Besta – at Galeria 111

The first contact with the work exhibited at Galeria 111, Besta, takes place through the pieces created by Rui Chafes. In an exhibition that also includes the participation of artists like Pedro A. H. Paixão, Alexandre Conefrey and Rui Moreira.

A dozen black gallows in the center of the gallery, an installation called Lição de História, is suspended from the ceiling, with the laces open immediately below the faces of most of us. Discomfort sets in. Due to the connotation of these objects, what they represent, and their proximity to our body.

Like open mouths, they offer their hospitality and prepare us for an encounter with the abyss. We know that they are corners that suggest horror to us, and ensnare us in the perspective of a massacre, or a simulacrum of terror, in a field prepared for what could be a mass execution.

Then, with the works of the other artists, we have war scenarios surrounding this raw, straight, executable, irrefutable installation. Will we be the next? What does the curator intend to convey? Around this disciplined disposition we intuit chaos, war, and intolerance. We cannot, given the conjuncture, dissociate ourselves from what is really happening in the world. It’s impossible. Links are inevitable.

In a single exhibition, I capture, whether the artists intended or not, a coming to light of questions that are far from being resolved.

I foreshadow reflections on human relations, issues of alterity, racial issues, conflicts between nations, aspects related to minorities, natural catastrophes. It is as if the different works establish a relationship with each other, but through the social and historical themes they evoke.

The agglutinating center, the gravitational point of the exhibition seems to be located in the work of Rui Chafes once more. In it, I intuit an event that could have been foreshadowed in the past, or an event that is yet to come, a premonition, a harbinger of danger. The suspended pieces seem to have been waiting for us for a long time. They conjure up a feeling of the past, as well as of “omens”. Chafes’ works are made of waiting, as Filomena Molder would tell us.

Rui Moreira’s drawings dialogue with this central piece and the works of Pedro A. H. Paixão, as well as the drawings of Alexandre Conefrey.

It is as if they gravitate towards an inexorable end. Like a sick vortex that drives us to a dark precipice, with no possible escape.

Moreira’s drawings are impregnated with splinters of life. The artist works both inside and outside his gallery. For him, it is more important to get closer to everyday life than to be isolated in the gallery and escape from that reality, like an artist who takes refuge in a world apart, and which cancels out life.

Pedro A. H. Paixão exalts the portrait, and invests in this form of drawing, precisely to annul a tendency that insists on persisting, it’s almost non-existence as a practice of drawing.

Pedro A. H. Paixão also makes use of realism to emphasize the fragility of issues related to colonialism, social disparities, and racial issues, which unfortunately still persist.

The drawings are meticulously treated, almost twilight. As if, although controlled, the drawing transported us to a state of polarization, of dispersion. A dust that, diffused, would report us to a stunned look, or to a dream that would lead us to a state of numbness (or delight), that would not let us see with clarity or discernment, the harsh and raw reality, in disequilibrium, and that takes time to harmonize. On the other hand, it can also represent a past that tends to soften painful events, or to sublimate them, resorting to new stories in order to make it possible to bear painful memories.In any case, the portrait drawings by Pedro A. H. Paixão make evident the coherent dialogue established with the other works present in the exhibition. They expose the inequalities and violence of the various worlds that inhabit this planet, reinforced by the vigor, the drama, present in the colorful lines of Alexandre Conefrey’s drawings.

Besta is at Galeria 111 until 21 of May.

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