March 19th // May 16th, 2015
The definition of “Openspace” is an area of an open space in the city, usually related with urban spaces or designating open spaces in the middle of the urban centre. It can be a green space, or parks, gardens or squares, as well as avenues and urban yards. In real estate it means an interior space without walls or partitions.
Upon entering the exhibition of Pedro Calapez we are faced with a series of new works, of different dimensions, that involve the viewer, modifying our perception of the space. Their titles have references to urban space or to Nature, for example in “Horizonte Rio 02” (Horizon – River 02), “Openspace” or “Off limits”.
In its “plastic exuberance”1, the work of Pedro Calapez uses color with the most varied chromatisms, reflexes and contrasts, promoting the spectators involvement, seduce them to remain in front of the work, beginning a meditation about the essence of painting. A painting that is not figurative, almost abstract (despite the idea of landscape, that is clearly of the figurative domain) remains present: “Through the paintings and drawings, Pedro Calapez establishes visual spaces that give us spatial and temporal data. Sometimes, some of these places are actually an invention of a scenic landscape that we can wander through. And other times, they are a set of elements, regular or irregular, he puts on the wall as a temporal record of his graphic diary, like parts of a game, subjects of a vibrant pattern or landmarks that define and expand visual areas.”
The works “Round” and “Off Limits”, for example, present themselves with strong colors which intersect with each other and are confronted with more tenuous and sober colors, with a “persistence on a decorative chroma- tism that has left the evident subtleness of his initial paintings, to affirm itself in a shameless way, in solutions that are beyond any taste codes or chromatic association rules”3 and so they end up in space resembling small sculptures, coming out of the wall, challenging our gaze.
In his three most recent paintings (“Openspace”) the artist created three landscapes, using oil-bars on an enamel paint background on paper, where the colors have a subtle brightness, and these paintings we could also imagine them being maps – like poetic proposals for an abstract space. The use of oil-bar and its presentation in a frame without glass, contrasts strongly with the other works in the exhibition and with techniques that the artist usually employs (acrylic or alkyd ink). These works openly intersect strongly with the space of who sees them. They are special paintings that have an implied interaction with the viewer.
The Portuguese philosopher José Gil tells us: “The gaze of the painter does not see more than the common vi- sion, it sees the same thing to choose something else in it; and this movement of the view, is enough to change the normal image of the world.”
Pedro Calapez dialogues continuously with the architectonical space – we know this because of the public art works he created previously (ceiling for the building of the seat of the municipality of Lisbon – Paços do Con- celho/CML; a public square with cobble stones for the South-Entrance of the EXPO’98; the ceramic panel for the Metro Station Olaias, for the Metro Lisbon), as well as by his scenographic works for several theaters and plays in Lisbon (Teatro Nacional D. Maria II, Teatro da Trindade, or for the program Acarte by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon). This experience seems to provoke the scenic space, which is revealed by his works and in which painting definitely intervenes.
OPENSPACE – a space that exists within our gaze or decidedly the individual space that each one creates for themselves?
(1) “Ornamento Escondido”, de João Miguel Fernandes Jorge, in: Pedro Calapez. Textos em livros e catálogos. Diver- sos autores (1984-2002). Galeria Borges y Mallo, Badajoz, 2002. (2)“O burel da cortina antepara o céu opaco”, texto de exposição de João Pinharanda, 2014. (3) “O burel da cortina antepara o céu opaco”, texto de exposição de João Pinharanda, 2014. (4) A imagem nua e as pequenas percepções, de José Gil, 2005.
Alda Galsterer, 2015