In its formal nature, the work of Gonçalo Barreiros convokes realities that can be at a time confusing, baffling, and suggestive. His sculptures are often imbued with a plasticity that feels foreign to the materials they are made of, creating — in some cases — a contrast between the informality of a gesture and the permanence of the material. Paradoxical, the essence of his pieces defies the viewer’s perception and systems of reference. His work also convokes a myriad of transversal references, including comics, cartoons, and animation cinema.
The unexpected is one of the main driving forces in the work of Gonçalo Barreiros, and this is made self-evident by the title of the exhibition Declaração Amigável*, his fourth show at the Galeria Vera Cortês. Convoking the particular universe of car accidents, the show focuses on a rapid sequence of events in which two strangers are forced to engage in a collaborative effort to register the memory of a car accident in a document that includes, among other things, two written descriptions and an original drawing. Stemming from this event, the idea that the unexpected can also be absurd unfolds into the gallery space.
Entering the gallery, we can see a series of tire tubes. Usually hidden inside the tires and discretely signaled by the valves sticking out from the inner side of the tire, these are essential parts in any bicycle or motorbike. Eighteen sculptures between the circular and the elliptic, most of them seem to be pressurized almost to their limit. Others seem deflated and shrunken, lacking pressure. In size, these tire tubes range from 8’’ to 3’7’’. Made from iron, they all include a tire valve bought in a bicycle shop.
At first glance, these objects immediately pop out. However, in a closer and more detailed look, we start perceiving certain incongruities in their representations, such as scale, drawing details, the way they reflect light… The specificity of this sculptural body of work vibrates in a place of restlessness.
On the wall by the gallery’s entrance, we can find and read a sequence of visual fragments that refer to the exhibition and create, through association, a different experience. It is not an account, but rather wandering sentences. They do not deflect from, point towards, or consolidate any kind of meaning whatsoever.
*The title of the show can be translated, literally, as “Friendly Statement,” which is the expression used in Portuguese for the more prosaic English “Accident Statement.”
Galeria Vera Cortês (press release)