Hugo Canoilas: 'Someone a long time ago, now.' Cooper Gallery, Dundee, UK
Image: Hugo Canoilas, Against the horrid fixity of everyday life, 2013, Action in the streets of Vienna. Courtesy of the artist and Workplace Gallery, UK
Someone a long time ago, now.
6 March - 10 April 2015
Preview: Thursday, 5 March, 5.30-7.30pm
Performance: Thursday, 5 March 2015, 6pm
Cooper Gallery is pleased to present the first major solo exhibition of Portuguese artist Hugo Canoilas in Scotland. Someone a long time ago, now.is a rich palette of visual and textual collisions between multiple collaged projections of paintings, photographs, drawings and writing, cast on each other and the architectural fabric of Cooper Gallery. Shown over two floors of the gallery the exhibition is a rare chance to engage in Canoilas' complex visual mediation of images.
Working in the light of popular aesthetics channeled through politics and ideas from philosophy and poetry, Canoilas' practice intertwines itself with art history and the evolution of art during the first period of Modernism. Drawing upon the thought of 20th century philosophers and writers including Derrida, Heidegger and Fernando Pessoa, the art and painting of Hugo Canoilas maintains a nuanced dialogue between abstraction and social realism. By focusing on painting as a material and metaphor Canoilas has found an intimate and visually seductive way to register the 'signals of the world', and a powerful means to sensitize ourselves to this world.
With Someone a long time ago, now. at Cooper Gallery, Canoilas' draws upon the metaphors of the window and the mirror to set in motion an interplay of two forces, one passive and affirmative, the other active and rational. The culmination of this play is an invitation from Canoilas to comic book artist Francisco Sousa Lobo to create a comic book that mirrors and examines his own practice. Set out to be an exhibition within an exhibition, the comic book I Like Your Art Much acts as a reflexive voice and a point of departure from which the entire exhibition evolves to mirror the artist's critical stance on the social and political histories of the contemporary.
Doubling the psychedelic qualities of Jackson Pollock's paintings, this exhibition seeks "an intensity in the way people understand". Beautifully stated by Fernando Pessoa, this 'understanding' consists in acknowledging that "we are multitudes in ourselves and with a little self subtraction, or little anthropophagic appetite, can become whoever". Immersed in a multitude of reflected and projected images, the architectural spaces of Cooper Gallery resonate with fragments and echoes of paintings, drawings and photographs, transfixed and transposed onto each other. Juxtaposed with Canoilas' volatile use of text and newspaper cuts, the exhibition inscribes itself as a gesture of light, paint and graphite.
Expanding the doubles and reflections embodied in Someone a long time ago, now., a final gesture underscoring Canoilas' interest on the 'multitudes in ourselves' is a live performance by the artist. In the guise of his alter ego Jeffrey, a 60-year-old hippie, Canoilas "will not explain but boost the relation between the exhibited works and their relation to the whole (social, political and artistic events), believing that the relation between art and the whole (all things) is the real matter of art."
Workplace Gallery is a contemporary art gallery run by artists.
Based in Gateshead UK, Workplace Gallery represents a portfolio of emerging and established artists through the gallery programme, curatorial projects and international art fairs.