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Indepth Arts News:

"Pedro Cabrita Reis: True Gardens Number 6 (Graz)"
2008-02-02 until 2008-05-18
Kunsthaus Graz
Graz, , AT Austria

The demanding and dominant architecture of Kunsthaus Graz provokes a variety of exhibitions’ typologies and to a large extent it inspires the programming and a choice of artists whose artistic practice aims towards developing projects of site-specific and responsive to the given architecture character. The Kunsthaus’ upper floor (the so called Space01 with its monumentality and unusual geometry) constitutes a particular challenge for the artists’ imagination as well as for a curatorial practice. In 2004 Sol LeWitt with his impressive installation masterpiece of Wall (as an overwhelming artistic statement of a unique strength, conceived especially for the Kunsthaus Graz) articulated the potentiality of this space with an uttermost perfection.

The installation True Gardens #6 (Graz) by Portuguese artist, Pedro Cabrita Reis (born 1956, Lisbon) marks yet another bold and radical attempt at conquering and simultaneously taming this resistant and subversive space. Pedro Cabrita Reis is a master of cohabitation: his impressive oeuvre consists of architectural, sculptural and painterly body of work, woven of a fabric of the everyday life, commonplace surroundings, construction materials and architectural semantic appropriated from an existing reality and miraculously transformed into altars of an almost spiritual experience. Practicing his alchemy of the everyday, the artist turns the familiar into sublime, the trivial into a precious and valuable, achieving the noble levels of human perception, emotion and appreciation of the world.

Developed especially for the Kunsthaus Graz, Cabrita Reis’ True Gardens #6 (Graz) is the artist’s yet another chapter of an on-going project of exploring a micro-cosmos of primordial matters. The previous versions were realized in Le Crestet, Stockholm, Dijon, London and Benevento, and always they were entering in a particular extremely personal relationship with a given site and its exceptional genius loci. True Gardens #1 (Le Crestet), for instance, included a collection of mirrors, interrupted by two enameled panels and placed on a wooden platform in the Art Centre’s patio, thus generating a synergy between the natural environment and the application of industrial materials, while True Gardens #2 (Stockholm) and True Gardens #3 (Dijon) built up an inner landscape of light whose intensity conspired with the interior’s own volume thus producing a polyphonic spatial experience of omni-sensorial nature.

Pedro Cabrita Reis enters the almost neo-baroque upper floor of the Kunsthaus Graz with a particular modesty and humility: his True Gardens #6 (Graz) is a maze of light and glass, supported by wooden blocks and distributed regularly through the open curvilinear surface of Space01. As such, with its rigor of horizontality and flatness, it recalls a painterly tableau of possible narratives that performs both a harmony and a contrast, and acts simultaneously as a gesture of disagreement and embrace towards its hosting site and its dynamic geometry. The industrial materials (neon tubes, glass sheets, rough wooden modules, meters of electric wires) and the visible signs of working process turn the space into a massive construction site where mental and physical labors contribute to reveal a meaning and a mystery of the inner and outer worlds. Cabrita Reis’ performative installation radiates with the intensity of light, and the silence which mutates into an almost disquieting stillness generates a poetic dimension which transforms the space into a site of contemplation and a melancholic palace of spatial communion.

According to Cabrita Reis, gardens are geometry for nature. They express the artist’s utopian search for a clarity and order in a world dominated by aggressive discourses and superficial rhetoric. In such mythological shelter, a locus of truth resides: transparent, reflective, naked, a landscape of elemental passions and basic knowledge, a collection of emotions and assemblage of memories.

“I believe that in any artwork what is to be perceived is that very particular, brief and silent moment when one experiences intelligence, an absolute and total intelligence through which everything comes together ... Being a revelation of all our fears, art neither changes life nor explains death. Such magnificent inability to provide a destiny makes art different from science, religion and philosophy. As an attempt for meaning/sense, this might as well be (why not?) a search for beauty. I like to see my work as a part of this method of thinking...”

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