Luísa's Wedding

Miguel von Hafe Pérez

Text that accompanied the exhibition Luísa's Wedding at Galeria Fernando Santos, in April 2018.

Published in 2018
By Galeria Fernando Santos

Luísa's Wedding is an emancipated, fluid exhibition in which pleasure assumes a political sense of becoming. In these paintings, in which bodies gravitate freely, the underlying canon is the happiness of the encounter, of touch, cross-breeding and dilution of boundaries between genres. The pleasure of taking a break in the existential interval of the rational determinism of supposed economic and social effectiveness. Art as the possibility of opening up significant parentheses in the expected run of events.

The exhibition is divided into two core nuclei, in function of the exhibition space’s different lighting environments. Encaustic paintings of medium- and large-scale dimensions are shown in the main rooms, with two panels of drawings in the side rooms. The paintings on raw cotton are crossed by a transparency that contributes to their reiterated watery state. Encaustic painting involves heating the wax as a binder and the warm colours seem to respond powerfully to this process, suggesting an execution which is intuitive, rather than being compositionally structured, corresponding to the need to work quickly because of the relatively short drying times. In the drawings, by contrast, we don’t detect the transparency effect of the raw cotton. The colours are colder, and the compositions are simpler and fragmentary. In this back-and-forth movement between ecstasy and distension, the works establish an indeterminate fabrication across time and space - an erratic magma of the here-and-now, as a vital flow in the pursuit of pure happiness.

Priscila Fernandes (Coimbra, 1981) is a Portuguese artist based in Rotterdam, Netherlands. She has a consistent international career and currently teaches in the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam.

Through in-depth analysis of systems of representation, education and society in the modern world, she uses a wide spectrum of media - such as video, installation, photography and drawing - to map a personal vision that reveals the structure beneath models of conviviality, work and behaviour. Commencing with historical narratives (e.g. those proposed by modernist painters or teachers) or fictional narratives (in which utopias serve as metaphor for fleeing from conventional ideas), she establishes unexpected parallels between play and work structures, between learning and social conditioning.

Using these practices and methods, she has already won considerable national and international recognition (including the EDP New Artists Award in 2011 or participation in the São Paulo Biennale in 2016). However this new exhibition - Luisa's Wedding – marks a turning point in her career. Although formally conceived using the traditional disciplines of painting and drawing, the exhibition refers to a recurring conceptual matrix that underpins much of her work: a malleable visual language is used to express a specific propositional reality. The resulting tension informs the perceptive games, colour and composition which are thus historically and socially conditioned.