Berlinde De Bruyckere "Crossing a bridge on fire". News, 19th December  2023

Berlinde De Bruyckere Lissabon2023. MAC

Atravessar uma ponte em chamas [Crossing a bridge on fire], the title of Berlinde De Bruyckere’s temporary exhibition opening at the Museu de Arte Contemporânea/CCB, is taken from a short story by Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño. A powerful image that suggests the risk of passing from one side to another, it is also symbolic of both the appeal and the terror of the other, of transformation and metamorphosis, and of the trauma that follows any process of migration.

Berlinde De Bruyckere has been developing work in the fields of sculpture, drawing, collage, and installation around the great themes of art: death, redemption, sex, pain and memory. Inspired by the intermediary figure of the angel, this exhibition proposes a reflection on the relationship with the other, whether as transcendence, as the physicality of touch, or as personal projection. In the sequence of exhibition rooms, the artist explores these topics in works from different moments in her career, looking at their erotic power and ambiguity.

Anchored in the history of art—particularly Renaissance painting—Berlinde De Bruyckere’s work connects existing archetypes with new narratives, rediscovering themes, obsessions, and recurrences from the world of images that populate our collective memory.

To make this dialogue between historical times a reality, the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga has kindly lent Lucas Cranach’s painting Salomé with the head of Saint John the Baptist, 1510, which is juxtaposed with the work Infinitum II, 2017–2019. Continuing this dialogue, the exhibition will also include a site in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga itself, where the work Liggende — Arcangelo I, 2023, will be installed in the room dedicated to Francisco de Zurbarán (1598–1664), a Spanish Baroque painter whose work is a recurring point of reference for the artist. This sculpture, representing a fallen angel (an entity that has passed from transcendence to immanence), presented in the context of a dialogue with the mysticism of Zurbarán’s painting (present in portraits that try to free themselves from earthly mundanity), once again realises the same ambiguous and back-and-forth circuit the exhibition proposes. Another important aspect of the work is its dimensions, which reproduce those of Vasco da Gama’s tomb at the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Lisbon.

Each room of the exhibition brings together different imagery, although in all of them—with the exception of the last—the issue of gender duality and the bridge between images of the masculine, the feminine, and the undifferentiated are a constant presence. In the first room, the Arcangeli (the image of the intermediary) are juxtaposed with collages and a wall work of the It almost seemed a lily series, exploring the subjects of desire and sublimation; in the second room, the sculpture Palindroom, 2019, phallic in appearance yet female in nature, is confronted with a set of leather and wax wall sculptures called Met Tere Huid, 2014, a powerful rendition of vulvar forms; and, in the third, three vertical shield-like sculptures entitled Penthesilea (the Amazon queen killed by Achilles) carry wax casts of animal skin, spread open wide and draped as if referring to Piero della Francesca’s painting Madonna del parto, 1460, and once again turning the delicate female sex into an image of power.

All the situations evoked are therefore dual and contradictory, permanently crossing the territories of gender and its imagery. The case of the work Palindroom is particularly significant: a palindrome is a word or text that can be read equally in its normal and reverse orders. The sculpture mimics a model used for breeding horses. Although its configuration evokes a penis, its function is precisely the opposite, that of being penetrated. In a complex way, it is a palindrome between interior and exterior, an object that is almost hermaphroditic in the symbolism it summons.

The last room of the exhibition features the installation ALETHEIA (on-vergeten), 2019, a Greek word meaning unveiling or that which is not hidden. The viewer can wander among the deposited layers of animal skins cast in wax and accumulated on pallets, in an allegory of the countless layers of meanings and possible interpretations that reverberate in the various situations proposed by the exhibition.

The exhibition period will also include two performances by Portuguese dancer and actor Romeu Runa, who has collaborated with Berlinde De Bruyckere for many years. The performances Romeu,‘my deer’ and Sybille relate directly to the artist’s work and are the result of their close collaboration.

Magritte + Warhol by Duane Michals. News, 12th November2023

Andy Warhol (Laying on papers), c. 1958. Gelatin silver print, 14 7/8 x 22 ¼ inches. DC MOORE GALLERY

Photographer Duane Michals turns his eye on the legendary artists René Magritte and Andy Warhol in this exhibition of early portraits. Known for his surreal sequences and witty storytelling across media, Michals’s portraits of other artists turn the tables upon his subjects by adopting elements of their characteristic visual styles. Among the many artists photographed by Michals over his six-decade long career, Michals particularly sought out Magritte and Warhol as subjects. The exhibition will feature nearly forty portraits of Warhol and twenty portraits of Magritte, alongside over twenty portraits of other major 20th century artists. These two series reimagine these mythological artists on Michals’s own terms, capturing at once the illusory image of the artist and the person beneath.

