Art Projects International is pleased to present Here to There: Textile Drawings, a solo exhibition of eight large textile works by Portuguese artist Filipe Rocha da Silva on view from November 1 to December 15, 2018. This exhibition is the artist’s first major solo exhibition in the United States and includes two of his most recent textile works making their public debut. An opening reception will take place on Thursday, November 1, 2018, 6-8pm, at 434 Greenwich Street in Tribeca, New York City. The artist will be in attendance at the opening reception. A special walk-through with the artist will be held on Saturday, November 3 at 3pm.
Trained as a painter, Filipe Rocha da Silva has long been fascinated with patterns and draws thousands of tiny figures in rendered expanses. In his earlier paintings and drawings, the figures are simultaneously human and calligraphic markings standing in for the human. From a distance, the forms in the works solidify into modernist shapes — a stylized mound, a grid of colors — or figurative landscapes.
Since 2013, it is his labor-intensive "textile drawings" that depict similar patterns using solely the precise lines of wool thread borrowed from Arraiolos weaving. By using this specific technique, based on traditional secular weaving crafts common in Portugal, his new textile work blurs the conventional divisions between craft and fine art, and resists fixed boundaries. And by utilizing sewing and embroidery, time-consuming handmade practices not typically associated with male artists, his textile work prompts viewers to reconsider gender roles in art making.
In the textile works on view, the extremely small figures that populate his work have now become embroidered stitches. Instead of repeated geometric patterns customary in Portuguese traditional weaving, the works in the exhibition depict figurative out of focus landscapes or interiors conveyed by chaotic stitched movements. Much like pixelated digital imagery, the visibility is disturbed by the overlapping figures that occupy the works. Aggregate of Cork Trees (2018) and Fallen Tree (2016) like his earlier Fertility Landscape (2015) depict wild forest scenes, populated by tiny figures throughout, textured by the wool threads in all directions. As in his previous works, it is a world where the collective human presence is at times overwhelming, but nature persists and dominates. "The chosen landscape scenes do not correspond to classical ideas of a peaceful, idyllic and rural beauty, but display an excessive and chaotic nature, always struggling to fulfill every inch of available space" Rocha da Silva reflects.
The exhibition includes two of Rocha da Silva’s latest works — Room in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (2017) and Fragments of Textile from Prato (2018). Created since the artist’s move to Florence, Italy, in 2016, these two works from his Fragmented Culture series are inspired by his new surroundings and represent a new direction of fusing his personal and artistic history into his textile drawings. In his catalogue essay that accompanies this exhibition, Barry Nemett writes: “Centuries and continents of art history thread through Filipe’s work almost without our noticing… In his Room in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (2017), however, art history takes center stage, functioning as the literal subject. Here, art hangs salon-style in the corner of a museum gallery. Filipe is less interested in identifying any of the paintings than he is with the work’s overall atmosphere.”
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue with an essay by Barry Nemett.
November 1_December 15//2018
HERE TO THERE: TEXTILE DRAWINGS
Opening Reception: Thursday//November 1//6•8pm
Artist Talk: Saturday//November 3//3pm
"NEW COLLECTIVE EXHIBITION
AT NEW YORK'S ART PROJECTS INTERNATIONAL."
19 AGO//8 SET
FILIPE ROCHA DA SILVA
The University of Évora recently published a book titled “Ecology of the Image and the Media – Arts and Technology: Aesthetic practices”, edited by Claudia Giannetti. It included an article I had written, that the editor presented in her introduction as an “exploration of the post – life of painting”.
After the spread of photography in the nineteen hundreds, so many other mutations to image making occurred that during the next two centuries, it would have been very unlikely that innovative artists would still have continued to perform the same traditional gestures, of holding brushes, or modern imitations of those old fashioned sticks with animal hair attached , while smearing dirt onto a surface.
Surprisingly this is what continues to keep happening, sometimes with the enthusiastic support of the public.
My work as an artist is still deeply immersed in this painterly revelation.
Although in general terms I may still be considered a painter, during the last few years I have developed what might be considered a post –painting practice. This represents a return to pre - painting, when drawing had the primordial role.
In the exhibition in the Casa das Artes de Tavira on the 19 of August 2017 we will find different forms of traditional drawing, done with usual materials that mark a line or define a plan. We will also find drawings that are shaped by using less traditional materials such as wool thread borrowed from Arraiolos weaving. Instead of methodically forming regularly shaped geometric patterns customary in Portuguese traditional weaving, they depict a figurative out of focus landscape or interior, conveyed by chaotic stitched movements.
For me right now drawing represents, something that exists between the pre and the post painting periods, a hetero – painting, that attempts to find its soul by returning to its origins.
