18 Jan. 2014 // 16 Mar. 2014

“Self” Portrait or the Influence of a Gaze | Carlos Marques

Sala de Exposições Temporárias | Temporary Exhibitions Room

In the year of 2009, to meet up with a challenge made as for me to develop a piece on a neuron, I executed a work that became a part of the exhibition “Exuberâncias da Caixa Preta” (“Exuberances of the Black Box”), which celebrated the anniversary and the publication of the book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals by Charles Darwin.

From that moment on, I’ve been interested in exploring works whose main motivation is the study of facial expressions and that interest grew even bigger during 2010, when I performed a systematized series of wood relieves with expressions from humans and apes “Uma Janela para Darwin” (A Windows to Darwin”, which were grouped and composed in a triptych, later presented to the public in April of 2012.

Simultaneously, I was also developing a work focused on the memory of expressions, but, in this case, of plastic expressions that, some way or another, had become a reference for the sculpture that had always interested me.

In this parallel work, regardless of the outside influences to which we are always subjected, I preferred to reference the form or the intention found in the work of some sculptors, having chosen those that, for various reasons, felt closer.

Thus, the systematization and modular construction in André, the collage and biomorphic abstraction in Arp, the self-sufficient attitude, the insistence in the direct cut and the persistent and cleansed search of Brancusi, the conceptualism and the readymade of Duchamp, the imponderability of Calder, the cables, tethers and interventional attitude of Christo, the linear conquest of space in Giacometti, the orthogonality of Lewit, the election of the path and the installation in Long, the abstraction of the figure in Moore, the subversion of the scale in Oldemburg, the expression of the modeled and the part for the whole of Rodin, the assumption of fracture in Rückriem or the opening to the space and the landscape intervention in Shmitson, were all important elements for choosing the approach that I presented in the set of pieces that I executed, under the theme Reliquaries.
Apart from the home, window, path, limit, frontier, bridge and connection, elements always present in my work, the memory of these historical references, often unlikeable, or of images hidden in the subconscious are expressions always latent in the space where I safe keep the most intimate objects.
The option to imprison them in an “intimate” space, a space for homage or worship as a reliquary, seemed interesting to me and proper to my intentions.
The subversion of the scale, forcing spectators to come closer, potentiating an intimate relationship with that space of memory, is accentuated now, inversely, also subverting the relationship between the observer and the exhibits, forcing him to move away so that both are held hostage in the space that separates them from the public.
The issue of the distance, separation and meeting, is also, as the memory, an essential element.
The current portraits are thus grounded in the development of this process of exploration of space and distance, but also of expressions, tribute or memory references, already assumed in the exhibition of small pieces, box with contents or reliquaries, which will be exhibited once again now at Porto in March of the current year.
Thus, by recovering portraits of sculptors that I have involved as a memory in those reliquaries, I added others, also elected in the wake of this process of tribute.
Some of them, in a more advanced stage in the process, try to find a possible balance in the agglutination of those who, perchance, have had more significant influence on my work.
The drawing of the faces does not define the expressive exuberance of emotions, as happened with the modules carved in wood for the work“Uma Janela Para Darwin” (“A Window for Darwin”), since it is intended to produce a work of recognition of various gazes, also expressions, even if they are more restrained, with a similar account, not very much humanized and in a systematic and repetitive format, to find the necessary unity.
The confrontation with gazes of characters that become, due to their whole, a single glance, is a kind of exorcism that is fulfilled and has accompanied me.
Although treated individually, the drawings are assumed as a set of modules, they all form part of the same body.
Even exposed in the traditional way, they make sense together and this global expression is what I intend to expose at this kind of installation.
I used computer tools to reach the desired outcome: finding a composition in high contrast, as universal as possible and more or less expressive, to serve as a model for the intervention that I would execute, in black, on a white surface.
Just as the image of Che, which Jim Fitzpatrick created in 1968 from Alberto Korda’s picture, was transformed into a world icon after being multiplied, the image of each referenced sculptor expresses the condition of a private icon and the treatment recorded on the canvas accentuates this intention.
As if I drew with black over a surface of white paper, the immaculate canvas is accentuated, here and there, by the fine light of the white colour.
It is this combination of contrasting opposites that makes the interface that produces the image.
Reality is always taken by its opposites.
In this case the black does not survive without the white at the background and vice versa.
It is this area of tangency, this frontier space, this memory of these fields or this synthesis of the distance that matters to me.

Carlos Marques, November 2013

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