Duane Michals first took portraits of Andy Warhol in 1958, and continued to photograph him throughout the artists’ friendship. They met while Warhol was working as a commercial artist and connected over their shared experiences growing up in Pittsburgh. The 1958 portraits capture this moment of transition from working in advertising to establishing himself as Andy Warhol, the artist and personality. The subsequent portraits taken over the years illuminate Warhol’s constant self-reinvention. Michals comments, “he’s transcended being a mere artist, he’s a phenomenon. Andy was phenomenal. And he still is, and he will get stronger as time goes on.”

In August, 1965, Duane Michals arrived at René Magritte’s home in Brussels to take the famous surrealist’s portrait. Michals made the connection through a friend of a friend and had no idea what to expect from the painter who was a large influence on his own photographs. Michals’s photographs refract Magritte and his space through his own engagement with Magritte’s art. He writes, “what so engaged me in Magritte’s work was its ability to perplex. In his world, I could not be sure of anything.” The portraits convey the surrealist sense of humor shared by the two artists, using double exposures and other techniques to perplex the eye. Magritte is dressed in a dark suit and bowler hat, “the familiar Magritte man” of his paintings.

Michals’ portraits of other artists, including Marcel Duchamp, David Hockney, Alice Neel, Louise Nevelson, and Robert Rauschenberg, will be shown alongside these two series. Each image speaks to the particularities of the sitter, channeling the aura of their work while maintaining his own idiosyncratic vision.

Brâncuși: Romanian Sources and Universal Perspectives. News, 9th October 2023

 Credit: Constantin BRÂNCUȘI, The Kiss, 1907. Museum of Art, Craiova

The exhibition "Brâncuși: Romanian Sources and Universal Perspectives" seeks to illustrate the particularity of the artist who managed to create pure forms, freed from any influence. Through the dialogue that he establishes with matter and that allows him to extract the essence of beings and objects, Brâncuși crosses all geographical, historical, formal, and gender boundaries, which ensures him a special place, not attaching him to any artistic current.

The exhibition will bring to the public's awareness different stages of Brâncuși's artistic career: from the works created under the influence of education at the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest to the confrontation with Rodin's sculpture and up to his radical decision to abandon modeling and adopt the method of direct grinding – which marks his symbolic return to the primitive arts and opens, at the same time, the way to modernity. An exciting and original selection of photographs and fragments filmed by the artist will be exhibited in dialogue with the sculptures.

The exhibition will benefit from exceptional loans from the National Museum of Modern Art, Center Pompidou in Paris, Tate in London, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Art Museum in Bucharest, and the Art Museum in Craiova, as well as from private collections.

"Brâncuși: Romanian Sources & Universal Perspectives," the most important exhibition dedicated to the great sculptor in the last half century in Romania, is financed by the Timiș County Council and is co-organized in the European Capital of Culture by the Timișoara National Museum of Art, the Art Encounters Foundation and the French Institute in Romania, through its branch in Timișoara.

"Self-Portrait as Saint Anthony" of Aurélia de Souza. Review by Fábio Cruz, 17th February 2023
Coleção José Caiado de Souza. Photo by: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian – Centro de Arte Moderna -  Catarina Gomes Ferreira
 "Self-Portrait as Saint Anthony" by Aurélia de Souza Photo by: Fábio Cruz

In a world made by men and for men, there have been women throughout history who came to question everything that was believed. The art world was no exception and there were numerous examples of great women who exposed themselves as artists, even when men used them only as muses for their work. Even without knowing that they would remain in history forever, these women dedicated themselves to what they loved, leaving countless examples that, today, we can observe and understand the importance that they would not have had at the time.

Aurélia de Souza was one of those women. She was born in Chile but raised in a small country named Portugal, where women were still part of high society, to be seen as housewives. Aurélia had the opportunity to study in Porto, at the Academy of Fine Arts, as well as in other great academies around the world, and she became a great artist, with a vast work, that distances herself from everything that women were thought to be able to accomplish.

Aurélia took advantage of photography to make some of her most famous works. In an almost performative exercise, the artist photographed herself as she wished and, later, painted herself on canvas. Even though this exercise had already been done all over Europe, since the moment photography emerged as a great invention of the nineteenth century, it's true that in Portugal it had not yet become a habit. One of her most relevant and, in a way, incomprehensible works is “Self-Portrait as Saint Anthony”. In this portrait, the artist dressed up as Saint Anthony, presenting a less dogmatic view of the saint's physiognomy, which was sought to be represented in more traditional paintings up to that time. It is understood that she did it this way because she was born on the day that Saint Anthony was celebrated. However, it is not understood whether this was exactly the main reason for what can be called her main performance. I refer to performance, but accidentally, because, certainly, Aurélia would not have that intention, nor did she do it with an audience to witness the moment when she decided to portray herself as Saint Anthony.

In this work, the usual comforting mystique of Saint Anthony is replaced by a disquieting void of uncertainties, a tremendous truth of suffering and death, clearly visible in how she paints her face and physiognomy. Even though there are versions that claim that Aurélia would be sick at this time, perhaps the painting is a true performance of her, which intended to portray what was going on all over the country, in a time of technological and scientific advances, but of big social setbacks, which would lead to the beginning of the First World War.

