Rui Chafes. Burning

21 Jan — 18 Mar 2017 at Filomena Soares Gallery in Lisbon, Portugal

Rui Chafes, Burning. Courtesy of Galeria Filomena Soares
Rui Chafes, Burning. Courtesy of Galeria Filomena Soares
8 JAN 2017

Galeria Filomena Soares has the pleasure to present the most recent works by Rui Chafes (Lisbon, 1966). The exhibition Burning will open on the 12th of January 2017, at 21h30, and will be on view until the 18th of March 2017.

The show presents a series of 25 sculptures, of which 14 have been created in iron and are entitled Burning; the remaining 11 sculptures, named This is how it starts, are cast in bronze.

Regarding the new works, the artists has written: “I search for a place, dark and empty, where words are not necessary. There, where you and I are still not present, you talk to me in a way that only makes sense to us. With your mute voice, you tell me that I want to go where I cannot. You ask me to let you go, but I believe you want to stay.

I see you going away, slowly, knowing that we will meet again, in another place, perhaps another time. Your hand no longer has the strength to reach for mine. Wait for me, I tell you. I think you can’t hear me anymore.

Each day, I come near to this place, but I can’t see it clearly yet. I always look on your face, soft and almost absent, for the way you want to show me. Maybe this place is but a word. Maybe it is but a farewell word.

With every hour that passes, I feel farther away from that unfinished cathedral which are the bones underneath your skin, your skull, the somber circles of your eyes so far away from mine. You sleep in the distance, in a growing silence. You slowly say goodbye, irreversibly. Day after day, you grow more distant and all becomes dark and cold.

I constantly make an effort to plant a forest inside your cathedral. I would like to see it flourish, occupying the entire space and giving it form, reaching solemnly for the sky so it lights up and makes the stars bloom.

When, finally, the delicate and fragile thread of foam that still unites us, bursts and you decide to leave, the grey and sad dust that surrounded us starts to settle, revealing the solitary silhouettes of the trees that rise up between your ruins.

Life is combustion, and we are always left with what remains after a permanent fire. “You are no longer you”, we say in that moment.

The place is in me. The sky is in you”.

The exhibition Burning is open to the public and can be visited from Tuesdays to Saturdays, from 10hr to 20hr, at Galeria Filomena Soares, Rua da Manutenção 80, 1900-321, Lisbon, Portugal.

Rui Chafes was born in 1966 in Lisbon, Portugal, where he currently lives and works. In 1989, he graduated in Sculpture from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Lisbon. Between 1990 and 1992, he studied with Gerhard Merz at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Germany. During his stay he translated the Novalis Fragments from German into Portuguese.

Since the mid-eighties, he has been presented in exhibitions, including numerous shows in Portugal and abroad, as well as having represented Portugal at the 46th Venice Biennial (in 1995, with José Pedro Croft and Pedro Cabrita Reis) and the 26th São Paulo Biennial (in 2004, in a joint project with Vera Mantero). In 2013 he was invited to exhibit along with other international artists at the Pavilion of the Republic of Cuba in the 55th Venice Biennial.

In Portugal, he has had solo shows at various renowned institutions, such as the Centro de Arte Moderna da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Museu de Serralves (with Pedro Costa), and the Museu Colecção Berardo (with Orla Barry), Centro Cultural de Belém, Sintra and Palácio Nacional da Pena. Abroad he has presented solo shows at institutions such as S.M.A.K. (Ghent, Belgium), the Folkwang Museum (Essen, Germany), the Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center (Copenhagen, Denmark), the Fondazione Volume! (Rome, Italy), Fundação Eva Klabin (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) Fundación Luis Seoane (A Coruña, Espanha), Hara Museum, with Pedro Costa (Tokyo, Japão) e Museu de Arte Moderna (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Ilmin Museum of Art, with Pedro Costa (Seoul, South Korea) and took part in group exhibitions such as Inklusion / Exklusion, Steirischer Herbst, Graz, En la piel de toro, Museu Reina Sofia, Madrid, Sonsbeek 9, Arnhem, 7. Triennale der Kleinplastik, Stuttgart, Milano Europa 2000, Milano, Scultura Internazionale a la Mandria, Torino, Cardinales, MARCO-Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, Himmelschwer-Transformationen der Schwerkraft, Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Ad Absurdum (Energien des Absurden-von der Klassischen Moderne zur Gegenwart), Museum MARTA, Herford, Colossal!, Osnabrücker Land.

His work is included in several international collections such as the S.M.A.K. (Ghent, Belgium), the Folkwang Museum Essen (Germany), the Museum voor Moderne Kunst (Arnhem, Holland), the Esbjerg Kunstmuseum (Denmark), Museum Würth (Germany), Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisboa, Portugal), Museu de Serralves (Oporto, Portugal), Museu do Chiado (Lisboa, Portugal), Fundação Ellipse (Portugal), Fundação Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvimento (Portugal), Caixa Geral de Depósitos (Lisboa, Portugal), Centro Gallego de Arte Contemporaneo (Santiago de Compostela, Spain) and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid, Spain).

He has several permanent sculptures in public spaces in Portugal and abroad. In 2004, he received the Sculpture Prize Robert-Jacobsen from the Würth Foundation, Germany. Part of his activity is dedicated to writing, translating and publishing books that accompany his work on sculpture. In 2015 he received the Pessoa Prize. He has also written and published several editions on his sculptural work.