José Pedro Cortes’ everyday realism and Mané Pacheco’s fantastic imagination

Opened on the same night, the exhibitions Patrícia by José Pedro Cortes and Bestas de Mané Pacheco are respectively at Galeria Francisco Fino and Belo Campo, an autonomous venue in the basement where the old Francisco Fino wine cellar used to be.

We meet Patrícia in the first room. The four video projections in José Pedro Cortes’ installation show clips of Patrícia Mamona’s training routine, the triple jump athlete who broke records and won the Silver Medal for Portugal at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The artist followed and recorded Patrícia’s workouts in preparation for the event. We notice the athlete’s precision and focus, which ignores the presence of the camera near her. Her body works consciously on what is known and familiar to her. Close-up shots of the repetition and strength movements, through jumps and equipment, take turns in the screening, while in the speakers we hear the gym in the background.

Between breaks and moments of rest, Patrícia works with one objective, to extend the limits of her body in rhythms that change over time. The screening varies in subtle framing differences and in the colours of the objects that follow her in this routine, puzzling us in relation to the passing of the days. The exhibition’s lighting comes only from the projected images and, on one of the gallery’s walls, a set of photographs portrays crucial instants of the moment of competition.

From José Pedro Cortes’ everyday realism, we move on to Mané Pacheco’s dichotomous fiction. As we descend the stairs at the end of Galeria Francisco Fino, we find Belo Campo. Hidden, the venue quickly stimulates the mystery of the unknown that surrounds Bestas, Mané Pacheco’s exhibition, with seven works from 2022.

In the first moment, Besta is an invitation to enter the artist’s fantastic imagination. The installation made with ropes, chains, rubber strips and metal hardware reminds us of the BDSM world and domination relations. The smell of rubber makes the ritualistic atmosphere more intense. Besta is the only piece that is not by itself, the joints of bodies suspended in balance fill the first of Belo Campo’s three rooms.

The exhibition recalls the Amazonian mythology of the Seringueira (Hevea brasiliensis), also known as the rubber tree, which produces the latex from which the material often used by the artist in her creations. The exhibition text has fragments of the folklores of the Amazonian communities, told by the rubber tappers of Acre, with legends of the rubber tree; superstitions and creatures that haunt those who do not respect the ecosystem and the forest entities.

Mané Pacheco presents a post-extractivist reflection, confronting different relationships. Organic and synthetic materials – such as wasp nests and fibre optic cables – establish dualities, opposing and complementary mechanisms in the encounter between natural and artificial. The hybrid creatures and unknown beings haunt and seduce the spectator, directing the body’s movement and gaze along the route. We are drawn to the lighting in the last room, which stands in twilight, were it not for the light of Bich’ de 3 cabeças and the atmosphere of Feral II, reflecting and amplifying the ghostliness.

After an everyday portrait and an immersion in the usual and known, we enter the opposite universe: the extraordinary and mysterious. Conscious and unconscious, reality and fantasy, presence, and escape. Certain things are connected through relationships of opposition.

Patrícia is at Galeria Francisco Fino until October 15, 2022, and Bestas at Belo Campo until October 28, 2022.

Ana Grebler (Belo Horizonte - Brazil) is an artist, curator and writer. Graduated in Fine Arts at the State University of Minas Gerais (UEMG) and postgraduate in Art Curatorship at Nova University of Lisbon (FCSH). Participated in group shows in Brazil and organized the exhibitions Canil (2024), Deslize (2023) and O horizonte é o meio (2022), in Lisbon. Contributes with Umbigo Magazine with essays, reviews and interviews, and works on the platform's international partnerships. At the intersection of practices, reflects on contemporary visual culture, creating dialogues and imaginaries between spaces and artistic processes. Currently lives and works in Lisbon.

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