1 nova, 2 nem tanto, by José Pedro Croft

A central structure, composed of rectangular iron plates, alludes to a primitive construction. The forms appear united, two by two, in an unstable position, defying gravity and contradicting the connotation that they originally held, of constant, useful, and well-defined objects. They come from a reference to architectural elements already used, such as windows and shutters. Its orientation, oblique to the ground, evokes an iceberg on the verge of collapse. For this reason, it becomes practically impossible not to evoke Friedrich’s Polar Sea, Turner’s paintings, or Monet’s representation of thaws.

The structure compels the visitor, in a first contact, to question the orientation of its elements. Memory, in fact, betrays the most observant and informed observer. As Merleau-Ponty would say, objects in the world are not just neutral, they have connotations, contain emotional contents that, in turn, establish connections. Invisible, but strong. They transmit paths that suggest familiarities and possible orientations. The rectangular shapes, presented in this gallery, are the same shapes that we got used to seeing, perfectly framed in art history, and in records deeply associated with the primordial shape of the cube, with the essentialism of geometric structures, that are stable, typical of minimalism. They have never appeared, to the public, out of alignment in museums, or off-axis. Assuming a verticality and horizontality that tacitly obeyed the intrinsic laws of the (modern) grid, suggested by Rosalind Krauss.

In no way did we observe, in the beginnings of Judd or Morris, an imbalance of forms, or an inclination of its drawing elements. In general, these forms were taken from constructive frameworks that belonged to an industrialist logic, segmented, and perfectly contained, obeying precepts by means of security and stability in structures. Minimalism appreciated this restraint, and its exercise consisted on the basis of distance, necessary for its contemplation or enjoyment. However, this work by Croft, urges the visitor, not only, to move around the structure, in order to understand its principles and coherences (this is a purely perceptive need, associated with a search for good form), but also to give him the urge to enter that same structure, to be part off, to belong to it. With that wandering, we are stricken by memories and reminiscences of Sol LeWitt, (memory again) and its variations on incomplete cubes, drawn past in 1974. Like LeWitt, who led the observer, mentally, to complete the cubes, Croft’s structure obliges into a search for order, which never ceases to escape and hide from us permanently. It is a cry for independence on the principles of perceptual reality, a Progress in Art. Or as Lippard would say, the “moment when, in artistic thinking, a structure opens up to questioning and is organized according to a new meaning ”

Two other sculptures, originating from recycled doors, lean against the wall. One of them, laden with meanings, is covered by a white plaster mantle. It shows an old intellectual organization, from the past, of memories and emotions, which so much the simple orientation of rationalist postulates made us forget. When we observe an old door of a thin and weak golden, totally covered by a thick layer of plaster – and in which the artist intentionally reveals a faint border, which flashes in front of the observer – we are led to approach the work, to squirm, so that we hope to see it better, understand its past, and the complex forms that inhabit these times. On the other hand, we can establish a parallel with history itself, between what has endured until today, and what has been erased, due to various circumstances. And so, between the white wall and the thick plaster, which hides the door, a smooth, sweet golden line is sensed, which goes upward in an oblique position towards the wall, intersecting it, and dissipating, finally, in a possible infinite.

At Galeria Vera Cortês, until 27 June.

Carla Carbone was born in Lisbon, 1971. She studied Drawing in and Design of Equipment at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Lisbon. Completed his Masters in Visual Arts Teaching. She writes about Design since 1999, first in the newspaper O Independente, then in editions like Anuário de Design, arq.a magazine, DIF, Parq. She also participates in editions such as FRAME, Diário Digital, Wrongwrong, and in the collection of Portuguese designers, edited by the newspaper Público. She collaborated with illustrations for Fanzine Flanzine and Gerador magazine. (photo: Eurico Lino Vale)

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