The Tale – Tiago Baptista at Rialto6
The Tale, Tiago Baptista’s solo exhibition, is at Rialto6 and presents thirteen works produced this year for the show. Curated by Susana Ventura, the title comes from a song by composer and multidisciplinary artist Meredith Monk. Combining different languages, Tiago extends his tale beyond painting for the first time.
The gaze, which gradually adapts to the dark environment, is guided by light points. As we are drawn into the interior of the earth, the stalactites that hang from the ceiling of the cave in O pelo da terra point to the surface of the human body. Time is in the melting spiralised matter and the connection between nature and human being is visible not only in Orra White’s retelling of Section of Kirkdale Cavern, but also in the works in the exhibition.
An invitation to penetrate the spiral in space, O pirilampo patudo has its own light. According to Susana Ventura, “This is a painting that should be observed in the light of the full moon, under a starry sky”. As in nature, we see bioluminescence if there is attention to the fabric of the night. The presence of the curatorial author reflects how the perception of space influences the perception of the work of art, with devices that stimulate a new vision of Tiago Baptista’s work. Also presented are specific elements of his trajectory, such as mural paintings and the installation of the canvas perpendicular to the wall.
The information sheet is more than just a complementary material in The Tale. Designed by OH!MANA, the object defines meanings of experience beyond the exhibition venue. Combining different textual interventions, Susana Ventura’s performative writing proposes to the reader a spiral movement that follows the eleven text notes. The cut-out in the centre of the information sheet suggests an absence – or presence -, filled in by the experience of the exhibition, underlining yet another element in Tiago’s painting: the fragment.
The shifted parts establish a dialogue not only between the artist’s works, but also interrelated processes and connections between all things. Together with the spiral – which in the Library of Babel holds all the knowledge of the world and symbolises the universe of the eternal traveller – it carries the infinity of a non-linear time in its fractions. The emblem points to a restructuring of the relationship between human and nature, suggesting a complementary coexistence in a place where there is no exterior. An instant from the video A dança farta shows the contour of the back in O voo cortado, now in rotational movement in a dilated time and in search of balance.
Compressão aqui is like vertigo, blurring scales and distances within the spectator’s motion, approaching the painting with each step. We find in the rock formations an archaeology of becoming and human intervention leaving its imprint on the earth’s body. In The Tale, the colours define the surfaces over petrified transformations. The layout of the works on Floor -1 creates a dreamlike and theatrical setting, where the prominence of shadows expands the four sculptures, drawing their reflection on the gallery floor and walls.
In the essence of mystery, in the eye of a storm, inside a tree, in our fingerprint, in the shells of snails – suspended in O canto dos caracóis and gliding over the colours that take turns on the screen in A trama – the spiral is present even if hidden. In a gelatinous translucence, the snails obey their own particular tempo, proposing the spectator a deceleration, a long observation of complementary pieces. What is the contemplation time of a painting? Among the cracks carved on the earth’s surface, the exhibition is an invitation to follow a Caminho Auspicioso, where the shadow is left behind and the direction is lightened, lingering a taste of sunshine in the night’s mouth.
 Snippet of the song “Nada será como antes” (1972). Written by Beto Guedes and Milton Nascimento.