ANTÓNIO FILIPE

January 2013
Parkour, Avenida 211, Lisboa
TEXT BY

Column

 

The Parkour project, presented in Avenida 211, is based on a simple premise: bringing two artists together in conversation. António Bolota and Carla Filipe worked together on one of the editions of the project, at Bolota’s invitation, entitled António Filipe, a merging of both names. There are many potential connections between the two artists, but one would be enough in this case: they both immerse themselves in the world of work in a way that, perhaps for different reasons, becomes the centre of their activity.In the case of António Bolota, work and the effort associated with it – the Portuguese word for work, trabalho, shares an etymological root with tripalium, an instrument of torture – is inherent to artistic production. His work always lies at the boundary of what is feasible, of what can be achieved in terms of weight, mass or effort. And yet, the relationship with the spectator is never established in terms of effort, but in terms of phenomenological relationships, the perception of space, light, temperature or gravity.In a collaboration between these two artists, tension towards effort and production is almost inevitable. And yet the relationship is based on a very subtle aesthetic relationship: Carla Filipe covered part of the floor space (leaving a section free and safe for the viewer) with the traditional Offenbach blue soap, giving the floorboards the slippery satin colour and the clean smell that permeates memories of Portuguese childhood; António Bolota built a column from scrap pieces of glass, irregularly cut to roughly the same size, piled up as though sustaining the roof of the space. The column, that oddly became known as Carnivorous Plant, was simultaneously a decorative element, evoking its history as an architectural feature, reflective and bright, and a threat. Aided by the slippery covering on the soapy floor, the irregular edges of the column are as seductive as they are threatening, as aesthetic as they are moral.It is rare for a collaboration between two artists to materialise in such a simple idea, between the horizontal and the vertical, the satiny sheen and the sharpness, the possibility and the threat. And António Bolota could not have built any column other than one that, not serving any structural purpose, was dedicated purely to the aesthetics of his metaphor (and of the materiality of his sensitivity). Above all, one that showed off, in its discreet and contained way, the paradox that sustained it.