Rui Sanches opens exhibition Nada é Imutável [Nothing is unchanging]

Rui Sanches, artist and CIAC researcher, opens the exhibition “Nada é imutável” on October 09, at 10:00 p.m., at the Leal Rios Foundation, in Lisbon.

About the exhibition: Given the series of works by Rui Sanches appearing in the Leal Rios Foundation collection, and bearing in mind the exhibition that this institution is now dedicating to the artist, note should be taken of the already long career – about thirty years of work – of the abovementioned sculptor, who, starting off with painting, ended up dedicating himself to three-dimensional work. A transition that was imposed on him by the research he was doing then in the two dimensions of the canvas. From abstract and spatial painting he went on to construct three-dimensional works – using wood, above all else – in proposals where he moulded a close dialogue between regular geometric structures, of constructivist and cubist affiliation, installed in the real space and forging dynamic ties that also included the idea of randomness and uncertainty. If his initial source of inspiration was pictorial models of classical and baroque tendencies, it must be said that Rui Sanches has never been interested in cultivating direct metalanguages with a narrative emphasis, but rather in developing a predominantly abstract and mute work of stories, a work that places the focus on a new syntax of structural elements, setting aside the conventional plane of meaning. This is what he did – and still continues to do – drawing on multiplicity and fragment to target unity as a hypothesis. An open concept, which includes the possibility of variations, where the geometric is discovered in concert with the organic, as can be observed in this exhibition.

For the most part, the works on show here belong to the artist’s second phase, when his work with wood fundamentally leans toward plywood or multilaminated wood, in a slow execution process based on the cut of each plank, in the creation of geometric forms through vertical addition, by overlapping similar or dissimilar elements. The fragmented human form – either a body without ends or a prototypical and anonymous head – is also the subject of the artist’s research, using them to emphasise the possibility of symbolic and temporal relations that take place as much in the mind as in the inhabited space.

Drawing, on paper, a practice also cultivated by Rui Sanches, sometimes gives rise to the appearance of a sculpture, although it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes the drawing comes after the sculpture, or comes about independently of the three-dimensional work. Both paths are complementary, and drawing, in the immediacy of its execution carries with it a spatio-temporal emphasis that includes the concepts of evolution and dissolution, calling into question the persistence of forms and our ability to perceptually embrace them definitively. Nietzsche (in the philosopher’s book) already said the following: “There is no form in nature, because there is neither interior nor exterior. All art is created in the mirror of the eye.”

Text: Aurora García

About the artist: Portuguese sculptor born in 1954, in Lisbon. In 1974, he left medical school (while in his third year) and enrolled at Ar.Co (Centro de Arte e Comunicação Visual), where he attended the Introduction to Painting, Sculpture and Photography courses. In 1977 he set off for London, where he studied at Goldsmiths College, gaining a BA with honours in 1980. He then went to the United States of America where he enrolled at Yale University (New Haven) achieving a Master’s in Fine Arts, in sculpture. On his return to Portugal in 1982, Rui Sanches resumed the work begun in the United States a year earlier, and which at the time favoured materials of an industrial nature, used in daily life: plywood, glass, metal tubes, plasterboard, hinges, among others. In the mid 1980s, he was seen as one of the leading names of so-called postmodernism. His work referred to the history of art, using the paintings by David, Poussin and other artists as a reference, which he transposed to sculpture, in a process of deconstruction of one work, to rebuild another. In the 1990s, he began doing sculpture, with a process of accumulation of wood extracts (plywood and wood shavings), in a more organic quest. They are sculptures constructed from stratigraphies of wood shavings/chippings, in which each stratum successively serves as a mould for the stratum that immediately succeeds it in space and time. Thus, Sanches’ sculpture, often made from a clay model, eliminates the modernist idea of the artist as the author of the idea, rather than of physical practice. In this case, the artist is always the author of the work, understood as a whole. During the 1990s (1994-98) Rui Sanches was assistant director of the José de Azeredo Perdigão Modern Art Centre (CAMJAP).