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A forest of points and lines: Quacors e Prismas, by Ascânio MMM

At first glance, the exhibition Quacors e Prismas, by Ascânio MMM, seems to take us into an exercise of transience, interchangeability, questioning the elements that integrate and define each artistic discipline. At its base, the materials adopted, such as aluminium or stainless-steel screws, are fluidly applied to sculptures and two-dimensional works. But they retain the elements of design and their tensions, which seem common among the different arts, such as “the point, the line, the plane”.

In the beginning, we are confronted with the different forms of art, painting, architecture, sculpture, and the way they distance and approach each other. We are led to analyse the place of belonging and the nature of each of these art forms.

The interiority of the work is also invoked. Bearing in mind that sculptural forms in gallery space, given the delicacy and transparency of their structures, stimulate the perception of an intentional interpenetration and juxtaposition of some works over others, they also allow the “annulment” or narrowing of the visual field. As if the goal were to annul the physical space of the gallery, when we see the works without forgetting the others behind them, allowing a possible fusion.

But let us not delude ourselves. The identity of each form is guaranteed. The sculptural pieces keep their unity. Their integrity. They allude to an outdoor, urban, city centre space, in a large square. However, the forms revive an idea of architecture. A suggestion of transience, between interior and exterior. They evoke the great architectural constructions, without necessarily having to be so. The dimensions applied in the internal divisions of these structures, especially in the sculptures Prisma 2 and Prisma 3, are not enough to allow a shift to the interior. The invitation made at the entrance to living this space is retained. It is done through suggestion and in the domain of ideas and imagination. And, in this condition, in this notion of “beyond”, of things that only belong to the work of art, Kandinsky seems to be summoned.

In this exhibition, the point as an element appears to be the protagonist. It moves from one reality to the other with great agility. It is referred to in its condition of simultaneity. It can be a practical element, a support for the structure. But it can also, at any moment, assume an important role and become autonomous in relation to that structure. As we move into the gallery, the point seems to gradually become clearer. First, the geometrical place that results from the intersection of several straight lines emerges, guaranteeing the structure, and then it becomes the element of fruition.

It is impossible not to remember Wassily Kandinsky and how this painter called these structures constructivists. In his book Point and Line to Plane, he referred to the constructivist exhibition in Moscow, 1921, “the combination of lines”, parallel or perpendicular, “the law of juxtaposition and opposition”. And, even more beautifully, he recalled the lightness of constructions such as broadcasting towers or high-tension poles.

Thus, with the Quacors, plane and colour, usually associated with painting, are replaced by the sculpture form. In the same way, the point becomes autonomous. As it frees itself from the sculptural form, it begins to levitate in the gallery and leads the thought into a “forest” of points.

From the density of the structure to its almost absence, its lightness, we find the reflection of the grid, of the plot. The latter is especially important in the foundations of modern art, as Rosalind Krauss would say. A grid which, according to modernist thought, would “silence discourse” and underline the importance of visual perception to the detriment of narrativity. In fact, the works of Ascânio MMM seem to highlight the great questions about art, enunciated by Greenberg and Fried, as well as the trends of the 60s and 70s of the previous century. The literal art flourishes, namely the “primary structures” found in minimalist works, such as the constructions of Sol LeWitt, from 1971, Donald Judd, from 1963, the monochrome of Yves Klein, among others.

Quacors e Prismas, by Ascânio MMM, is on view at Galeria 111 until January 9.

Carla Carbone was born in Lisbon, 1971. She studied Drawing in Ar.co 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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