Caffeine and phenomenology

At the coffee break, the social moment it stands for, rather than the drink itself, we use signs to communicate with the other, something ever so typical of this familiar ritual. If we make this reflection colder, perhaps we could state that I am not so much interested in who you are, I am more interested in the coffee you drink with me, or, in other words, I am interested in what you bring with you to this moment with me and the way we gravitate together in the atmosphere of two coffees. I am interested in what comes out of you and flows into me, during the coffee you drink together with me.

The referential of the works in the venue (some two-dimensional and others three-dimensional), united within painting’s ontological field, where Luís Paulo Costa continues his work on the real – as if painting were a post-reliability in relation to what is all around – reminds us of something that appears to all senses, not only to the eye. We can call this the reporting of absence witnessed by these images. Between epilogues like Um quarto para dois or Troco de dois cafés, the preamble or the present appear to depend on the spectator, looking at them permanently. If in Duas cadeiras vazias there seems to be an idea of an absent present, works like Não te esqueças do azul are an effort to capture the immediate present, the instant, the first contact with a certain moment, almost always inapprehensible and unspeakable. Perhaps this is how attempts to capture this can be depleted, and works emerge that simply strive to do so. For example, Troco de dois cafés is the result not only of a pecuniary payment, but also allows us to show in the end what has been brought. The fact that this change is different between each (besides Troco de dois cafés, there are also Dois cafés I and Dois cafés III which, apart from other elements, include coins covered by acrylic, as in the first) points to a diversified involvement and contributes to an even lesser determination of the present moment sought and its consequences, between archaeology and vestige.

The basis is the mundane and even taciturn notion of change, to identify the ironic objectification (monetization, even) of the return of experience. Perhaps it is interesting to think that, with this change, we can pay for more coffees, multiplying the experiences whose foundation we see in this exhibition.

In the end, we experience a narrative that is incomplete because it is the product of an attempt and that will find a possible continuity or completeness in the spectator. At the end, we ask where are the bodies that have lived these works, that have drunk these coffees, that have experienced the moments before, during and after in this exhibition. There is a latent idea that the arrival of the spectator is tardy. Perhaps the secret lies in knowing how to look at what is no longer there.

As Luís Paulo Costa says: “Two coffees are two people and everything around them. And two coffees can be surrounded by all.” – this is the essence of the Dois Cafés exhibition, with works by him and curated by Sara Antónia Matos, at MIAA – Museu Ibérico de Arqueologia e Arte de Abrantes, until February 12.



Daniel Madeira (Coimbra, 1992) has a degree in Artistic Studies from the Faculty of Arts of the University of Coimbra and a Master's in Curatorial Studies from the Colégio das Artes at the same university. Between 2018 and 2021, he coordinated the Exhibition Space and the Educational Project of the Águeda Arts Center. Currently, he collaborates with the Círculo de Artes Plásticas de Coimbra (CAPC).

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