In addition to the existence of other works of art that could be analyzed about Aurélia's contribution to Portuguese art, this would be the main one, as well as one of her most incredible works. It should be noted that the artist was undoubtedly an example of a woman out of her time; however, she only succeeded because her family provided for her, financially and socially. Without their support, in a world made up of men, she would never have been able to be considered an example of strength and resilience, nor would she travel as she traveled, which allowed her to know the realities beyond Portuguese borders.

Hockney's Photo-Cubism. Review by Rodolfo Lopes, 1st February 2023

Pearblossom Hwy., 11 - 18th April 1986, #2April 11-18, 1986David Hockney (British, born 1937) GETTY MUSEUM

When we hear the name David Hockney (1937), we have the notion that he is one of the most recognized British artists within the art world. With an unbelievable curriculum and a plurality transversal to several artistic areas, it presents its greatest expressiveness within the Pop Art movement, but it is transversal to several others.

Known for his works that are interconnected and mixed with his life, Hockney has always tried to transfer his personal experiences into his works, and with that comes photography, as a witness of what he has seen.

Hockney has always used photography as a way to capture the reality that was later painted, showing the passage of time, but in a static way. From the moment he thought about this device and how he could show his point of view on things, he created a new photographic concept entitled “Joiner” (80').

“Joiner” is a type of multiple photography, of a space or object, capturing various angles, through several captures that are later composed, creating a single photograph, giving the viewer a better notion of observation about the theme, as well as the power to be able to better observe the space. Here, Hockney, presents another important point: the idea of ​​a narrative within an entire work, a narrative that can be understood as the movement of the spectator's gaze within the observation that the artist intends to be made.

In this photographic technique, reality is presented to us in a fragmented way, as it happens in the paintings of the avant-garde movement - Cubism.

In Cubism, this form of thought and execution is also perceived: the idea of ​​representing something, from different planes and different points of view. Hockney has a huge influence from Pablo Picasso, and uses that to rescue, in a very experimental way, something that had remained in the past, in order to make this vision so advanced at that time contemporary.

As had happened with Cubism, here, the artist also gives a new perception, both in the way of seeing space and the way it is presented, as well as, in the way of seeing art. I dare to say that we are facing a new way of seeing and producing images.

Are we facing a technique, or a revival of a “neocubism”, but using technology to update itself? Or can we even speak of a “photo-cubism”? We can say that David Hockney is a master, who draws on the work of others, and who has influenced, and will continue to do so, many other masters in the future.

For the time being, we can only dwell on the aesthetic connections and similarities between these two masters and their works, taking advantage of and envisioning these great works.

Paula Rego. There and Back Again. News, 7th December 2022 

Paula Rego, The Company of Women, 1997, Collection Ostrich Arts Ltd, courtesy of Ostrich Arts Ltd and Victoria Miro, London, Photo: Nick Willing

Paula Rego. There and Back Again is the first institutional solo exhibition of Paula Rego in Germany, and comprises over 80 art works (paintings, drawings, prints, as well as costumes). Its title is borrowed from the ballet Pra lá e pra sá (There and Back Again) which the English composer Louisa Lasdun composed in 1998. The ballet, presented in the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, was inspired by her seeing Paula Rego’s Nursery Rhymes prints, and for which Rego designed the costumes.

“I’m interested in seeing things from the underdog’s perspective. Usually that’s a female perspective”, claimed the Portuguese-British artist Paula Rego (1935-2022), Grande Dame of an uncompromising vision, a true tender narrator for our complex times of a psychological and physical anguish, and an unrivalled storyteller, heralded as a feminist icon. Her groundbreaking oeuvre tackled upon systems of power and control, fascism, women's rights, abortion and human tragedy, giving visibility to the underrepresented, fighting political injustices, and at the same time, redefining painterly traditions. The themes of violence, poverty, political tyranny, gender discrimination, and grief were in the centre of her challenging work. Courageously questioning the political myths and subtly although with a brutal honesty and dignity investigating human relationships, Paula Rego’s art - remains more relevant than ever as an evidence of resilience and an unparalleled subversive and rebellious strength.

Gérard Fromanger: «The artist must offer mythical truths». Interview made in 2018 by Francisco Lacerda and António Lourenço. News, 13th May 2022

Gérard Fromanger is a pioneer of the return to figuration in early 1960s France. Born in 1939 in Pontchartrain, he lives and works between Paris and Siena (Italy), Fromanger joined the artists of figurative storytelling at the Salon de Mai in 1964 and 1965. He then participated in the Salon de la Peinture de Jeune. He also did several collective and political serigraphy works during the month of May 1968. - Eurostars Cultura

Gérard Fromanger  was a friend of Alberto Giacometti . The filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard invited him to draw a series of works and to create with him what became his cinema, a series of short films based on his work From Him Album The Red 1968 . Acclaimed around the world, this work has marked not only Fromanger's artistic career, but also that of figurative storytelling artists.



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