O ruído dos sonhos – Círculo Sede e Sereia

Organised by Círculo de Artes Plásticas de Coimbra, the exhibition O ruído dos sonhos, on display at Círculo Sede and Círculo Sereia, shows the different artistic voices of Miguel Ângelo Rocha (1964), Isabel Madureira Andrade (1991) and Russell Floersch (1960).

Miguel Ângelo Rocha’s art has been developed by combining drawing and sculpture, creating works that allow the visitor to have another perception of the place where they are shown. Playing a reinventive game, this exhibition combines found elements, everyday materials, objects, or parts of commonplace items – tins, plastic containers, egg cartons. The artist exposes them on the wall. Experimenter of experience, of doing by doing, exploring the commingling of materials and techniques, stimulating the always imprecise experience, of finding when looking (…)[1], Miguel Ângelo Rocha joins the investigation of pictorial and sculptural properties – points, lines, planes, volume, and colour – with the sign of the objects he finds and composes, paints, and modifies. He combines formal investigation with the legacy of the ready-made. In clashing with matter, gesture and thought become one thing whereupon we can understand his work’s ambition[2]. We are seduced by the images and volumes that spring from the walls. The forms, colours, matter, intensity, lightness, and tension arouse our attention, causing some estrangement. They ask us for an interaction, they ask us to stop and contemplate them, in an attempt to uncover meaning. Avoiding labels, Miguel Ângelo Rocha’s work asks for the visitor’s participation and insight. Simultaneously it is an immersive experience, revealed right in the first exhibition environment, at Sala Preta of Círculo Sede. In the darkness we are attracted by the three prints on cotton fabric entitled Atelier #8; #9; #10 (2020); through the contrasts and shadow and light games that build new drawings and volumes in the photographs. We are seduced by the textures, folding and physicality in each picture, showing both objects and surface. Made by the artist, the black and white prints from the Atelier series, (2020) joining us throughout the exhibition at Círculo Sede, reject abstraction. They pave the way to a realm of possibilities, where action and the building process exist. We are drawn to the crustacean shells in Atelier #9 and #10, as a possible reference to the inside/outside relationship. They are materialised in Atelier #11, through a dialogue with planes and triangulations, going beyond the edges of photography as geometrical exercises. The spheres, a significant element in the artist’s vocabulary, are materialised as sculptural volumes in Atelier #12; #13; #14 and #15, complementary elements that relate to and are introduced into photographic images of landscapes, pieces by the artist and his studio. Border transgression between artistic disciplines, the handcraft and dexterity of M.A.R.’s know-how and quest, and the ambiguous side of the work acquire a new intensity in the sculptures of the series Pedra, 2020. Using everyday materials and objects – containers and plastic, fabrics, and string -, M.A.R. creates and reveals her stones, wall pieces that stand with us at Círculo Sede e Sereia (Room B). Although he uses soft materials to revisit stones – textiles, polyester blankets, cotton fabrics and t-shirts – the artist adds hardness, weight, and tension. We sense this when we watch the forms. We point out the constraint and tension of a body that wants to free itself, evoked in Pedra #15; the movement, the dynamism, but also the discomfort caused by the iron wire around Pedra #9; or the tension caused by the beech wood structures that stretch strings, Pedra #13 and #14, where the void is a volumetric element. At Círculo Sereia, we also highlight the two series of small sculpture-objects by the artist Cristal (VII, VI, IV, V, IX and VIII) and Lunar (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15). Displayed on the walls of rooms C and A, they address questions about materials and colours, the balance and subversion of the nature of raw materials, manufactured objects that become scenography features, geometries and volumes built from cardboard and carton boxes. To conclude the exhibition at Círculo Sereia, the artist’s last work on display Eco #2 (2018) guides our eyes to contemplate the jangle of circles and discs on white plywood: we see the materialisation of fluid lines of drawing through wood, the organicity of free, brisk, and fluid gestures, the buoyancy of the forms and twists of matter. It is as if something moved in space, adopting different configurations, on the threshold between solidity and emptiness.

