Exhibition “Hospitalidade” curated by Miguel Von Hafe Pérez, Hospital de S.João, Porto.
HOSPITALIDADE, MIGUEL VON HAFE PÉREZ
Text by Miguel Von Hafe Pérez for the Hospitality catalog
Mafalda Santos’ project (Porto, 1980) for this exhibition had to respond to a tough challenge that was posed in a non-innocent way: in fact, this artist has been showing a particular appetite for using large surfaces as a support for interventions specifically designed for those locations. Whether they present themselves as figurative representations that refer to universes parallel to the strictly artistic, as was the case of the work presented at the EDP Awards at the Freixo Power Station in 2007 – a huge face of a tiger in a kind of circus allusion – or in abstract records like the one that took shape on the floor of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in the exhibition “Sete Artistas ao tententh month” in 2005, this type of creative strategy is anchored on the assumption that pure visuality, in this case its spectacular dimension, manages to go beyond decorative formalism that could underlie these jobs.
In fact, this has been a constant in this artist’s set of proposals, which thus reflects not only on the formal conditions that each particular space offers, but also intervenes in a contextual, critical and relational dimension of that same space. Participating in the context of an exhibition entitled Hospitality in one of the most visibly degraded areas of the hospital, the inevitably dirty courtyard of the thermal power plant, is a vital metaphor for an ongoing regeneration process, as if purifying an exposed wound . The decorative motif covering the patio floor, in a work in progress that will extend beyond the inauguration of the event, is vaguely reminiscent of the abstract patterns recurring in Arab cultures, thus intensifying the sense of hospitality as a welcoming of other languages in the imaginary of the passerby