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Onde os olhos não tocam   2023

by Leonor Carrilho

   Onde os olhos não tocam is an exhibition by the artists Joana Patrão, Juliana Matsumura and Rosanna Helena Bach at Galeria Liminare, Lisbon. Resulting from a close collaboration between the three artists, the exhibition presents nuclei of pieces, especially conceived for this exhibition space.

   Taking very different sensibilities and techniques as starting point, the work of the three artists is closely related, reflecting on meditative processes that, through the exercise of gesture - repeated, insistent, mechanical, organic - give rise to irregular and unexpected textures, in materials as distinct as canvas, drawing paper, rock or glass.
   By no means it lies on the surface, Juliana Matsumura’s new piece, crosses us. The artist takes as a starting point a drawing of a spiral shape by James Bell Pettigrew. an anatomist and naturalist who lived at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century and who dedicated himself to the study of spiral shapes in Nature. Matsumura reproduces the same drawing of the same spiral dozens of times, showing the process of continuous decomposition of this form, which happens both by the process of repetition of the monotypes and by the length of the paper she used. It is in this game between visibility and invisibility that The House, the series of monotypes that begins the exhibition and speculates on a house, or a ghostly presence that may come from the real world or from the artist’s imagination, and the light box piece Shadow in the Eye are also situated. If, on the one hand, in working with white, the artist invests in delicate gestures, in almost sacred exercises; on the other hand, she exposes the impurities of the image (coming from remnants of old works), she shows what is dirty, what is not perfect. It is on this threshold that her works live, and it is in the game of approach and distance, luminosity, and darkness,

The series Maps of Meaning by Rosanna Helena Bach is strongly related to the energetic charge that the color white carries within itself, white being the meaning of pure energy, linked to processes of birth and death, and also to the concept of prima materia. Made of several sculptural layers, with carved wood, oil paint and shells that the artist collects, these landscapes live from presence and absence, from form and emptiness, from vision and disappearance. Accompanying these sculptural landscapes, the artist proposes a series of glass pieces to embrace, hold, touch, feel. They expand the experience of looking at the landscapes, communicating with them and with us.

The rocks, collected by Joana Patrão in Esposende (which have already given rise to the artist’s installation, Drawing nature. Water flows on the line, 2019), show the natural marks of erosion, sea and sand, but also other marks that result from her own gestures: loose, but not torn, they make up tenuous and fine lines that reveal words, maps or imaginary paths. The use of chalk as drawing material is what relates the two printed histories, the natural and the human. The stones lead us to Aerolito, the video that introduces us to this relationship of clouds and stones. Aerolito speculates the natural/mystical phenomenon where rocky meteorites fall from the sky. There is a symbolic and poetically charged relationship in this event, as if everything fell from the clouds and everything became a cloud. The video loop and the natural sound of the clouds captured by the artist puts us sometimes in a state of trance, sometimes meditative.

The uncertainty of the result of these exercises of affection is one of the characteristics of the works of the three artists. The repetition and accumulation of matter over time and its reaction to the natural environment, its erosion, erasure or renewal, adds a strong charge of unpredictability and life to the works. Proposals in delicate media and languages, stripped of the need for subtitling or translation, suggest paths and encounters. Moments of hope, contaminations, forms, lines, lights and shadows… the understanding of time.





Leonor Carrilho
May 13th, 2023


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