20 Jan – 27 Feb, 2021
Let us consider violently imposed phenomena, yet the ones that hold the elusive quality of transient images. Perhaps you, reader, think of impact zones – the clash of waves, the fireworks, the great windstorms, arsons, explosions, eruptions. They fill us with visual excitement, but they dissipate quickly. In the blink of an eye, they’re not the same – or even there anymore.
I believe Gabriel Botta’s first exhibition at Galeria Kogan Amaro speaks to us about these ephemeral actions that are about to reset or disarrange. His paintings are temporary snapshots, visual boundaries. Faced with them, nothing remains; it all fades away. “Confines”, the signifier that names the show, stands for “limit”, “frontier”, but also for the furthest unknown spot. As viewers, we contemplate these works like someone who meditates on the shore of a flowing river while watching the water transform everything it reaches.
We may acknowledge the attribute of impermanence as shared by a generation who grew up immersed in the web and the digital world, whose images are always temporary and, ironically, imperative. But, in addition to that, I suggest the acknowledgement of Botta’s bordering painting as based on the conception of inner and outer landscapes. Zoom in. Zoom out.
Outwardly, such pieces may be seen as fragments of landscapes, rugged terrains, deep oceans, remnants from outer space. They’re like an attempt to map a fascinating yet frightening unknown territory. Inwardly, in the opposite direction, they constitute cartographies of our attachments, intensities, emotions. One couldn’t ignore the expressive nature of these pictorial gestures: they are, first of all, evidence of a body in constant movement, a body that won’t stop printing itself onto the canvas.
Regarding gesture, Giorgio Agamben says that “once free from its voluntary relationship to a purpose, each body can, for the first time, explore, scan and show all the possibilities of which it is capable.” In that way, Botta’s painting can be read as a lesson on potential lives, on infinite gestures. His work speaks to us about the frail look of things within the world, but also about its drive for overtaking the surfaces.
The works featured in this confines, consequently won’t make for perfect portraits of reality, they’re not a reflection of the world. Au contraire, they blur our view, whisper secrets, outline conundrums. They arise the enduring feeling that one can’t really see, but only foresee, peek, glimpse. This borderline experience reminds me of Ismar Tirelli Neto’s poem I share hereunder: “I’ve been to the confines / I seize this chant to the confines / Now I’m back / Now I speak for the confines / What have the confines told you? / Now I’m back.” Thus, we acknowledge that inhabiting the margins is also broadening the borders. Maybe then it will be possible to embrace the foreign, the unknown that inhabits ourselves.
Gabriel Botta’s work is focused on image research through painting. Product Design and Fine Arts graduate of Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado – FAAP (2006-2012), Philosophy, Pedagogy and Aesthetics graduate of Conglomerado Atelier do Centro – C.A.C (2012-2019) and Painting and Videoart graduate of Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Laje – EAV (2011). Recent exhibitions featuring his work include Prêmio EDP nas Artes – 5th Edition, at Instituto Tomie Ohtake (2016), and the Aquisition Prize at the 42nd Salão de Arte de Ribeirão Preto – SARP, at Museu de Arte de Ribeirão Preto, same venue that hosted his first solo show (“9”) the following year.