Olivier Kosta-Thefaine, Paulo Arraiano,
Pedro Matos, Sandra Baía
Curated By: Pauline Foessel
To denature an object, a space, a concept is rarely seen in a positive light, as if changing something's intrinsic nature were essentially frowned upon or poorly received. What about a denaturation of cities? How can we contemplate removing the very essence of the urban space? Would it concern restoring a part of nature to cities, or would it concern returning them to nature?
This is an issue that Arraiano explores in his work. While looking into the contrasts and contradictions of the urban space he gives them new landscapes. He prompts the essence of things, the essence of bodies, by practically taking up a role of landscapist, as if he wished to return to the very beginnings of construction.
The construction of cities, their elements – Matos and Kosta-Théfaine are themselves witnesses and observers of these poetic moments and fragments. By providing or restoring meaning to this space and its components, they are interested in removing them from their context, in denaturing their ephemeral character. Matos explores, studies, creates and examines the textures that surround city dwellers. Similarly, Kosta-Théfaine focuses on the beauty of subject matter that is generally ignored: a detail of a decayed wall, broken glass, an old advertisement poster for an exhibition that has been vandalised. Matos and Kosta-Théfaine denature; they are not interested in the usage itself but rather in revealing the beauty and the poetics of these urban elements.
A poetics that can also be found in Baía's work, introducing into the urban space the notion of human being. With her series of portraits Baía offers us an abstract vision. By denaturing existence itself she removes its physical characteristic, stripping away the very image we have of ourselves. Distorting reality and its nature, removing the aesthetic vision that we have of any given individual, Baía guides us into looking deeper.
Through their exploration of the urban space and those who inhabit it, these four artists are playing with it, denaturing it and rendering it with a poetics and sensibility which it deserves.
Text: Pauline Foessel