REVIEW Diogo Pimentão Drawn Towards

Review of Exhibition Drawn Towards Diogo Pimentao at Kentler International Drawing Space, NY

Kentler International Drawing Space
Nov 9th - Dec 16th , 2018

It was a rainy Friday in NY. The type of day you don’t particularly feel inclined to go to places such as Red Hook. However, the solo show of the thought-provoking-London-based-Portuguese-artist, Diogo Pimentão, seemed compelling enough. I was welcomed into the Kentler International Drawing Space by a composition of works from their flatfiles, along with two signature pieces by Pimentão. That felt like a good start.

Right in the entry room, metal looking beams of paper were side by side with their inspirational material: an actual piece of sheet metal. The idea of what is real and what is illusion, a recurrent theme in arts, struck me immediately, along with a mood for dialogue. The presence of exposed structural elements proved to be suitable, not only for construction, but also deconstruction. A process I consciously felt many times that evening.

Going into the main room, the white cube gallery set up transported me directly to a vault of precious lost objects from another civilization. As if each element carried so much potential that we could perceive it without necessarily recognizing what they were. There was definitely a suspension of time, but paradoxically a great potential for m o v e m e n t.

All works were somehow in dialogue, co-dependently positioned as elements of a system.

The artwork at the back wall, dramatically illuminated, acted like a vertical horizon in that system, if that existed. A line of connection between loose uneven pieces, defined a vertical ax that restituted them into what they never were. A poetic, somehow sacred, wabi-sabi meets main altar, that I suspect matches the artist's height. 

The gallery floor is itself, an assemblage of metal planks, on which Pimentão displayed his work, Wall Drawing (Notes), 2018. Constituted by fragments of scraped paint from the artist’s studio wall that he, once again, organized into something it never was. This time he used a square, instead of a line to contain the fragments.  I wonder how different this entire system would be if Pimentão had contained those fragments on the floor with a circle; or a triangle. The potency of that thought makes me smile. That square, whose sides were not parallel to the gallery walls, immediately divided the space into two mirrored sections with no need of a wall. A window on the floor. It implied a sense of  m o v e m e n t. 

Excerpts from Pimentao’s children's school notebooks escaped from the materiality of his handmade rocks displayed on the wall. In a similar way, words emerged from works shaped as slates that shared the same wall, but positioned in the opposite section of the gallery.  In both cases, the emerging words made me wonder what was hidden, submerged in the wordless works positioned on the side. That reflection imprinted a vivid exchange to both group of works. A recurring latent sense of  m o v e m e n t.

The opposed wall of the gallery had a single concrete organic handmade artwork. Half of its surface was of raw concrete and half finished in graphite, as were the handmade rocks that carried words facing it. The only rounded element in the show.

The main room also presented installation Wait (way). Two beam shaped elements (paper and graphite) hung from the ceiling drawing lines in space.They were touching the wall and floor in a grounding gesture. This installation bore a load-carrying aspect and conveyed a sense of weight that we immediately dismissed, knowing this was a drawing gallery and not a construction site. Their hollowness triggered a doubt of how dense other presented artworks were. They were kept into position with the help of steel cables. Other architectural elements were also steadily suspended in the gallery ceiling. In that composition of hung materials, Pimentão’s beams seemed stable but also prone for deflection by forces comprised in his artwork system. 

On the opening night, Pimentão offered a performance to New Yorkers who reached Red Hook. Please check my 1’ partial video of it.

A sample of what happened at the Kentler International Drawing Space: Diogo Pimentão experimented, explored and expanded (expression stolen from Kentler’s Gallery mission statement) and so did we.

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