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Vultures and a “grown man crashing his toy car”

Casa da Cerca’s circular cistern serves as a shelter for Raposa, an installation by André Romão. The artist recovers a recurring object in his work: the reflection on the encounter between bodies and the synthesis of our existence. This materialisation is the expression of the atomic universality of all beings that walk the earth. Perhaps it is even a new proposal of the Origin of Species, which juxtaposes anatomy, formation, and evolution of the different natural systems. In this case, metamorphosis is ironically stored in an ancient water reservoir, which has a cylindrical structure reminiscent of a butterfly’s cocoon.

Right at the entrance to the “fox’s lair” lies a clue for those stepping inside: a fallen bird, perhaps the trace of a hunting trip. In the wound, a translucent and shiny mineral grows from the inside out. During the anxious expectation, ghostly figures appear, occupying the space between two acrylic circles of coloured light. And, in the end, the encounter with the dreaded canid. Upon encountering the materialisation of the supposed fox, there is only its leg. In its place is a suspended human leg, covered in black shells, with a wooden foot at the end. In this esoteric mixture, coming from a fable, a mystery seems to float: why is the fox hiding?

On the opposite side of the courtyard, Ghia Coupe by Thomas Langley. On the canvases, the same moment is repeated between the fluidity of the line and the abstract places, and the “personal memory of childhood at the racetrack” is recovered, which, as it is crafted, “becomes more and more a distortion or a hazy recollection”. The setting is the following: on a tarmac track, where scrap cars speed by, one is Langley’s father’s Ford Ghia Coupe. A banger racing!

The movement of the charcoal tip on the raw canvas symbolises an experience that is also purely material, laying the groundwork for a “disjointed harmony”. According to the artist, “he attitude of making in these drawings has for me been something akin to this pursuit of near disaster”. His artistic materialisation is like that of a banger racing driver on the track. During the race, “to freeze frame the beauty inherent in the point of collision”, we encounter other unexpected elements, such as flowers and foliage, emerging in spontaneous DIY moments, in contact with drawing materials, both in their raw state.

For Langley, the production of these drawings is a physical, nostalgic experience. It is also a learning experience, taking “the energy inherent in the banger racing scene”. In that sense, simulating the track at the time of production “it’s not unlike making a drawing in this respect, there’s a lot of freedom in this approach to making”.

Raposa and Ghia Coupe can be visited at Casa da Cerca until October 24. Admission is free.

With a background in Arts and Humanities (Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon, 2018) is a public programer and an independent curator in contemporary art. Currently, she is taking a Master in Fine Arts in Curating from Goldsmiths University of London while dedicating her research to non-conventional exhibition spaces and alternative curating methodologies. (portrait by Hugo Cubo, 2020)

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