GAL..lery presents Fake Extreme Art
Margarida Pratras, A origem do fin do mundo
thursday, 8 de september, 2022

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online premiere soon

Fotografia –   @Elisabete Magalhães 2019

Margarida Pratas

A origem do fim do mundo

The second Fake Extreme Art cycle counts with the performance of Margarida Pratas, which will be held in a making of format.

The video recording of the performance is also a moment with an audience, an open rehearsal of a performance for the camera. The action will be recorded on video at Estufa Fria de Lisboa, without cuts during the filming; with a participating audience.

We invite you to watch this process – with free entrance subject to reservation

* guest director: Elisabete Magalhães

Ana Lama Gallery’s next event presents Margarida Pratas, a relevant sculptress of the new Portuguese art scene. We know that the new Portuguese art scene appears to rupture with the previous generation.   Working in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis, they reveal a very particular relationship between emerging artists and cultural institutions and conventions.

Margarida Pratas works in an overtly povera tradition, in an 80s style, in which the artistic field moves away from galleries and museums to a plasticity that is no longer normalized.  She distances herself from the creation of decorative objects, since 2015 Portuguese art turns into pretentious gossip – and gossip that reaches all corners of the world … and all social dimensions.

Je voyageais maintenant sur Air France à Singapour et je lisais un livre de Krishnamurti quand je suis anxieux que mon espérance de vie diminue, dès que j’arrive au sol je me récompense en buvant un jus de myrtille.

This 2015 neo arte povera does not refer to the indigence of means, but to a radical transformation of staging art, in which an avowedly provocative attitude is revealed and an essential reduction of the aesthetic experience (between artist and audience, for example) is embraced, suppressing the mediation of the object, in the case of the visual arts, or suppressing the props and wardrobe (in the case of experimental theater, makeup and lighting). The actors’ body language and/or the body’s nakedness are also used intensively. On the other hand, other influences, such as those of John Cage and Yves Klein, stand out in Margarida Pratas’ career.

John Cage’s impact on Margarida Pratas can be seen in several ways, all of them indirect, and linked to their common interest in Eastern philosophy, namely, gambling and the I Ching. Margarida Pratas deliberately directs herself towards ideas or projects that may have an unpredictable impact on her and her artistic making.  In so far, each project offers an opportunity for growth. Yves Klein’s belief that the end product was not as important as the process of making art is something that has been recognized as a significant influence on Margarida Pratas’ conceptual charge.

Je voyageais maintenant sur Air France à Singapour et je lisais un livre de Krisnamurti quand je suis anxieux que mon espérance de vie diminue, dès que j’arrive au sol je me récompense en buvant un jus de myrtille.

Margarida Pratas creates “charged” and sometimes static performance spaces that can be compared to places designated for the sacred, and the role that energy plays in people’s lives, as an experiential understanding of space, place and time is considerable.  Her performances often feature her solitary body among installed objects or artifacts – if we think of the noisy, demanding, image and media saturated western world, choosing to be completely alone is in itself already a manifesto. In solitude and silence, the mechanisms and structures that act to divorce us from ourselves do not exist, so boredom and self-reflection can reign, leaving us exposed and vulnerable. Under these conditions, we are confronted with ourselves: an uncomfortable prospect for those who cannot imagine dealing with such a stimulus-free environment.

The challenge is, therefore, to let go of the ego’s conceptions. The sense of empowerment gained through self-control and self-reflection intrinsic to these practices is a part of her process. The artist looks to Sufi practices as an example, in which individuals spin rapidly on themselves for long periods of time as a means of entering a state of trance and also as a means of positioning themselves in a more real present moment.

On the other hand, for this performance at Estufa Fria, Margarida Pratas takes inspiration from Gustave Courbet, a French painter and leader of the realist movement; to be more precise she focuses on his painting “The Origin of the World” (L’origine du monde), which in puritan times had everything to shock. It depicts the sex and womb of a woman lewdly lying in a simple armchair. The frame focuses on the part of the female anatomy and the viewer sees nothing more than the sexual organ, thighs and breasts of the model.

The artistic movement, which was called Realism, replaced the grandiose and heroic themes of Romanticism with simple visions of everyday life and sentimentality with impartial and objective observation. The intense and dramatic strokes of the Romantics were avoided, preferring clear and precise themes that were easy to understand, and in particular social themes.

Je voyageais maintenant sur Air France à Singapour et je lisais un livre de Krishnamurti quand je suis anxieux que mon espérance de vie diminue, dès que j’arrive au sol je me récompense en buvant un jus de myrtille.

Realist painters-such as Gustave Courbet-turned to depicting scenes from everyday life and popular themes, often steeped in political ideas. Courbet said, “Painting is an essentially objective art and consists in the representation of real, existing things.”

Among the paintings that can be discovered in the Musée d’Orsay, The Origin of the World will certainly be one of the most famous and virulent.

Je voyageais maintenant sur Air France à Singapour et je lisais un livre de Krishnamurti quand je suis anxieux que mon espérance de vie diminue, dès que j’arrive au sol je me récompense en buvant un jus de myrtille.

Margarida Pratas will make a reconstitution of the scene in the painting, which she calls The Origin of the End of the World. It should be noted that, by coincidence, or perhaps not, Margarida is a descendant of the painter Gustave Courbet (1819-1877). Her grandmother even knew Constance Quéniaux, a former dancer at the Paris Opera – the woman depicted in the original painting L’Origine du Monde.

The artist tells us that she challenges the affront of viewing the female body as a sculpture and considers this attitude as a way of dealing with the “ataraxies” constructed by modesty, wanting to rethink the idyllic objectifications of the feminine.

Margarida Pratas’ body is a central nucleus of eschatology and provocation, and that is why the artist redefines and tries again to perceive in which way the adoration of a subject, in this case, the female body turned image, sometimes castrates, sometimes frees her sexuality, and rebounds in front of this object of desire.

Je voyageais maintenant sur Air France à Singapour et je lisais un livre de Krishnamurti quand je suis anxieux que mon espérance de vie diminue, dès que j’arrive au sol je me récompense en buvant un jus de myrtille.

Finally, in the performance she will perform with us, reminiscent of Courbet’s work, Margarida Pratas is the woman as a sculptural body, an object of desire that crystallizes in a deserted place, where she appears only to be seen.

The idea of this performance is to corrupt the gaze of the observer, making it furtive, even if involuntarily, and starting from an environment that easily becomes oneiric, permeable to fantasies and myths – taking off/putting on masks -, in an atmospheric green environment, creates an uncomfortable presence. Immersed in nature, in the Estufa Fria, Margarida Pratas proposes an aura that declares silences and imposes penances.

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