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At Pinta London 2012, "Art Projects" reflects the fragile structures of the present

Pinta London 2012 is extending to contemporary art from the Iberian Peninsula its effort to achieve "a different understanding of art", which contributed in its previous editions to renew the perception of Latin American art at the international level, partly through the solo shows featured in its "Art Projects" section.

Among the galleries invited in this third edition by curator Pablo León de la Barra to exhibit an individual artist's project, there are two outstanding ones from Lisbon: Filomena Soares and Graça Brandao. The former is presenting Vasco Araújo (Portugal, 1975), who − like the poet Fernando Pessoa, a master in the creation of duplicates of himself − explores the multiplicity and the complexity of identity, as well as the fragile line between lies and truth, and between fiction and reality. Using different supports and uncertain correspondences between the visual representation of ideas and literary texts or opera lyrics (he is an opera singer), he takes the viewer from one frontier to the other.

Graça Brandao will show the work of Nuno Sousa Vieira (Portugal, 1971), who recycles materials abandoned in the plastics factory in the outskirts of Lisbon that he uses as a studio, endowing them with a "second life" as art objects. At the same time, by using them in installations he forcefully elicits a "second gaze" on the notion of the obsolete in our society, and on the relationship between society and art. Some installations attract the gaze to the external context.
Several works envisage the urban space and architecture as mirrors reflecting the social tension − or ways of transforming it − in times of crisis. The Zurich gallery Christinger de Mayo exhibits Felipe Mujica's (Chile, 1974) "temporal architecture". He has created abstract panels that adapt to the exhibition space − to its fragile and changing construction − and may function as sets to mount works by other artists. His aim is to become a catalyst for moments of encounter and communication among people and between people and art systems.

Post Box Gallery, London, is featuring Francisco Ugarte (Mexico, 1973). Like many artists from his native city, Guadalajara, he has been influenced by the relationship between architecture and art and the perception of space. He resorts to subtle changes in elements such as light, volume, or scale dimensions to alter the spatial relations of a place and create an effect of strangeness. As pointed out by curator Carlos Ashida, the ambiguity of his spaces challenges the habitual perception of the world and the self-consciousness of our physical presence.

The interest to transgress the traditional notions of space can also be observed in the work of the artist presented by Y Gallery, New York: G.T. Pellizzi (Mexico, 1978). His work constructs a "transitional geometry" that reflects the constantly changing buildings in cities like London, Mexico or New York, where the real estate business imposes temporary structures that can be noticed in the everyday travels through the city, and reflect the invisible − and uncertain − financial movements that mark the lives of their inhabitants.

The London gallery Sprovieri exhibits works by artist Matheus Rocha Pitta (b.1980, Brazil), also a philosopher and historian, who has inquired into present-day displacement and discontinuity. He analyzes the urban and architectonic transformations that have taken place in Rio de Janeiro, utilizing the rubble to feature "an archaeology of the present". He documents and re-creates the types of objects that circulate − increasingly displaced − in flea markets, as well as urban processes such as sales and demolitions.

Johanna Unzueta (Chile, 1947), presented by Vogt Gallery, also from New York, simulates the kind of improvised industrial structures that may be found in certain urban areas, reproducing them manually with materials that have the appearance of metal. This painstaking labor may be associated to the task of factory workers, and as Carmen Carrión points out, by remaking in an artisanal way elements produced in an assembly line, she renders them one-of-a-kind, and undoes the gesture of the found object.

On the other hand, Henrique Faría Fine Art, from New York, presents Pedro Terán (Venezuela, 1943). A pioneer of conceptual art in his country, he intensified the self-reflexive gaze on the creative process and utilized photography as a medium to correlate conceptualism and performance. A seminal work, La Tela, consisted of a series of photographs of a cloth that gradually unfolded and covered his body like a second skin, thus unifying the artwork and the artist's body, art and life in a way that identified desire with the creative act.

Jesús 'Bubu' Negrón (Puerto Rico, 1975) presented by the Puerto Rican gallery Roberto Paradise, connects art and life through the intertwining of performance and conceptual renderings. He addresses social expectations in times of uncertainty through subjects such as the aspiration to equality, or promises, or even extended games of chance, using a humorous popular aesthetics. These games are also a metaphor for the art market movements and its unpredictable betting system.

Casa Triángulo, Sao Paulo, presents Manuela Ribadeneira (Ecuador, 1966), whose installations explore notions related to the national territory and to borders not only from a geographical and a political perspective but also with reference to "those metaphorical lines that can be found in territories". She has inquired into the detachment from the notions of belonging using the phrase attributed to the Duke of Wellington: "Being born in a stable does not make you a horse". She is also concerned with symbolic gestures of appropriation of a territory that is merely a blank extension. Using video and mixed media installations, she also makes ironic reference to territorial conflicts.

The artist presented by London's TJ Boulting, Laureana Toledo (Mexico, 1973) addresses the issue of borders in a different way: she investigates the way in which popular culture assimilates information and music, and how in Latin America colonialism still models expectations and fantasies, including cultural ones. Under this concept she created a temporary rock band with the participation of Mexican groups that traveled to England to play together and then were dissolved, although not before being filmed. PINTA 2012 will enable visitors to explore the lightness of the art of our time.

Francisco Ugarte, The Intervention of Casa Luis Barragán
2011, Digital print, 69 x 48 in
Courtesy Post Box Gallery, London

Nuno Sousa Vieira, Sign, Visor, Sight
2011 MDF and back-lit metal and acrylic letters
Base: 13 x 111 x 56 in, Letters: 20 elements of variable

Vasco Araújo, Capita
2011, Colour digital prints, 71 x 39 in, Unique piece
Courtesy Galeria Filomena Soares, Lisbon

Matheus Rocha Pitta, Provisional Heritage
2010, Full HD video, 7 min 47 sec
Courtesy Sprovieri, London

Laureana Toledo, YES words
Newspaper billboard, acrylic paint, 17 x 23.4 in
Courtesy TJ Boulting, London

Johanna Unzueta - 21 Faucets
2010, 59 x 118 inches felt and thread
Courtesy Vogt Gallery, London

Tsumagoi and Nikkorex
2011, Two-color silkscreen print on paper / 38 x 30 in
Courtesy Galeria Filomena Soares, Lisbon