Inspired by doing, the confrontation between the possibility of control and the materials’ plastic unpredictability unites M.A.R.’s work with Isabel Madureira Andrade’s. Following what she has been developing in recent years in painting and drawing, the artist’s oeuvre is born from images that she captures in her everyday life or that she creates. With them, she makes decals, superimpositions, exploring symmetry games, building autonomous images that stray from the initial referent. Geometry, unpredictability, and colour are highlighted. Using the transposition of objects – ready-made – through frottage, she creates visual patterns and rhythms through which she explores dialogues between lines, stains, and colours. In O ruído dos sonhos, we step into her art, into her process of experimentation, of research and exploration of textures, scales, mutability, and plasticity of materials – acrylic, oil, plaster, paper, fabric. At Círculo Sede, the artist’s most recent works, made in 2022, are presented: in an intimate process of observation of two small paintings, marked by a vertical rhythm, we see the artist’s investigation in the field of colour – sometimes combining oil and acrylic – and the superimposition of layers of paint on the canvases. In the pieces of the series Mármore, the artist’s work reaches another level. In Mármore #5 and #2, we are seduced by the subtlety of the patterns, by the luminosity and finesse of the pigment colours on paper. But, in Mármore #3, #4 and #8, the pattern dilution and the chromatic variability exploration reach their zenith through forms whose organicity adds rhythm and vibration to the compositions. These enquiries continue in works of different scales, exploring multiple spatial relationships with the visitor, on display at Círculo Sereia. In the first two rooms, we see abstract and geometric pictorial images, sometimes developing symmetrical games. These are repeated in the paintings, creating patterns, branching continuously, feeding visual sensations with depth and relief. After the repetition of patterns and matrices, partial symmetries, elliptical grids and intersecting lines, originating fluid registers in a varied chromatic palette, we move on to the monochrome scheme of different format works and matrices in the final room of the exhibition. As positives and negatives, they show the grid’s geometric rationality, in smooth and continuous compositions, within a sprawling visual rhythm.

The freedom of construction and deconstruction, as well as the use of pre-existing images as fragments of the studio’s memory, unite the artist’s working process to that of Russel Floersch. This is an endless pursuit for something lost or effaced. In the field of memory and archive, like objects discovered on an archaeological expedition, we see on Círculo Sereia’s top floor the installation LODGER. Sculptural models built and painted by the artist are laid out on a table. They stimulate contemplation and story making. With a range of reused materials, including consumer packaging, containers, plastic cups, wood, foam and other disposable items, Floersch builds discrete objects that he revisits in time, changing shapes and positions, amassing paint out of a desire to cover or protect. Within a thematic narrative, the installation produces a discovery and rediscovery process for the artist, who invites us to see everyday materials in new expressions, whose forms derive from descriptions of events that have occurred or been imagined. In an experimented practice of building and painting sculptural models about a place and an extension of its time, Floersch operates the tension between memory and oblivion, in an installation where the territory of the table inhabited by objects that originate a semi-random composition reminds us of Daniel Spoerri’s An Anecdoted Topography of Chance.

The exhibition O ruído dos sonhos, is on show at Círculo Sede, Círculo Sereia, until December 3.







[1] ESCARDUÇA, Ricardo – O Ruído dos sonhos. Exhibition text, 2022.

[2] CRESPO, Nuno – Vazio escultórico, In “Antes e depois”. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 2014, p.11.

Mafalda Teixeira, Master’s Degree in History of Art, Heritage and Visual Culture from the Faculty of Letters of the University of Porto. She has an internship and worked in the Temporary Exhibitions department of the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona. During the master’s degree, she did a curricular internship in production at the Municipal Gallery of Oporto. Currently, she is devoted to research in the History of Modern and Contemporary Art, and publishes scientific articles.

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