Pedro Cabrita Reis. One after another, a few silent steps

Pedro Cabrita Reis. One after another, a few silent steps
Temporary exhibition
Author(s): 
Pedro Cabrita Reis
04/06/2011
- 02/10/2011
Floor: 
1
Pedro Cabrita Reis. One after another, a few silent steps
Temporary exhibition
Author(s): 
Pedro Cabrita Reis
04/06/2011
- 02/10/2011
Floor: 
1
Body: 

Emerging, in the 1980s, as one of the most prominent artists of his generation, Cabrita Reis assembled a world of archaising references (based on myth rather than history), and worlds of collective memory and individual revelation, intervening directly in contemporary Portuguese and international culture at a time when the most radical tendency within modern art was receptive to the possibility of returning to the traditional artistic disciplines of drawing, painting and sculpture.

Cabrita Reis’ work, which functions as a comprehensive system of understanding and intervening in the world, encompasses every contemporary artistic discipline, material and language. It inhabits every type of exhibition space (from internal to external, architectural to environmental), incorporates and bestows dignity on every type of construction material, whether noble or humble, traditional or unconventional and, through the intense use of artificial light and colour as well as the obscuring of images, creates concrete manifestations of every metaphor for light.

This exhibition, an anthology, traces a labyrinthine path and creates a dialogue between works distanced by time and methods of making. Continuities, tensions and ruptures, leaps forward and retracing of steps help us see his work as a vast arena of possibilities within which painting remains the font of visual thought and artistic practice.

Compositional discipline, manipulation of perspective, architectonic understanding of volumes and exploration of temporal continuity through thematic series represent ways of balancing the forms, spaces and times that frame the subjective and social provocation of his work, and sustain the dark abyss into which their meaning is plunged.

Anthropological, artistic, political and poetic in his approach, Cabrita Reis uses his own body as the basis for imposing human measurements on the constructed world – a world which he himself creates through his systematic gathering of 'found' and 'ready-made' objects. Nature, the subject of contemplation and intervention, becomes part of this discourse through the same methods of collection or photographic recording and drawing. Cabrita Reis unites urban and contemporary reality and contemporary art’s concern with the ephemeral with a desire for timelessness and permanence.

It is in his wielding of this set of values that Cabrita Reis reveals a classical root that suggests the existence of a cannon, of style, balance, power and construction above the chasm of deviation, speed and vertigo. This is also demonstrated in the direct relationship established by Cabrita Reis between the international round of exhibitions that he takes part in, his studio work, in Lisbon, and his life in the Algarve inland: he models his houses and the surrounding landscape as if they were sculptural volumes, he plants olive trees, vines and carob trees as if on a canvas, and he has created, in his local environment, the same level of intimacy and exigency that he employs in the context of art.

João Pinharanda

Secondary text: 

'Pedro Cabrita Reis’ work transforms collective memory into individual affirmation: it is an act of the will and of pleasure, a way of understanding and intervening in the world.'
João Pinharanda