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Cápsula by Pedro Henriques

The exhibition Cápsula by Pedro Henriques is in Coimbra, at Centro de Artes Visuais – CAV, until September 13. Curated by Ana Anacleto, is a selection of the artist’s works created in the last five years on concepts such as abstraction and ambiguity, recurrent topics in his creative project.

On the first floor of CAV, Pedro Henriques’ works fill the four walls and the floor of the longitudinal venue. The exception is the piece Auto-retrato, placed outside the room in a kind of preambular preview.

Consistent with his artistic project, Henriques now presents works that challenge visuality and visual perception, in particular about the effect-experience vector. The artist gives preference to fluidity, abstraction and imagination, instead of a watertight visual reference, an allusion to concrete and mundane objects. There is a strong sense of onirism in his work, especially in the colorful sculptures and monochromatic drawings of Cápsula.

The monochromatic drawings with china ink ensure the abstract and oneiric side in great contrasts, in an approach to graphics. On the other hand, wood carvings do it through more complex and complete approaches. Techniques and readings overlap. At some moments, they look like rocky structures – for example, in Auto-retrato. But others – as in Sem título – seem to gravitate around letters or animals, where shapes, cut-outs, lines and stains push away any unique interpretations of their meaning.

Repsol is in the centre of the exhibition. At first, it seems to be out of step with the rest of the proposal, using everyday objects. However, it is one of the most intriguing and challenging moments in the exhibition. It is an eccentric piece, in the good sense of the adjective, which emanates and seems to have explosive potential. Composed of a gas canister painted in black, and some yellow billiard balls, the sensation that the canister will explode at any moment is latent and causes a movement that is both attractive and repulsive.

In general, Pedro Henriques’ exhibition is uncomfortably ambiguous, but it flows into a space of tranquillity and appeasement. His artistic proposals seem to point in a strange, fluid, undefined and inclusive direction. But this vagueness, instead of being a source of frustration, is part of one of the strengths of his work. This exploratory, abstract non-place composed of ductile readings and perceptions enriches and distinguishes his visual investigation. Thus, Cápsula is a good cut from the artistic project of Pedro Henriques, winner of the Novos Artistas EDP and Prémio Novo Banco Revelação awards, presenting works that slow down and enliven perception, with multiple interpretations and meanings, that challenge unexplored places of Portuguese imagination and contemporary art.

Diogo Graça (1997) lives and works between Lisbon and Barcelona. He studied Communication Sciences at Universidade Nova de Lisboa and studies Cinema at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. With a route that passes through places as diverse as Galeria Madragoa and TVI, it finds its fifth floor in writing and audiovisual, whether in the form of television scripts, articles on art or short stories.

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