Oracular Spectacular | Drawing and Animism
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Oracular Spectacular | Drawing and Animism
24 January to 12 April

Works by Daniel Barroca, Rui Chafes, Alexandre Conefrey, Mattia Denisse, Otelo Fabião, Jorge Feijão, Rui Moreira, Pedro A. H. Paixão, Gonçalo Pena, António Poppe, Paulo Serra, Thierry Simões
Curated by Nuno Faria com João Maria Gusmão e Pedro Paiva

Since immemorial times, drawing has incorporated the roles of showing, revealing, predicting, bringing invisible forces to the field of the visible, and registering, like a seismograph, energy variations and tiny changes or intensities in things and bodies - projecting that which doesn’t yet exist. Since the origin of humanity and in each person’s childhood, drawing has been a powerful tool that enables us to trace our inner identity, as living beings, and understand and integrate the dynamics of our surrounding environment. Drawing is simultaneously ecstatic and fusional, in direct correlation with the body. It is thus sometimes instinctual, without any reflective distance or intellectual structuring, that is in contact with the mind, as an instrument that sorts and classifies, describes and prescribes, projects and designates. The practice of drawing addressed within this exhibition is thus simultaneously broad and specific. Indeed, we have brought together a wide range of artists who use their work to define a diverse and to a certain extent unclassifiable set of proposals. In some cases their works go beyond the specific category of drawing, and, for example, take the form of an object or film.  However, the apparent idiosyncrasies of each of these artistic universes reveals a powerful common visionary impulse - an unprecedented capacity to produce visions. There are also some common characteristics within these artistic universes that should be identified. Firstly, the process is invariably more important than the result, Secondly, language is omnipresent and permanently undermined, questioned, reconfigured and fragmented. Thirdly, the energy carried by the figures or figurations always imposes itself above form - the very act of appearing and emerging is more relevant than that which is represented. The title of the exhibition will be familiar to many as the title of an album by a well-known rock band. It is also somewhat mysterious in its formulation and terminology. We thereby seek to emphasise the divinatory or propitiatory nature of drawing, which on the one hand, is dependent upon speed, lightness and intuition, i.e. skills allied to the unconscious, and, on the other hand, to painstaking detail and the intricate identification and ordering that is arguably permitted by drawing. The challenge was therefore to reveal the specific manner in which, in a wide array of artistic universes, the moment before showing something, or before setting the form or figure, is processed and formulated. Ultimately, the objective is to enable the viewer to gain entry to the circle that defines the forbidden territory of the ritual, the sacred space and the secret of artistic practice in which drawing is involved. Oracular Spectacular conjures up and brings to life apparitions, ghosts, conjurations, occultations, temporal and semantic layers, formless bodies and bodyless forms, songs, prayers and meditations, the air and earth, human bodies, plants and animals, in the same plane of meaning.