Paulo Lisboa, “Phosphora”

“(…)In the papers of Paulo Lisboa drawing emerges as a trace*, operating in the limit of an almost literal transference from stone to paper, molecule by molecule, as if it was an alchemy operation. At the end, graphite and schist are what we find resynthesized in that mineralised drawing surface.


(…)Yet in other drawings, the network of stone particles transferred to paper is regulated through subtle oscillations in intensity and tracing. The molecular blot then becomes drawing, torn by light lines, accruing from the reality of absence or minor intensity of the trace. Drawing and organising that sort of sidereal landscapes emerges from those light beams, such as with the light pieces that Paulo Lisboa produces from photographic and cinematographic media, and through derivative and reflective operations using those devices.


With great economy of operations and also in a quite precise medial space, the work of Paulo Lisboa thus experiments with, strict and systematically, a set of ambiguities and oscillations surrounding drawing. These ambiguities occur between the absolute absence of image and simulacrum, from blot to line, from an ethereal ambiguity to the saturated presence of matter. These oscillations and ambiguities keep his work in a disquieting mystery zone, but also, at the same time, in a laboratory territory, marked by very consistent experimentation and great discipline of the art gesture.


(…)The work of Paulo Lisboa does not obey a medial program but his operations, or modes of making art, do not abandon a meditation of matter and gesture, from which all cultural experience is made of. The earth’s materiality appears decomposed and resynthesized in his traced drawings, as the preview of a new (philosophers’) stone age and nature designing we are heading for. At the same time, the manipulation of old image modern machines and its light


phantasmagoria is converted in mechanical rumination of his own drawing. Each trace in Paulo Lisboa work retraces the mystery of the bond between gesture, matter and thought.”


Maria Teresa Cruz, “Operations and Mediations: Gesture, Matter and Thought in the Work of Paulo Lisboa” in O Resto e o Gesto: Desenhos para o Século XXI. Patrício, C. (org.) 2014. Colecção Cadernos do Côa nº 8. Fundação Côa Parque. ISBN: 978-989-98329-2-3


*“trace or line is the colour of a powdered mineral obtained when it is scratched against a plaque or a white porcelain fragment. This method is used to identify different mineral species. This analytical method consists in sliding, with vigour, an unknown sample over a white and hard surface, resulting in the production of powder traces with a characteristic coloration” (cf. Wikipedia)


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22.05.2015 - 31.07.2015


Past Exhibitions