THIS IS NOT A WHITE CUBE gallery presents on September 24 in Lisbon, "À Flor da Pele" - a solo exhibition by the Portuguese artist Manuela Pimentel, which pays tribute to the recently deceased journalist, writer, and editor João Paulo Cotrim, author of the text that gives the exhibition its name.
The show includes about 25 unpublished works translated into compositions of installed sculptural-like paintings, through which Manuela Pimentel reconfigures the place of the Portuguese tile as a sacralized object of local collective memory. In doing this, she intends to scrutinize our relationship with the sense of perenniality and ephemerality of a legacy and to explore the poetic sense of the idea of impermanence that underlies the artistic core.
The heterogeneity of mediums involved, associated with the erudite historical culture of the tile - profusely decorative, from the Portuguese "golden age" - or to the vernacular culture - stemming from the observation of public and private spaces of the quotidian - reveals the complexity and amplitude of Manuela Pimentel's field of action and artistic language. This factor, which we can translate as the exploration of ambiguity, is nourished by the application of dualism in a sublime game of contrasts.
This ambiguity incorporates not only an appropriation and reinvention of the visualities and canons of the Baroque, but also a declared expression of an aesthetic assimilated by Manuela Pimentel from "Street art." The latter is revealed in the concreteness of the resins and rough mortar, with which she simulates mural structures, and in her use of graphics of street posters, eroded by time and, astutely, subtracted from the street.
From the poetic dramaticism and rationalism that presides over Manuela Pimentel's work, a singular vision of union between the sacred and the profane is born. In "À Flor da Pele", this is presented, in a staged tone, in the desecrated space of the gallery, where the installed works declare themselves as a genuine part of their environment.
Some pieces go beyond the limits of the exhibition to the archive, placing us in dialogue with additional works. This provides an expanded view of the creation of an artist who explores the local context of popular and erudite cultural phenomena to inscribe them in the space of global artistic creation.
The exhibition "À Flor da Pele" is on display until November 12, from Tuesday to Saturday, from 2:30 to 7 pm. Admission is free.