A invenção do compasso: Humor Líquido at Espaço Camões in Livraria Sá da Costa

A invenção do compasso by Margarida Oliveira

Humor Líquido – an organic collective born from a concept of fluid and diluted creativity between joint and individual works – displays A invenção do compasso at Espaço Camões in Livraria Sá da Costa.

Presenting the work of Ana Mata, Anabela Mota, Catarina Domingues, Marta Castelo, Nádia Duvall, Sara Belo and Teresa Projecto, the exhibition focuses on the central union shown by the trajectory of the compass, which, based on a single point, extends through space. The trajectory identified by the artists is worked according to aesthetic and rhythmic concepts of each element of the collective, in a space marked by dynamic dialogue.

Let’s analyse Marta Castelo’s work, which presents several white objects, made in ceramics and with a tapered shape, placed on a blacked-top table. These objects co-authored the image of the exhibition poster, used as drawing instruments on different surfaces, especially on the sand delineated in the image. Pieces of various sizes and shapes, with one end in common, arranged on a table just as they were used by the artist to draw – the representation of a collective of objects almost reflective of the collective of artists exhibiting in A invenção do compasso. In addition to these items, the artist presents prints of the images produced by them on different surfaces. Circular drawings crossed out by a sculptural materiality occupy the different spaces of the exhibition, almost as if they were unifying elements, materializations of the compass’s central point.

In an almost opposite perspective, and at another point in the exhibition, Nádia Duvall displays a viscous piece, an acrylic skin over a wooden skeleton. The piece’s format points to the birth of something, which freezes at the moment of rupture, in a permanently tense piece. The curved wooden bases, taken from destroyed windows, are coated with green, a trace of the birth of the work that is never born.

The collective states in the exhibition text: «We invent a point, and, from it, we rehearse the circumference’s infinite movement. Or of repetition, infinitely different: the compass generates rhythm, step, possibility». The rhythm of a collective exhibition will always be thought according to its participants and the time of A invenção do compasso is utterly circular, as if it had no end.


A invenção do compasso by Margarida Alves

Between light’s tactility and materiality, the trace of a compass is turned into substance.

When we enter the exhibition venue, a sculpture by Anabela Mota[1] takes the form of a black pendulum that drips onto a surface of raw stoneware. The water meteorises the clay, in a slow movement that transforms the surface into depth. The black pendulum is reflected in a double body that gives way to the hardened stoneware, where the action of fire translates into a greater material durability. However, time advances subtly and, with the help of the elements, it cracks, transforms and assumes the grandeur of geological scales.

A escrita do tempo is transmuted into small bars that define circular shapes. By the hand of the wind, the artist Marta Castelo[2] points out the drawings of dune plants on sand or remnants of sandstone sculptures whose telluric matter wanders over the paper. The rotating rehearsal expands through Teresa Projecto[3], where presença-ausência of the earth clods is reflected in the exercise of drawing. Two circles dialogue with each other: the first circumscribes the emptiness; in the second, the earth moves towards negative space. One gives way to the other, in a segundo primeiro tempo and a primeiro segundo tempo that intersect with each other.

The processes of construction and deconstruction of forms and volumes replace narrative causality by poetic articulations. A dreamlike body by Nádia Duvall[4] makes me think of Louie Fuller’s Serpentine Dance[5]. The sculpture names the instant, the movement of a corpo-compasso, its metamorphosis into the elements of nature. And between the intersecting forms, corporeality goes beyond the external space that contains matter. Matter breathes, it takes on various forms. The inter-material exercise is expressed as a continuum between the body and the world. The human diffuses from the anthropos towards the substratum of contingent life that precedes it: Sara Belo’s[6] multiple vegetal irradiâncias, or even Catarina Domingues’[7] cartas da incerteza.

The moment of waiting, the Cartesian compass, expresses itself in its antipode, as a non-Euclidean geometry, expanding beyond its centre of gravity[8]. It is in the sense of alterity that the one who is touched reaffirms the work: «[…] if you sense beauty in me/it is because I work it in the days./Every action must contain editing/And if this is seen by the other/as a vehicle of beauty,/then I will attain joy». (Ana Mata and Catarina Domingues – Chama | Ficção)[9] .


[1] a escrita do tempo – lento (raw stoneware, sisal and water) and a escrita do tempo – lentíssimo (hardened stoneware, sisal and water) by Anabela Mota (2021).

[2] a invenção do compasso I and II (inkjet print on paper) and a invenção do compasso III (installation, black top with six ceramic pieces) by Marta Castelo (2021).

[3] segundo primeiro tempo and primeiro segundo tempo (graphite on paper) by Teresa Projecto (2021).

[4] KAIROS (windows and acrylic) by Nádia Duvall (2021).

[5] Serpentine Dance by Louie Fuller (1902). Available here.

[6] Irradiância I, II, IV, V, VI, VII (graphite on paper) by Sara Belo (2021).

[7] Cartas da Incerteza (china ink and pen on paper) by Catarina Domingues (2021).

[8] Allusion to the poet Francis Ponge. Ponge, Francis. (1967/1996). Alguns Poemas. Translation by Manuel Gusmão. Lisboa: Edições Cotovia.

[9] Vertical (video, colour, sound) by Ana Mata and Catarina Domingues – Chama | Ficção (April and May 2021).


The exhibition by Humor Líquido can be visited until July 13 at Espaço Camões in Livraria Sá da Costa, in collaboration with Ocupart.

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