THIS IS THE CATALOGUE OF ROCHA DA SILVA'S LAST EXHIBITION IN 2016 AT FUNDAÇÃO ARPAD SZENES • VIEIRA DA SILVA.
To acquire it please contact Arte Ilimitada:
Calçada da Estrela, nr. 128 - Anexo A 1200-666 Lisboa
Telephone number: 00351.213954401
TEXT ABOUT THE LAST EXHIBITION
WORKS OF ART BY FILIPE ROCHA DA SILVA - FUNDAÇÃO ARPAD SZENES • VIEIRA DA SILVA (FOUNDATION IN LISBON)
The group of works of art by Filipe Rocha da Silva exhibited at Fundação Arpad Szenes -Vieira da Silva (Foundation in Lisbon) from the 24th of November to the 22nd of January with the support of Fundação EDP, the curatorship of José Manuel dos Santos and the programming of João Pinharanda and Marina Bairrão Ruivo, arose from this artist’s first textile drawing exhibited in New York in 2015 at Art Projects International’s gallery (Fertility Landscape).
Textile Drawing is the closest designation for this technology represented by works of art, some with a big surface and executed with materials, supports and traditional Arraiolos tapestry’s processes, besides other crafted textile manufactures. However, the author here dismisses the use of a stitch, in favour of a filling as or more obsessive and strenuous still totally irregular and spontaneous of the space, only obeying to the predetermined intention of the artist.
The continuous pattern composed by stylized human figures, employed by Rocha da Silva since the eighties, now exempts the use of a regular stitch, typical of common textile production. The main theme continues to be the representation of the human crowd which, physically or symbolically, manifests itself by running, both physically in the streets and squares, or through its tangled presence at the new digital mass communication means.
In this exhibition this crowd overlaps, occupies and disturbs the visibility of a secondary theme, idyllic images of nature (fertility images). Observed from far, however, nature may almost shake off the human omnipresence and recover its dominant presence, being the human occupation reduced to the category of a filter.
The wool or cotton threads are just that: threads. The majority of the works use stretching bars and are presented like traditional paintings, emphasizing, this way, its textural excess.
This form of artistic display, relatively recent in Rocha da Silva, meets the dilution of borders between the arts considered more noble, like painting and the ones that, until recently, were considered minor, from western expressions to the ones that come from other civilizations, from erudite art exhibited at museums to the underground one produced by amateurs, in homes or asylums.
Technical characteristics: The measure of the works varies between 200x300cm (the biggest) and 50 x 150cm (the smallest). Wool thread and cotton over burlap and wool canvas. 2016
Firenze, November 2016
I have just read a book written by David Hockney and Martin Gayford, called 'A History of Pictures'. Beautifully and deceptively simple, this highly intelligent work traces the history of western art's obsession with naturalism, leading to photography and the contemporary debate of 'what is real?'.
Filipe Rocha da Silva is an intellectual and thoughtful artist who has long interacted with this tradition, preferring the playful and irreverent games of mannerism to the solemnity of realistic classical works.
He has always been aware of the wider audience of humanity, talking to us through nano figures that have now become embroidery stitches. He has tried to combat the loneliness and elitism of the individual artist by attempting to talk to or engage a larger or global audience.
Why I have linked his work to the Hockney/Gayford book is because inside this publication are some simple practitioners messages that are key to observing any artist's work.
Over time Filipe has stopped referencing iconic works directly, and has instead simplified down to basic forms of colors and marks. Here, the conscious use of textiles and stitching stresses the fact that the mark and it's making is the message. In a digital global age the return to a factory of assistant sewers is a conscious, capricious choice of defiance. Hockney points out that artist's styles get looser with time and experience. This is exactly what Filipe has done. He has moved his marks and forms into a depth of abstraction and simplification that calls to mind the great last painterly works of Monet. The apparent simplicity of the master hides the extraordinary sophistication of his colors, marks and ideas.
I find one of the things Filipe said extremely helpful to understanding his development.He said 'What I tried to do was humanize pointillist paintings'. What he succeeded in doing was taking the pointillist tradition, in his case nanoism, into an abstraction that could be available and understood by a general or global public. This method of using a sewing 'factory' to create the colors and forms of his ideas goes beyond Alghiero Boetti, by developing a pictorial,painterly language that flows from a long tradition of iconic western art, with which Filipe has continuously interacted but with which he has always managed to maintain his 'radical freedom'.
These beautiful 'wool drawings’ that combine the simplicity of Portuguese folk art with a combination of a profound analysis of western art, are masterpieces of extreme aesthetic sophistication and appealing beauty.