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Por Completar by Diogo Pimentão at the Main Gallery of Casa da Cerca – Centro de Arte Contemporânea

The exhibition rout Por Completar, by Diogo Pimentão, at Casa da Cerca – Centro de Arte Contemporânea, begins, in the first room, with the positioning, on the ground, of two spherical sculptures of different dimensions, almost tangential. Next to the spheres, on the wall, in a rigorous way, a composition of fragments draws a circumference, in a graphite tone. Several paper drawings, composed by spheres covering other spheres, express a vigorous and constant exercise of light modelling – a game of background form, a perspective and its negation – as well as testify the relationship of drawing with other domains, such as the opposition between the artificial and the organic, the irregular and the symmetrical, the abstract and the figurative.

When we arrive at the large room, on the upper floor of the exhibition gallery, at Casa da Cerca – Centro de Arte Contemporânea, we are faced with an absolutely neutral space to host Diogo Pimentão’s pieces.

The bare, white walls house, on the left side of those who enter the space, a row of pebbles, or small rocks, fixed on the vertical surface. They open the observer to an open path, full of surprises, unpredictability, codes and apprehensions. And they remember the simple elements, like the stone, or the small branch, suggested many times by Ruskin, in the beginning of the drawing practice.

We are impelled to bow our heads to discover a whole garden of diverse and suggestive forms, seeming to invoke walks and walks, transporting us to memories and experiences, recent or remote, in the heart of nature, and the smells and silences that they can evoke. It is a whole source of senses that are awaken when we enjoy Pimentão’s sculptures. The feeling of infinity, present in the initial spheres, is given here by the irregularity, unpredictability, and complexity of the elements, provided by the path they describe over the bare walls. Inducing a whole change in the visitor’s movement, visual and body, a journey that is fully discovered. A displacement that is even demarcated from the very perception of the horizon line. Or at least generated in its conflict. We take as below the horizon line the heaviest elements, and above the line, the lighter and tenuous elements.

The pieces that Pimentão reveals, and places throughout the gallery, do not seem to have been arranged with the intention, or understanding, of a closed system. On the contrary, the elements are intended to be open in fruition, and lead to different ways of interpretation. We appreciate the artist’s sculptures the way we are used to looking at paintings on the wall. We inquire about drawings, which are on the floor, as if we were traditionally observing a sculptural piece, contouring it with our own bodies. We expect them to emerge, to become dense and to reciprocate our effort, the effort to move, to enjoy and understand them. There is a whole game of mistakes, or rather, of ambiguities that the artist, cunningly, seems to like to awaken. It is our body that is at stake, and the behaviour it describes in the exhibition space, in addition to so many other things that the exhibition reminds us of. Dubious signs multiply. We found a white, square-shaped sheet on the floor. It has a two-dimensional appearance, but on the other hand, its immanent fragmentation leads us to a conflict with three-dimensionality. Due to the pieces that announce disintegration, becoming autonomous portions, we are left uncertain whether it is a drawing or an agglomeration of micro-sculptural forms. We know of the numerous definitions that are formulated about drawing, and that the most common is that its reality, or requirement, is not separate from the condition of two-dimensionality. But we also know about the condition of drawing that is implicit in the forms and paths of a work, and that originates from ideas, and sustains all other forms of art, such as sculpture, painting, or architecture. This is a drawing that uses three-dimensional forms, but the fundamental elements of the drawing are never abandoned. We have pebbles, with inscriptions in a language that we do not know, in a path on the wall that, if we look at them carefully, are like the evocation of the basic elements that define the drawing itself. The dot, for example.

Further on, still in the same space, two long and sinuous “poles”, as if they were lines, extend languidly from the floor to the gallery ceiling. With a slightly curvilinear trace, which extends to the top, they unite attention, or lead us to the relationship between the various planes that are apparently most forgotten in the exhibition domain, such as the ceiling or the floor.

Pimentão awakens us to the observation of his drawings, and his three-dimensional works, but also to the gallery space. Through his pieces, he reminds us of an awareness of the architectural space, and the importance of drawing for its understanding. Even if with that we have to change the position of our body, and turn ourselves upside down. We need it. From being agitated, to maturing aesthetically. Or at least, as Feyerabend said, “letting go of reason”, to free ourselves from the old belief in science, transporting reality to a more dreamlike state of thought, paraphrasing Dorfles, made possible many times by art.

By tilting my head, and imagining myself walking along the path drawn by the pebbles on the wall, I am creating a totally new horizon, and the two lines in shades of graphite moving over the gallery no longer seem to move from the floor to the ceiling, but rather to assume the property of an element that covers us, that becomes a shelter, a ceiling, or a body in motion that travels through the skies.

Pimentão’s sculptural pieces come from drawing, but they are also elements that generate the drawing itself in space.

The artist offers us new perspectives, as if he were inducing us to leave our own comfort zone. A new look at the exhibition space, at our addicted behaviour towards the work and the gallery. In the same way that a child receives a totally new toy, and is forced to turn it over until he discovers/invents its form and function. We are awakened by the discovery and feeling that our gaze, our way of seeing, must be shaken, put to a test. It must stay alive so as not to stagnate in half a dozen phrases and certainties about aesthetic and conceptual principles.

It is in the pebbles on the wall that the search for the spontaneous appears to be seen, at the same time that an internal scheme of the drawing seems to impose itself, showing, from the inside out, the drawing as the manifestation of an idea, a concept, or a thought.

The reference to drawing, and drawing as a record of memory, is imperatively presented in the drawings of white circles, on a graphite background. In them, the stain is used, as a defining element of form, as a modelling element of light, as a witness to the movement of the hand on the surface of the sheet, and, in a broader sense, as an operational element of the drawing, as a discipline, as a non-existent verbal condition. It is in the point, in the line and in the stain, in general, that the code of the drawing is defined. Any of the pebbles that are fixed on the wall, although three-dimensional, allude to the modelling of light, like a hand on paper. The artist moulds the form with his own hands. In these three-dimensional counterparts, they are covered by graphite. The artist seems to be interested in the real materials that are used in the discipline of drawing. Give them prominent places. Suggesting the dialogue they can establish with the artist, by offering their own authority, resistance or surrender, (their material reality), through their material property.

Por Completar by Diogo Pimentão is on view at the Main Gallery of Casa da Cerca – Centro de Arte Contemporânea until September 11th.

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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