not related to each other whatsoever, with the exception of a hypothetical comparison between two artists radically different in terms of experience and age: Ana Izabel Miranda Rodrigues and José Taborda. We can see Acheron by Ana Isabel Rodrigues on the 1st floor and Polpa by José Taborda on the ground floor. It’s like entering a quiet and contemplative, almost meditative place, with the paintings and drawings of Ana Izabel, and then we go down to be presented with Taborda’s daring and artistic restlessness.

Acheron is the name of a Greek river, which, in ancient times, was believed to be connected to the underground world; it is also the name of the god who rules this river and the lake of pain (obviously, there is a whole mythology behind this belief involving the punishment by the Greek gods). This connection is important, because the works of Ana Izabel refer to a blackness that does not submerge us into storms or tides, but to a distant and concealed location, which may even be inside of us.

There are small-format drawings in this exhibition, as well as large paintings. As for the drawings, most of them entitled Naufrágio, tiny lines of Indian ink occupy the whole white sheet, in a blur that can be a vicious sea pulling us into it, similar to a kind of primordial and unfathomable writing. The paintings abide by the very same logic, but the blackness is greater, since the lines work like a black bas-relief engraved on an equally dark background. Acheron allows us to appreciate the handmade work on canvas or paper and the texture of the ink where we lose ourselves. The canvases, in particular, are an ode to non-figurative painting.

José Taborda is 24 years old and has the world ahead of him. Polpa reflects a specific artistic restlessness and a quest for experimentation that crosses the threshold of plastic arts. His works do not allow the visitor the contemplation felt with Acheron, but they require intervention and curiosity. The materials and supports are quite versatile, which is a typical characteristic of contemporary art.

Some of the works here exhibited require our intervention, such as: Sem Título in which a liquid-filled round aquarium, structured on a frame suspended on a white-lighted canvas, shows us an eel that we only identify if we look through the aquarium; Retrovisor has the same device, but uses a rear-view mirror to show us a car journey projected on the screen; Realidade 2 is a mute screen that displays a video with an operating jackhammer and a fan that has a stuck glass rather than blades, which turns itself on intermittently, causing a sound and a cadence similar to a jackhammer.

Projecto 103, although it does not demand from the spectator the same level of interaction, is still surprising: an idyllic image is deconstructed by a kind of pointillism until it becomes a set of small points, just to be reconstructed again by the same system, until it forms an image of corpses lying on a street.

All these works of Taborda are an attempt to surprise and stun us, since they only exist when we look for them: the image in the rear-view mirror or the eel in the aquarium. There is an almost prop component in the way he grabs real objects and images and transforms them, magically giving them a new kind of life.

On the 1st floor, Ana Izabel Miranda Rodrigues makes us feel calmer and guides us to another time, while, on the ground floor, José Taborda startles and amuses us. Two different ways of looking at artistic enjoyment, both essential in artistic freedom.

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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