The ONION Project (with Miguel Domingues)
The onion looks as if it has no roots
An onion is layer upon layer of geometry
Layers of Touch - Eye shadow
The onion is a membrane
The head shape is onion
It often smokes - dust
Without onion - hardly any taste
I see the melancholy around
Shimmering, we emulate what has no core
Yet we loved the window impressions
light and the patience of the passing time
The one who speaks poetically makes no assertions
identity shall be like an onion
Like an idea that conk out
after all the layers have fallen away
just dried layers
It’s a clothing
only in my shelter
there I will have a roof
and my wicket“
Tecto na montanha, from the album Cantares do Andarilho (1968),
by José Afonso.
The spatial distribution of this exhibition is the first trace of dialogue between the creative processes of the two artists, Diana Barbosa Gil (1990, Cali – Colombia) and Miguel António Domingues (1982, Lisbon – Portugal).
Two important factors to consider for this exhibition to take place: the geographical (dis)location of both artists and the fact they share a studio. Diana Barbosa Gil studied at the Universität für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna, and Miguel António Domingues, at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts, in Brussels. Both artists cross paths in Lisbon and through working in the same space they started materialising this exhibition. From the distinct artistic practices of sculpture (DGB) and drawing (MAD), the artists’ works schematise the space, play with scale(s), and suggest a plausible „artistic contagion“.
DGB‘s sculptures incite us to look closely, from the floor, the ceiling, the wall, and at the tension between the materials that physically connect them. Some pieces are hanged and stretched, hooked on fishing material, ornamented with accessories or mass-produced goods from China. Subversive ceramics emerge from the floor, manipulated, and adorned – sometimes with haute couture fabrics, sometimes with moulds of religious anatomy. A clear example of this unusual fusion of materials is the living sculpture „Cactus Trust“ (2021) – composed of plaster, latex, wax, sewing thread and a cactus. Living because it was reborn, bursting out of its structure, to continue its evolutionary state and natural growth. Boldness, effervescence, and improvisation are elements to consider in DGB‘s work.
We adjust the focus and move on to a different scale: drawing as thought and action. Here, drawing is expressed through the performativity and subtlety of the gestures that define the three-dimensionality of these works. The surfaces used by MAD – paper, wall, or cardboard – are the first evidence of actions such as stretching, laying, creasing, or perforating. Among this combination of gestures, two of them sharpen our perception because they are antagonistic: the laying and the perforation. The laying out of paper in the space, and of the pigment on the paper, gives it, by force of gravity, the gracefulness of the act of resting. On the other hand, the impetuous perforation of the blade on the wall, or the sharp point that touches the curvature of one of the drawings, disturbs us and refers us to a latent tension between this series of gestures and materials. The relationship between gesture and three-dimensionality is equally evident in the geometrization of the large-scale drawings („X“) which are in permanent dialogue with the architecture of the space(s) they inhabit. These are some elements that allow us to uncover, understand and index some of the guiding principles of the bodies of work of both artists.
Despite this brief analysis and the artistic dialogue based on (dis)localised and shared space, several questions remain: what is the impact of these factors in the development of their artistic work, or on their definition of home and identity as catalysers of their work? What are the common artistic sensors between these works that influence each other and make us shed contemplative tears? Is this the cause-effect we feel when we open ourselves to the world (and to the onion)?
Tiago Peixoto Pereira
Exhibition view in Kunstverein Ve.Sch Diana Barbosa Gil & Miguel Domingues