Rehearsals: Vasco Araújo

11 Sep - 20 Nov 2021

Rehearsals, Vasco Araújo’s second exhibition at the gallery presents a new body of work made up of sculptures, photographic compositions and site-specific interventions which explores the tentative quality of a repetitive gesture as well as the places of enunciation and listening. This idea of rehearsal headed by the exhibition’s title unfolds throughout the works as a reiteration and gestural execution that is ordered, and at once subjective and collective. 

 

Entering the exhibition, we see an epistolary text based upon the writings of Félix Gonzalez-Torres running on the gallery’s headwall and skirting. The texts address the experimental and ephemeral nature of our shared existence and grieve how that permeates the spaces we inhabit, (its) memories and (our) imagination. The inescapable repetition of love and disappointment, imprinted in these letters, builds an epigraph of sorts for the experience of Araújo’s exhibition as it reverberates throughout the other works. 

 

The series Listening Machines is composed of sound, text and light sculptures inspired by the design of early reproduction and projection devices and lightning equipment. With this series, Araújo devises an interaction with the audience as it is called to listen/read and expected to reply. The challenge of question-answer fills these sound sculptures with the speculative dimension of rehearsal, in a way that calls for the questioning of the self and the other, while the light and text sculptures combine the methodic side of the concept through a play on words creating a string of order/counter-order or antagonistic actions. 

 

Mise en image, Studium and Punctum, series titled after Barthes’ concepts, uphold the central place of photography and text in Vasco Araújo’s practice. In the first group of dypthics the artist aims at the passage of time as it is corroborated by the private archive of small photographs taken at a photomaton, as by the images of a studio/atelier where the physical presence of someone is apparent by the ordering of actions and chronological time given by the texts. In the Studium series, we see images of a woman in different positions and from different angles, and lessons in what seems a dance studio all followed by a thread of actions and orders at the bottom. All three works resemble photographic proof sheets, objects in the making where the repetitious ordering of the bodies in rehearsal(s) emerge as a discernible exercise. Inversely, the eight sculptures in Punctum present discontinuous images captive of their production devices. These bring forth the (historical) time of the photographic image and the strangeness flickering behind what is out of our gaze. 

 

The body and its ornaments as displayed in these photo camera chassis’ are rendered into fragments in the white sculptures showing interlaced hands and feet made of acrylic resin. These sculptures crate a whole with the exhibition which “opens up a space of experimentation and freedom in my work” as Vasco Araújo states.