Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisboa
18.5 – 26.7.2020
In an exhibition dedicated to Florentine Renaissance drawing and its Iberian extensions, works either produced by or attributed to Baccio Bandinelli, Luca Cambiaso, Correggio, Pontormo and Francisco Venegas would always establish predictable ties between one another. However, the presence among this group of some works by Julião Sarmento has the effect of upsetting the balance of the temporal, thematic and stylistic sequences that we might establish between artists belonging to a common cultural and chronological background.
The exhibition enables us to open up unexpected paths, leading us in multiple directions between the past, present and future. It is not a question of discovering a genealogy, but rather of inventing (or possibly not even considering) one; it is not a question of closing the circle, but of opening it up indefinitely.
Research undertaken into the MNAA’s drawing collection has given primacy to the expression of the outlines over the patch, thus bringing us closer to the solutions to be found in the work of Sarmento, who has developed a long theory of linear images, of actions that are interrupted, suspended or paralysed in time, images that are available to be incorporated into open narratives.
Julião Sarmento’s works are not studies, they are finished works. By completely reversing the Renaissance rules, they present the non finito as finito. It is a question of choosing and fixing fragments in action (especially parts of female bodies) separating these from the whole to which they belong, and without the intention of ever using them to reconstruct a body. All this is done so that we can concentrate our attention on the erotic aspects of gestures and choreographic games played with objects (hands, arms, legs, …), as if we were looking (as voyeurs) at everyday rituals, individual performances that can function as models for the abstract behaviour of a dual humanity. It is as if we were conducting an analysis while also wishing to operate a synthesis.