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Epigramas by Isabel Madureira Andrade at the Museu Arpad Szenes-Vieira da Silva

After her participation in the EDP Foundation’s New Artists Award in 2019, the works of Isabel Madureira Andrade, born in the Azores, are now part of the Epigramas exhibition at the Arpad Szenes-Vieira da Silva Foundation, in Lisbon.

The epigram, the term that gives title to the exhibition, was created in ancient Greece. Its purpose was to place an inscription on an object, a statue or a tomb, coming from a verse or poem. With these inscriptions on canvas, on objects that possess a certain grid, a regular geometric pattern or drawing, Isabel Madureira Andrade explores the dialogue between line, stain and color, in brief poetic compositions. “I am interested in fixing a certain structure, and then reflect only from the level of painting. I’m interested in repetition and its variants”, says the artist.

The piece Sem Título (díptico) was the beginning of the development of the other works found in the exhibition. The diptych was executed soon after the exhibition at the MAAT, for the EDP Foundation’s New Artists Award. It emerged following the frieze of twelve paintings presented at that event. The work appropriates everyday objects, used as “mediating matrixes of image production”. A characteristic of all these objects is the geometric patterns on the surfaces, which the artist traces on her canvases, in a process similar to surrealist frottage. For this exhibition, Isabel Madureira Andrade breaks with her frequent appropriation of geometries in found or acquired objects. For the first time, she designs her own drawings in line, also using sisal rope.

The line is a motif now introduced into her body of work. Lines that cross each other, creating fluid records, far from the previous rigorous patterns. When these motifs are fixed, an investigation begins at the level of colour. The thinking focused on painting. There is an overlapping of layers on ungraded canvas, where these motifs are placed, allowing the colours to be seen in the lower ones. The combination of oil paint and acrylic paint, the reaction between them, and the outcome of their overlapping are crucial aspects of this investigation.

The act of drawing precedes the act of painting. This moment before painting interests the artist, who seeks to deepen the relationship with the materials even before the act of painting. It is an attempt to understand “what exists before, as a possibility of something”. Previously, this relationship was based on the appropriation of rigid and static geometric patterns in industrial materials, manufactured from mechanisms that materialize their formal perfection. But, since recently, Isabel Madureira Andrade’s sisal drawings present a fluidity associated with organic forms, which derive from the human act of drawing by her own hand. The “formal accidents” become intentions. It is possible to recognize certain silhouettes, which find real and familiar references.

Besides the works on canvas, there are also paintings on paper, which complement the artist’s research. Paintings that arose from the need to see the colours juxtaposed instead of superimposed and to understand the dialogue between them. After applying the oil pastel, in a scraping process, Isabel Madureira Andrade removes the wax, so that only the oil, i.e., the pigment, is impregnated in the paper, without the bright finish of the wax. Therefore, the texture of the paper becomes the color finish, which remains on its surface. This texture gives it a diffuse look.

Epigramas by Isabel Madureira Andrade, an exhibition in collaboration with the EDP Foundation, until April 12 at the Arpad Szenes-Vieira da Silva Foundation.

(NOTE: Epigramas runs on until 12 April, but is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re, thus, publishing this text as a memory and register of the exhibition.)

Joana Duarte (Lisbon, 1988), architect and curator, lives and works in Lisbon. She concluded her master in architecture at Faculdade de Arquitectura of Universidade de Lisboa in 2011, she attended the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands and did her professional internship in Shanghai, China. She collaborated with several national and international architects and artists developing a practice between architecture and art. In 2018 she founds her own studio, concludes the postgraduate degree in curatorial studies at Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas of Universidade Nova de Lisboa and starts collaborating with Umbigo magazine.

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