Adriana Proganó


The exhibition BAD BEHAVIUOUOR by Adriana Proganó, on view at the Boavista Gallery, offers visitors a critical immersion in the world of painting and art, exploring uncontrolled behaviour, showcasing impulses and human freedom of action, and deconstructing canons and artistic practice. The artist presents several oil paintings on canvas, which are installed in an original manner employing a number of decorative elements and props, including a carpet and a staircase, which lend the exhibition the feel of an installation.

In her paintings, as well as in her approach to deal with space in painting, Adriana Proganó explores the extent to which bodies and emotions are elastic, testing the limits of artificiality and in a certain sense breaking away from the sensation monotony in cultural production. The meaning of each of the works and situations on display, reactions to the idea of an orderly world as an incomprehensible place, emerges from an apparently naive consideration of a number of contemporary dilemmas, questioning the patterns, frameworks and rules to which we are subtly subjected. We are faced with the non-normative side of existence, a universe in which sexuality and impulses are exhibited without restriction. Her paintings are inhabited by figures – perhaps self-portraits – in positions which appear unusual or unconventional, often with their legs open and skirts raised, challenging social scruples and conventions.

Drawing on the absurd, Adriana Proganó constantly juggles and articulates stereotypes and powerful clichés which reappear in society in a mechanical, circular manner, critiquing the role of women and the ‘good behaviour’ that is expected from them: the grotesque and meaningless context, in which we live without real freedom. Thus the artist disrupts ideological representations of the world using satirical, fantastical, hilarious figurations and pictorial expressions.

More than 100 years ago, Hugo Ball, author of the 1916 Dada Manifesto and founder of Cabaret Voltaire, said: “In an age like ours, when people are assaulted daily by the most monstrous things without being able to keep account of their impressions, aesthetic production becomes a prescribed course. But all living art will be irrational, primitive, complex: it will speak a secret language and leave behind documents not of edification but of paradox” (Diary, Hugo Ball, 25 November 1915).

Adriana Proganó’ artistic and visual universe is inhabited by latent and explicit emotions which daringly express and give substance to the idea of pleasure, irony, joy, desire, courage and despair. The narrative ambiguity of these works derives from the artist’s eagerness to explore the inherent contradictions involved in modern-day identity construction, fighting the principle of ‘good behaviour’ and the rigidity of social conventions. Ranging from the utterly banal to the ‘absurd’, these works seek to challenge the meaning of everyday existence, amid the incomprehensible and the paradoxical, countering linearity, established rules, deeply rooted norms and modes of use, and exposing the conceptual fragility of rules. Proganó demands a different dimension for art as well as existence, in which neither time nor space are defined. In her paintings, we could say, “everything is moving, everything is alive, everything stirs, everything collides. Everything comes together. Abstractions themselves appear disarranged and saturated with sweat. Nothing remains still. Nothing can be isolated. Everything is activity, concentrated activity, form’’ (Blaise Cendrars, Moravagine).

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Public Programme

Blá, Blá, Blá…
Eduardo Ferreira
Boavista Gallery


With text by
Bad Behaviuouor
Sara Antónia Matos e Pedro Faro, Lígia Afonso