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* M I K A D O *
through May 20
beta pictoris gallery is pleased to announce Manuel Caeiro * M I K A D O * , the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery.
Manuel Caeiro explores the limits of architectural forms in his complex abstract paintings. In the works in * M I K A D O * , the shapes and lines of his previous works are extended into increasingly dazzling, and playful, compositions.
Architectural imagery and signage have long been staples of Caeiro’s visual vocabulary. Planes and other geometric shapes are his subjects, along with thin rectangular forms like caution signs. In the works in * M I K A D O *, this imagery is inserted into voids, removing the connection to man-made spaces. Instead, these new works function like allegories of painting. Some compositions, with planes like stretched canvases, resemble perilously-arranged artist’s storage; in other works, these painting-like shapes appear to topple like a house of cards. Balance, whether making a house of cards or painting, is one move away from falling apart.
Caeiro has recently made a transformative shift from complex paintings of architectural spaces to increasingly abstract compositions that insert imagery from his previous work into the void. Planes and other geometric shapes are the subjects of these highly-refined pictures which imply man-made spaces, but without specific reference. In his newest body of work, this imagery hangs in the air, suggesting an imaginary space, or a void. These compositions appear to focus on painter's spaces rather than architectural spaces, alternately resembling crowded rows of canvases, artist's loft storage with the room subtracted, or paintings falling like a tumbling house of cards. These works are allegories for the life of a painter, who must contend symbolically and physically with his or her own creations.
The artist's use of color planes resembles the vivid, monochrome geometric works of Minimalist sculptors like Donald Judd. Caeiro's interpretations, however, manipulate the plane, folding it upon itself and appropriating it.
This bold move claims the Specific Object as fodder for painting. Caeiro's works make a powerful argument for the primacy of painting; other fields like architecture and sculpture are easily subsumed into imagery for the painter.
Manuel Caeiro has shown extensively in his native Portugal, as well as Spain and Brazil, and has recently begun to gain recognition beyond the Portuguese and Spanish-speaking world. The work of this exciting mid-career painter has revelatory implications for the continued struggle between painting and sculpture, and beta pictoris gallery is thrilled to introduce his work to a greater audience.
Manuel Caeiro (b. 1975 in Évora, Portugal; lives and works in Lisbon) studied at the Gabriel Pereira College of Arts, Évora and the University of Fine Arts in Lisbon. His work has been exhibited at the Modern Art Museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; the Barrié de la Maza Foundation in La Coruña, Spain; and the Contemporary Art Museum, La Coruña, Spain; among others, and is included in the collections of the Culturgest and the PLMJ Foundation, both in Lisbon, Portugal; the Banco Sabadell in Barcelona, Spain; as well as in private collections in the US, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Turkey, and Belgium.
* M I K A D O * , is the artist’s first US exhibition, and recent solo exhibitions include Briefing Room at Ponce+Robles Gallery in Madrid, Spain; the exhibition Totem, at Galeria Lurixs in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and YellowMetric at Galeria Mário Sequeira in Braga, Portugal. A biography on the artist is forthcoming in the summer of 2016.
Barbara (*1940) and Michael Leisgen (*1944)
In the 1970s, the early works of Barbara & Michael Leisgen came as a counterpoint to conceptual photography, notably led by the typological school of Bernd & Hilla Becher in Düsseldorf. The different works illustrated hereunder are part of the Mimesis series, located in practices in operation since the early 1960s : the recording of a natural trace, research concerning the body and experiments related to Land Art. Barbara Leisgen’s silhouette is set, and leaves its fleeting trace in landscapes; the actions involve stretching out her arms to follow the contours of undulating countryside (the Paysage mimétique and Mimesis series), or to include the sun in an arc drawn by her arm while she is seen from behind in the center of the image. This is not merely imitating nature through its gestures; it describes, in the sense of tracing, and channels it as well. The (re)appropriation of the landscape is subjective, the silhouette of Barbara Leisgen being displayed in the landscape, inscribing its mark therein is ephemeral.
The pictures recall the visions of German Romanticism, notably the pictures of Caspar David Friedrich - his painting Morgenlicht being the figurative model for the Leisgen's Mime-sis works, although Friedrich's paradigm for considering nature as sacred is amended. One might see this as an anthropocentric romantic perspective such as the French Romantic view gave us. And yet, despite the sublime aspect of the photographed scenes and the preciousness of the prints which, beyond black and white, allow us to imagine a range of colors in the dazzling light, their images also refer back to the naivety and intrinsic nostalgia of souvenir photographs. The actual viewer is placed in a specular perception, being led to look at a woman posing in a natural expanse. By doing so, Barbara & Michael Leisgen are the precursors of current landscape approaches, relying simultaneously on a modernist and postmodernist viewpoint.
Barbara and Michael Leisgen's work is discussed and mentioned in numerous publications, including "Feminism Art Theory: An Anthology 1968 - 2014" (2015) by Hilary Robinson, "Video Art Historicized: Traditions and Negotiations (Studies in Art Historiography)" by Malin Hedlin Hayden (2015), "Une introduction a l'art contemporain" by Philippe Coubetergues (2005), "Le Corps photographié" by Jean-Paul Blanchet, Dimitri Konstantinidis, ... (1996), "Le sentiment de paysage à la fin du XXème siècle" by Bernard Ceysson (1977), "Chroniques de l'Art Vivant" (1974), etc.
Their work has been the subject of several publications - mostly in conjunction with exhibitions, such as "Les Ecritures du Soleil (Sonnenschriften)" (1978), "Die Ägyptische Wand" (1980), "Stellungsspiel" (1987), "De la beauté usée : Barbara et Michael Leisgen, [exposition, Paris, Maison européenne de la photographie, 10 septembre-9 novembre 1997]" (1997), "Kunst-Landschaft 1969-2000" (2000), "Zeitsprung" (2000), and "Positions" (2006), amidst others.
Mimesis - Kornfelder [Mimetic - Cornfields]
1971, silver gelatin print on baryta paper, 4 elements
each 35 7/16 by 55 1/8 in. (90 by 140 cm)
terreno áspero | rugged terrain
contemporary painting from Spain
October 21 - December 30, 2016
Friday, Oct. 21 (6-8pm)