Galeria Vera Cortês presents 2 desenhos, 2 esculturas, José Pedro Croft’s first solo show in Portugal after his participation at the Venice Biennial (still ongoing), representing the country. It is also his first solo exhibition in this gallery.
José Pedro Croft is one of the most significant contemporary Portuguese artists, and one of the main forces behind the renewal of Portuguese sculpture undertaken since the late 1980s. Rooted in sculpture, his artistic practice extends to drawing and engraving and is characterized by a thorough construction process that combines his subjectivity with his formal universe. His pieces are always the result of a research on the processes that are set in motion within themselves, and in which their visual, poetic and plastic dimensions unravel into an atmosphere of unstable equilibrium between dialectic pairs such as stable and unstable, empty and full, or ascent and fall, always producing a reflection on the fundamentally transient nature of the universe.
In 2 desenhos, 2 esculturas, we will find, as the title suggests, four new artworks. Both Untitled, the two drawings advance the artist’s reflection about this disciple, projecting it beyond its seemingly two-dimensional character and onto the spatial and three-dimensional realm of sculpture and architecture. In a subtractive logic that does more than simply remove matter, the cuts in the paper allow us to see what is beyond the work, inviting space into their narrative, defining it and lending it substance. The overlaid grids and the explicit use of color refer to Croft’s subjective universe, placing these two drawings in a direct and dialectic path that creates a definite relationship with the space where they are placed.
Also Untitled, the two sculptures act upon the space in very different ways, even if they essentially project the same concerns, which are characteristic of Croft’s working processes. Smaller and subtler, the corner piece relates to space in a fundamentally architectural way, reacting to it, defining it, and emphasizing its intrinsic properties. The larger piece on the center of the exhibition convokes an experience of the space that is almost entirely mediated by the physical relationship it establishes with the visitor. The suggestion of a circular movement comes from its central position, but also from its base; a rotating wooden table that defines a space that is both physical and narrative. The apparent instability of the top structure can be felt physically with our bodies, transmitted by its unstable angles and the improbable relationships established between the iron’s weight and the lightness of the glass. Light, shadow and reflections multiply and reconfigure perspectives and vanishing points, suggesting new volumes and a perceptual vertigo as we look upon the exhibition space and the image of our own body within it.
The works by José Pedro Croft engage in complex dialogues, not only with the space or context they are placed on, but also with the shapes and volumes that define them as worldly objects. Heir to a very personal vision of minimalism, they are very simple structures that combine formal aspects with the physicality of materials like iron, wood, glass or paper, which are often reinforced with industrial paint and strong colors to suggest a dialect between sculpture and painting, transcending the preconceived and historically obdurate ideas often used to define the relationship between these two disciplines.
Galeria Vera Cortês (press release)