Claire de Santa Coloma


This exhibition presents the result of a workshop during which each participant was given a gouge, a bundle and a linden beam of regular measurements with the aim of transforming it into a basic sculpture. This is at least what the application form stated. I conceived this workshop thinking that one week would be enough to carve so much wood. I also thought that the participants would have the same references as me when thinking about a “basic sculpture”. I even naively fantasized that I would end up showing ten “Brancusian” or “Hepworthian” versions and then I could play with all these “modern generic sculptures…”

But each participant had total freedom. Each one had a very concrete idea about what he or she wanted to do, and it hardly occurred to him or her to make any reference to modern sculpture. Finally, bombs, dicks, insinuating cuts, cavities, geometric shapes appeared. I had to resign myself to the fact that it is difficult to escape from producing a phallic sculpture, especially when the material given was already potentiating it. I had to resign myself above all to the fact that ten people come with ten individual thoughts.

One week was not enough to finish the sculptures, except for two or three cases, where participants demonstrated great rigor or produced works that did not require so much labour. I had to offer an extra week to finish, and some participants even took the sculptures home to work. There were bruises, back pains, and everything that involved carving wood by hand. But the biggest challenge was to transform a pre-existing regular form into another form of interest. That requires making decisions.

In this gallery we see ten sculptures, or ten rehearsals for a sculpture, or ten premieres. They are presented in a transversal line, with regular intervals, each one has a specific position, but they are all exposed with equal treatment. After all, this is the only thing I could control. I think the most interesting thing about this experiment is this: the experiment. Each participant had to learn to use tools, to respect the material, to be patient. Above all, each participant had to learn that a form is built, integrated, thought, and done while it is produced.

– Claire de Santa Coloma

The exhibition included works by Francisco Correia, Catarina Domingues, Débora Duarte Silva, Maria Forte, Antonia Gaeta, Rodrigo Gomes, Hugo Lami, Tiago Mendonça, Raquel Monteiro Soares and Francisco Soares.

read more
read less