Magazine article Artforum International

Pedro Calapez: Casa Da Cerca - Centro De Arte Contemporanea

Magazine article Artforum International

Pedro Calapez: Casa Da Cerca - Centro De Arte Contemporanea

Article excerpt

"Branca e neutra claridade" (White and Neutral Clarity), the latest exhibition of the work of Lisbon-based artist Pedro Calapez, focuses on the artist's production since 1999. The show centers on drawings, such as the series "Desenhos continues" (Continuous Drawings), 1999: Holding two white pastel sticks in the same hand, Calapez sketched freehand, on dark paper, an immense forest evoking the legacy of Romanticism. But the exhibition also includes works in other media, above all painting, demonstrating the affinity of the two disciplines in his practice. The video Transparencias (Transparencies), 2005, demonstrates how Calapez uses both media, following the interests and problems that have defined his output since the early 1980s. The work is a double projection of still images of landscapes and cities, among other motifs, that constitute the sources from which Calapez develops his paintings and drawings. From this initially photographic basis, his works' graphic nature and chromatic diversity emerge.

Misterios (Mysteries), 2007, on view in the chapel of the majestic house that serves as the setting for Calapez's exhibition, exemplifies this combinatory approach. A panel of twenty drawings evokes the facade of the new Catholic church of the sanctuary of Fatima, in Portugal, for which he was commissioned to design panels for the front and main portal. The religious imagery is derived from Renaissance paintings that the artist has stylized through digital manipulation, selecting details of various scenes. Resembling freehand sketches in which lines and stains wander, these works possess an abstract quality also present in the hybrid object-paintings known as "Contentores" (Containers), made between 2002 and 2004. With titles like Dentro (Within), 2002; Contentor de Paisagem (Landscape Container), 2004; and Terra Firme (Solid Ground), 2004, and taking the form of open aluminum cubes with their interior faces and bases painted, these works allude to the history of architecture. …

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