Espaço Camões da Livraria Sá da Costa
Opening: October 14, from 5 pm to 8 pm
Exhibition: October 15 to November 15 2021 | Monday to Friday, 2:30 pm – 7 pm
Praça Luís de Camões, 22, 4th floor, 1200-443 Lisbon
This exhibition presents a set of works, from the series Caves and Natural Sustainability, carried out between 2019 and 2021. With a vivid color palette and light variations, Sofia Leitão, using recycled materials and assemblage techniques, watercolor, acrylic, gouache, and Chinese ink on paper, masterfully explores shapes, reliefs, and textures, giving dynamics and three-dimensionality to her works.
Organized by Ocupart in partnership with Sá da Costa Arte, this exhibition can be visited until November 15, from Monday to Friday, from 2:30 pm to 7:00 pm, at Praça Luís de Camões, 22, 4th floor, 1200-243 Lisbon, or elsewhere time by appointment to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com.
By José Sousa Machado
The proliferation of visual signs, references, stimuli, materials used, positive techniques, artistic styles and genres perceptible in Sofia Leitão’s works, now exhibited at the Espaço Camões da Sá da Costa, are of such magnitude that, at a first glance, the viewer’s mind, eye and visual perception become confused, without understanding exactly where to start the exploratory navigation in this multifaceted artistic ocean. The very title of the exhibition – “Sustainability everyday” -, un-clutched and loose from these paintings(?), wall sculptures(? ), seems to lead us in this direction, adding new reading possibilities to this group of works when, in fact, it is through it that the initial visual novel is clarified, since the raw material that Sofia Leitão uses in her works is mostly composed by recycled materials, reused waste, refuse and rubbish of the consumer societies, test-pieces of her insatiable voracity – painted styrofoam, nets, wires, silver paper, woods, several granules. In fact, each of the exhibited works of art evolves from a successive meeting of stray materials that only have in common the blatant spoils of massive industrial production in its uncontrollable eagerness to search for more and more natural resources, gutting the planet. This specific topic in Sofia Leitão’s work confers it aesthetic and even ideological qualities that bring it closer to a territory widely explored by Arte Pobre. Also the articulation of the different materials painted on the support, offering us the illusion of following step by step the constructive process of each work and the way it has been acquiring autonomy in relation to the others, adds a performative character to these series, as if we were spectators not only of the finished work but also of its phased maturation and final revelation. This characteristic is unavoidably perceptible in the Installation that Sofia Leitão shows in one of the rooms of the ex-positive space; a three-dimensional piece that occupies the whole room, in which the perceptive novel we have spoken of is accentuated through the games of light and shadow, reinforced by the accompanying soundtrack.
But Sofia Leitão is above all a second-generation heiress of the Pop movement; right from the start, in the chosen themes that ambiguously slip into the advertising image, when she promotes idyllic destinations, paradisiacal places that provide us glimpses of happiness, pieces of eternity in drops; but, also, in the creative investment she denotes in the exploration of the superficial plasticity of the materials painted and glued on the support, like sensorial skin under which a sidereal emptiness roots.
The paradox and irony of this exhibition lies precisely in the artist’s use of the substantial poverty of the materials used to “offer” us the luxury of warm landscapes, with palm trees waving in the wind, artificial paradises in short. This insinuating and uncomfortable contradiction has similarities with the poetic ideology of some Brazilian concretist writers, namely Harold de Campos in his poem Luxo/Lixo or with another, Ferreira Gullar, in his very long poem entitled “Poema Sujo” (Dirty Poem).
Finally, just one more note on how the artist inscribes the three-dimensionality in her works: while the right side room of the Espaço Camões exhibits a series entitled “Grutas” (Caves), mostly composed of works with protruding recycled objects, painted and glued on the support, in the left side room Sofia Leitão grouped works that transport us to jars, flowers, natural environments, also drawn with the resource of cuts and tears in the support, letting the vacillating shadow of the drawings projected on the wall appear.
Sofia Leitão (b. 1971), was born in London where she studied art. He lives and works in Lisbon in his two studios. Plastic artist who works essentially with contemporary painting, Artist laureate in international painting awards, she has permanently held individual and collective exhibitions all over the world for over 27 years. His work is part of public and private collections. His work is marked by a high command of color, contrast, and texture, allied to the instigation of the sculptural sense of painting. Sofia has a unique way of introducing us to the world around her. His body of work is marked by the use of sustainable and recycled materials, approaching the concept of Arte Póvera from the 60s, where artists such as Michelangelo Pistoletto and Giuseppe Penone manifested themselves through the idea of bringing art closer to everyday life through materials used. Sofia Leitão is currently working on three-dimensional works and paintings inspired by Portuguese landscapes and industrial environments.