Mafalda Santos & Pedro Casqueiro, exhibition curated by Alexandre Melo, Galeria Presença, Porto
PINTURAS E DESPINTURAS
When I wrote my first text about Pedro Casqueiro I spoke of a principle of demarcation that – summing up for those unfamiliar with the language of football – served to define a way of managing and anticipating expectations in which each movement and each position fulfill to suggest or provide new and, preferably unexpected, movements and situations. To this day, I continue to recognize this principle in each of the successive moments and in each of the works that form the body of almost 40 years of work by the artist.
When talking about Casqueiro one always feels the temptation, if not the obligation, to talk about painting and about his work, we could review all the questions about the “question of painting” over the last 50 years measuring his work according to the works of the great masters and post-masters of painting and post-painting throughout this period. He could even invent some designations: geometric neo-impressionism, “profondeurs-surfaces”, “good painting”, cold post-pop, “old neo-geo” and so on, always according to the principle of demarcation.
If we look, without prior knowledge of the artist’s work, at a frontal photograph of one of Mafalda Santos’ works presented in this exhibition, we will have the impression that we are facing a reproduction of a painting: an abstract painting declined in delicate harmonies of dim chromatic gradations. However, if we look more closely, or if we are confronted with the live work, we realize that it is not a painting, in any sense of the traditional technical definition of the word painting. In the direct physical confrontation with the work, what stands out is the its three-dimensional character of construction and the strength of its objectual presence.
If we talk about three-dimensional object construction it seems that we should talk about sculpture, but the application of the verb sculpt in the characterization of the artist’s work process seems very forced if not even unacceptable. It is an accumulation (assemblage?) Of reams of paper, cut in a certain way, grouped, boxed and presented in a certain way, in order to produce a certain effect: the effect that we started by considering pictorial. Live, visual reading gives primacy to tactile appeal.
Neither painting nor sculpture, in the strict sense, and we begin to imagine that the strict sense of the traditional definitions of artistic disciplines is perhaps too strict.
Perhaps the questions that are mentioned about the “question” of painting or sculpture are not questions of painting or sculpture. They are questions of rhythm, tone, balance, color, light, skin, atmosphere, texture, vision. These are the issues that unite in this exhibition at Galeria Presença the paintings and non-paintings by Pedro Casqueiro and Mafalda Santos.
These are the same questions that move us all when we decide to pay attention to an exhibition of works of art: that is, when we decide to pay more attention to the way we see and live. “
Alexandre Melo, 2019