Ian Kiaer, Paulo Lisboa, Nuno Sousa Vieira, “In Absentia”

IN ABSENTIA traces back the processes behind the emergence of mental and real artistic objects. The three invited artists go back to the past or associated forms of this quintessential object. Their thoughts, experiences, accidents, shifts and insights into genesis of their pieces make visible what is currently absent or remains mysterious in the object’s material form.


The artists attach many layers of significance to a single image or object. Through their work, the way in which the object is the result of the unpredictable connections that have happened in its past becomes obvious.


In this sense, the starting point for the exhibition is a reflection on the process of creation itself and the way in which previously unknown objects are constantly emerging. All of the artists have a conceptual approach to temporality, questions of spatial coherence and the essence of objecthood. Their work also induces a meditation on “the visible” and how it is experienced by each of us – as a quintessence of its past, historical and possible future forms.


By sliding back along the path of their own thoughts and the way in which they construct meaning, each artist ultimately reveals his work methodology to the viewer. For the exhibition at the Graça Brandão Gallery Paulo Lisboa, Ian Kiaer and Nuno Sousa Vieira will therefore each show an autonomous installation.


Recurrently and melancholically, the three artists move back and forth between questions, places and structures that have been fundamental to their own process of creation. All of this material, which is essential for the creation of an artwork, stays hidden from its physical form. It becomes obvious how the object is a result of these threads of ideas connected to various cultural fields. “Deferred action”, something Hal Foster identified as a major cultural model, describes the recurrence of references in contemporary art since the start of modernism. In this sense, meaning is constructed not in a linear way, but rather sequentially. Each of the installations presented here chronicles the persistence of some of these reiterative diagrams of meaning. At the same time, they allow us to muse on the way in which the recurrence of fundamental preoccupations can become themes in the history of art.


These three installations aim to augment the viewer’s perception of the immaterial and virtual origins of an object or environment. The show also tries to stimulate curiosity about the nature of the artistic object. Moreover, it poses the question of how conceptual art can shape the transformation of a quotidian object in time and space. It reveals the modus operandi of what is called the post- conceptual artistic object: the fact that it has an agency and the specific way in which it influences the viewer.


‘Documentation’ of the artistic object, a very important methodology in Conceptualism, is seen as a process that has the power to reveal the creative substance that the object has accumulated over time, and becomes obvious in each of the presented installations.


Marta Jecu


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© António Jorge Silva


21.11.2015 - 02.01.2016


Past Exhibitions