The works of Gonçalo Pena in exhibition reflect the confrontation between forms of thinking indexed to diverse material and technical contexts. Unlike the previous two exhibitions at Graça Brandão gallery, which presented mainly drawing, “Gaita!” Objectively approaches painting. This, however, happens in a very different way from “Salão de Outono”, an exhibition held in 2008 in this same gallery, whose irony, as was mentioned at the time, pointed to a cycle focused on a display of qualities and representative profusion.
In a different way, “Gaita!” rehearses a denial and begins a complex program of self-commenting and self-corrosion, a critique of the traditions of the visual arts as a whole. This corrosion has long been pursued in the work of Gonçalo Pena albeit through drawing. What appears here to us now is an extension of strategies derived from a clear thinking of drawing to the material territories proper to pictorial tradition. This transition is made presently through acrylic painting on paper in various formats. Above all the present exhibition seems to correspond, within the stated ambit of the tension between experience of freedom and awareness of finitude, to an empowerment, to an aesthetic and poetic claim within a all devouring economy of spectacle.
“Gaita” is a portuguese interjection expressing frustration already in disuse, where the phallic erupts in the realm of the social acceptable. It also corresponds to a whole glossary of expressions used in so many modernist manifestos for cultural rupture: “Pum, pim, pimba, catrapuz, gaita!” It is the carnival answer against death in all its guises. It corresponds therefore and quite well, to the process of continuous destruction operated in atelier, presented here as a radical denial of anteriority, in refusing the comfort provided by the series, brand or style.
In this exhibition, the paintings, the drawings, function literally as articulated pieces in a construction. They are conceptual devices that claim freedom of action in the integral space of the visual poetics and beyond. Here are also beginnings and indications for new trails. Some of these beginnings consist of historical statements, process citations or appropriations to pursue other productions. Some object-images think of their becoming a medium, both in an affirmative and destructive sense. Others proceed as more or less grotesque hangovers of ideologies and their corresponding visual apparatuses. Others, still, bring to the surface various bodily agencies, such as heteronomy or syncretic agglomerations.
André Poejo, 2019