Exhibition views
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13/08 2016 – 21/09 2016

In the last five years‭, ‬a significant portion of Paloma Bosquê’s production has featured a combination of solid and malleable materials‭, ‬resulting in compositions that‭, ‬although heavily anchored on the grid‭, ‬incorporate soft‭, ‬translucent or imperfect surfaces and textures that eschew a desire for geometric purity‭. ‬Even in the works where the Constructivist aspect is foregrounded‭, ‬there is always an element which compromises absolute rigour‭. ‬For instance‭, ‬in the series of wall reliefs titled Ritmo para 2‭ [‬Rhythm for 2‭] (‬2013‭), ‬pairs of different-sized frames are overlapped and intertwined with golden metallic wire that simultaneously tie the two objects together and create tridimensional planes that traverse the background and the surface‭, ‬intersecting in some places‭. ‬These are clever‭, ‬meticulously executed arrangements‭, ‬which nonetheless imply a state of impermanence‭, ‬as the only thing securing the wooden pieces together is the tension between the lines‭. ‬In other instances‭, ‬this detour results from the combination of markedly geometric forms and intrinsically formless materials‭, ‬such as beeswax‭ (‬Língua‭ [‬Tongue‭], ‬2014‭), ‬wax paste‭ (‬Repetições‭ - ‬Os 12‭ ‬Defeitos‭ [‬Repetitions‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬The 12‭ ‬Defects‭], ‬2013‭) ‬or‭ ‬hand-woven thread‭ (‬Trapinhos‭ [‬Little Rags‭], ‬2015-16‭).‬

In Campo‭ [‬Field‭], ‬her second solo show at Mendes Wood DM‭, ‬Paloma Bosquê furthers her research on the physical qualities of matter and the structural possibilities of objects‭. ‬In this process‭, ‬as well as expanding her repertoire of materials‭, ‬Bosquê produces‭, ‬for the first time‭, ‬pieces that completely dispense with wall or ceiling supports‭. ‬More than representing a transition to what can be understood more traditionally as the domain of sculpture‭, ‬these works stem from the artist’s tireless search to establish complex but potentially unstable relationships between different materials‭. ‬Standing upright‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬a‭ ‬fundamental prerequisite of sculpture in its classical sense‭ ‬‮–‬‭, ‬in line with the logic permeating her previous constructions‭, ‬cannot be attained by subterfuge‭. ‬Bosquê is interested in what she can manipulate with her own hands‭, ‬within the limitations imposed by her own body‭. ‬Therefore‭, ‬the subtle balance of the structures that make up these self-sustaining pieces is achieved through the relationship between the base of the brass rods and the weight of the lead strips that surround them‭. ‬The frames are connected by fittings and fastenings that don’t require any welding or screws‭. ‬Thus‭, ‬there is a latent fragility in these constructions inasmuch as the arrangements that support them can seemingly be undone at any given time without having to resort to force or external instruments‭. ‬

According to Bosquê‭, ‬the first of these to be erected was Jirau‭ (‬2016‭), ‬whose form evokes the homonymous structures composed of‭ ‬a simple platform mounted on a stick frame‭, ‬mainly used in Northern Brazil for various purposes‭, ‬such as storing pots and pans‭, ‬smoking meat or drying fruit‭. ‬Jirau‭ (‬from the Tupi language‭) ‬also refers to the platform on which houses are built in flood-prone areas‭, ‬as well as any wooden structure in the shape of a platform or podium‭. ‬Bosquê’s Jirau with brass rods is traversed horizontally by a piece of wool felt in a light‭, ‬almost translucent colour that draws a large curve between its two ends‭, ‬contrasting diametrically in terms of density‭, ‬temperature and texture with the orthogonal metal‭ ‬frame‭. ‬On the topside‭, ‬on a thin golden mesh‭, ‬we see two small elongated bronze-cast pieces‭. ‬When we look at the piece from a distance‭, ‬what stands out is the geometric pattern formed by the rods’‭ ‬straight lines and the curvature of the wool‭. ‬However‭, ‬upon moving closer‭, ‬what becomes visible is the juxtaposition of the bronze pieces and the wire mesh‭, ‬with the wool’s pale colour and texture as a background‭. ‬Undoubtedly this last point should not be underestimated‭, ‬as by venturing into the field of sculpture‭, ‬where the position of the viewer’s body looking at the object becomes even more crucial‭, ‬Bosquê further complexifies the relationships of negotiation between the‭ ‬different materials‭, ‬which is one of the most fundamental operations in her work‭.  ‬

As well as the self-standing floor structures‭, ‬that allow a freer occupation of the exhibition space‭, ‬the show also includes wall pieces and smaller-scale sculptures that are displayed on bases‭. ‬The recurrence of beige or light grey felt‭, ‬animal casing and‭ ‬pale pink banana leaf paper‭, ‬often in contrast with the golden colour of metal‭, ‬shows her preference for a pallet of skin tones‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬an association that is reinforced by the organic nature of her materials‭. ‬In Campo‭, ‬Bosquê proposes an occupation of the space that attempts to recreate‭, ‬to a certain extent‭, ‬the way in which her works occupy her studio‭, ‬where the pieces spend time in a‭ ‬state of closeness and mutual interference‭. ‬The artist tells us that during her research prior to the exhibition‭, ‬she became interested in the idea of Ma‭, ‬a Japanese word with different meanings depending on context‭, ‬but which can be approximately translated as the experience of space that includes temporal and subjective elements‭. ‬The definitions of the concept‭, ‬albeit numerous and often conflicting‭, ‬make it clear that Ma doesn't refer to the space created by compositional elements‭, ‬but to what takes place in the imagination of those who relate to these elements‭. ‬Therefore‭, ‬Ma can be defined as a space of experience where the emphasis is on the interval‭. ‬However‭, ‬more than the artist’s loyalty to the original concept‭, ‬what matters here is that by setting up an installation closer to her own experience of the works in the studio‭, ‬Bosquê is seeking to break from the idea of isolating individual works or series and of a defined space that‭ ‬separates the public and the artwork that characterises more traditional displays‭. ‬By doing so‭, ‬she expands the field of action‭ ‬of her works by enabling a closer dialogue among them at the same time as establishing a closer relationship between the viewer’s body and the pieces‭.   

Paloma Bosquê’s work is often understood through the prism of her affiliation with Neoconcretism‭, ‬a movement that challenged the industrial paradigms of São Paulo’s Concretism in favour of an approximation between art and life‭. ‬Even though the comparison is not inaccurate given the geometric-sensitivity of a great part of her production so far‭, ‬it risks underestimating other elements that have perhaps had a more significant impact on her oeuvre‭. ‬The artist constantly reasserts the importance of her daily practice in the studio‭, ‬which allows‭ ‬her to intensely experience her materials‭, ‬as well as a work ethic based on manual labour and restricted by the limitations imposed by her own body‭. ‬This is the source of her interest in vernacular techniques‭, ‬as these denote a type of knowledge acquired from the direct experience with materials‭, ‬either in embroidery‭, ‬braids or the creation of structures inspired by popular construction techniques‭. ‬Ultimately I believe Bosquê would agree with Eva Hesse who commenting about her own work said‭: ‬don’t ask what it means or what it refers to‭. ‬Don’t ask what the work is‭. ‬Rather‭, ‬see what the work does‭. ‬

 – Kiki Mazzucchelli

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