Curator: Susana González/Santiago Olmo
Artist: Pedro Cabrita Reis
15 November 2019 - 2 February 2020
The show WORK (always) IN PROGRESS proposes a sequential exploration of the key themes of Pedro Cabrita Reis’s work (Lisbon, 1956), encompassing representative series such as Compounds, Favorite places, True gardens or Floresta, a body of work spanning three decades. The show is structured around some thirty pieces arranged throughout the vestibule and the first two floors of the CGAC, alongside site-specific installations on the building’s facade and terrace. The selection speaks to the artist’s vast output, and demonstrates the dialectical potential of a practice that joins constructivist and process-based principles, minimalist formal concerns, and a focus on the use of preexisting objects.
The meaning of Cabrita Reis’s work, as the exhibition title suggests, is the result of his unique gaze, engaged in a constant reflection about the physical and the philosophical. His through process revolves around ontological premises and empirical examinations of phenomena that are less than obvious, but which allude to existence and the essence of being. The foundation of his practice is anthropological reflection, which examines social behavior across time and space, granting the ability to conceive the world in symbolic terms, as opposed to sociology’s more scientific approach. To do so he relies on a conceptual framework connected to the philosophical ideas of impermanence, existence and memory, reflecting on the essential from the standpoint of life’s finite nature.
Pedro Cabrita Reis proposes a hybrid constructive approach, using a variety of industrial or discarded materials, and building up the work through superposition, juxtaposition, repetition or addition. He belongs to the family of artists whose common denominator is a reflection on sculpture based on the use of materials and shapes normally associated with architecture. His vision of what it means to construct is a unique one, based on an exploration of the metaphysical—a realm free of any of the discipline’s inborn sociopolitical dependence or subordination. Cabrita Reis has no intention of delivering a verdict on society, but rather seeks to interpret it through a creative process that transforms old into new by building upon the past, moving one step beyond what has come before. He always aims at upward development—WORK (always) IN PROGRESS—but from the melancholy stance of one aware of man’s position in the face of nature.