Memórias de uma (H)era

Memórias de uma (H)era by Paulo Lourenço is an exhibition that shows the limits of serigraphy and the plastic and three-dimensional capacity it can acquire when taken to the extreme. Besides the vegetal and phytomorphic motifs, Lourenço adds the marks of a long process – as long as required by an era, as vascular and invasive as an ivy allows, which swallows and covers the form it covers.

From this perspective, and as Fernando Rosa Dias says in the exhibition text, “the image becomes the memory of the print”, showing a ritual captured in the choreographic effort on the wooden plates and the drawing’s meticulous work. What we see is no longer exactly the plant, but the nature of the expanded field of serigraphy and the memory of many repeated gestures, just as Lourenço has been working on in his artistic path. It is at the same time reproducibility for reproducibility’s sake, but also reproducibility for the sake of something unique and objective, beyond the traditional planarity of serigraphy. Lourenço thus deconstructs the reproducible and mechanizable nature of serigraphy, to then build with it an image of the poetic and overwhelming essence of the natural world, of its various artifices and agencies, of its complete existence, which is self-sufficient and unique.

Also impressive is the representation of this botanical genus: the ivy, with fine, sinuous lines, undulating and attentive branches, which the serigraphy is exceptionally able to reproduce. The argent glow of the graphite underlines the ribbed, capillary, and branched nature of the plant, reiterating at the same time the romanticism of the vegetation that coats and fills the dark and humid edges and apexes of someplace. Abandoned to the elements and its fate the ivy devours everything. The aerial roots attach themselves to the walls and inert bodies, swallowing up every molecule of humidity, and when torn from the walls they leave a mark, registering the design of their existence and passage.

The artist’s technique is a poetic survey of this complex species – as complex as the rhizomatic nature of ivy, reinterpreted in its philosophical meaning by Rosa Dias, who takes the concept of rhizome developed by Deleuze and Guattari: a perpetual and tentacular flow that, spreads in time and space, horizontally consolidating information, nexuses, and propositions.

And, although the representation is limited to the support used, the gaze can guess the larval development of the plant and the potential rhizomes. The reproducibility of ivy – a single branch can create a new plant – is analogous to the reproducibility of serigraphy printing and of art itself, which is always generative and generates images, poetics, or visions.

These reliefs are superpositions of numerous prints – thousands, quantifying – and form an abstract territory composed of sinuosities, depressions, and ridges, similar to the construction of a terrain composed of contour lines. This is the space that the artist inhabits for days and weeks, juxtaposing strata upon strata. We lose ourselves in the various layers of matter that build these object-images. We get lost without realizing it, as we pleasantly study each capillary, nerve, line of this immense body which, although segmented, seems monstrous, immense, memorial, and memorable.

Memórias de uma (H)era by Paulo Lourenço is at Galeria Diferença until 31 July.

José Rui Pardal Pina (n. 1988) has a master's degree in architecture from I.S.T. in 2012. In 2016 he joined the Postgraduate Course in Art Curation at FCSH-UNL and began to collaborate in the Umbigo magazine. Curator of Dialogues (2018-), an editorial project that draws a bridge between artists and museums or scientific and cultural institutions with no connection to contemporary art.

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