i n fi n i t i v o
As if to embrace time...
There’s such intense poetic drive to Mateu Velasco’s recent production, it seems to aim for the infinitive. Like those who reflect upon fundamental philosophical issues such as being and existing in the world, his works suggest dodging the peculiar sequential length of Chronos on behalf of Kairos’ indeterminacy of time. Instead of the entropic and linear finitude of time, Velasco seems to thus wish for the infinite experience of the timely moment, hence his target is quality over quantity. From a playful approach, his works flow through an oneiric, mnemonic and fictional vocabulary. And it's no accident he employs varied medium and supports when making them, including painting, drawing, and embroidery, on wood, fabric or ceramics, in addition to pliable cut-outs.
There’s undisputed virtuosity to Mateu’s drawing skills. The fugacity of his drawing strokes seem to reveal his mental agility in shapes and structures that are analogue to imaginal nuance multitudes. Observe how there’s no fluency of color or stroke to the embroidered line. Notice how there’s no promptness to the ceramic support. Of course an embroidered circle, for example, requires a multi-tangential line; any ceramics demand cooking time; and loose juxtaposed paper cut-outs, like formal hourglasses, depend on someone’s handling, and so on.
In his eagerness to reach an agreement between forthcoming and perennial, the artist resorts to a strategy of suspension to deal with time layers. Thus curbing his hands and imposing them inquiries, he moves towards the infinitive of things, events and creation.
There's an urge to his recent production for spacing, thinking, reflecting… and having the following question as a starting point: “which images do I recall?”.
In his early childhood memories, pigeons stand out, according to him. Be it their flying away as he approached them while running at the park, or the retreating under the closed window of the smoky room on Saturdays with the family. From those afternoons, the colored stones stored in the glass shelf, like an “unsolvable puzzle”, are powerful memories. But not just them.
There are also those dreams… “Oh! And they’re so plentiful”, says him, “I could barely wrap my fingers around them.” If “time and space expanded and retracted as fed by expectations”, it's no accident that, according to Mateu, the present is revealed as a kind of “lump in the throat which merges past and future.”
A welcome lump! Here presented as an exhibition collection that can make sense of the collective longing (of all of us) for a never coming day. After all, being hypnotized by the suspension of time within the imposed quarantine resulting from the pandemics, when this isolation moment ends, “which images will we recall?”
In our poetic fantasy, the recurrence of certain elements in Mateu Velasco’s images is similar to the intentional clue to the comprehension of worldly things. Not as being symbolic of facts, but as reasons for existential reinventions above all. In addition to the aforementioned pigeons, we refer to chairs, worldly objects, and the invariable “human” anonymity. Like many consumer objects, the chair, for example, denotes the desire for the delusional power of property. Plants, like sundials, express the vital cycle in the form of vase emptiness. The stone, an extreme symbol of time flow, is like an inertial guidance of creation.
However, regardless of things from Mateu's images actually being references to situations experienced by him or not, the real/mental liminality inherent to his work is a means of traversing to the infinitive. Traversal which, as poet Pessoa suggests, “if we don’t dare to do, we’ll have been standing (...) aside ourselves”…
Sonia Salcedo del Castillo
exhibition 24.08.2020 – 12.09.2020
curated by Sonia Salcedo del Castillo
curation assistant Rafael Peixoto
photography Felipe Diniz
press office Monica Villela
film Alessandra & Frederico