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Bartolomeu Santos

curated by Carolina Pelletier Fontes

08/09/2022 - 13/10/2022

“An oubliette is a place where you put people to forget about them, the labyrinth is full of them.”

Hoggle, from the movie Labyrinth (1986), by Jim Henson

From French origin, the verb oublier (to forget) triggers the idea around the title of the exhibition Oubliette. Referring to the film Labyrinth (1986) by Jim Henson, in which the plot develops from the story of Sarah (played by Jennifer Connelly) and the quest for her younger brother in a labyrinth linked to a fantastic universe, we are introduced to an unpredictable scenario also related to the concept of forgetting. Sarah ends up being diverted to a supposedly irreversible part of the labyrinth, where people are put to permanently being forgotten about.

With obnoxious characteristics, oubliettes are usually hostile places. However, there is the possibility of finding your way out - the oubliettes retain a light hidden in their darkness.

The current exhibition at the new space OSTRA is built through a similar narrative. With premises that approach the act of forgetting and revisiting as a starting point, Bartolomeu showcases a body of work developed throughout the past year with a component that aims to improve the visual language developed by the artist so far. Obliterating what we know, we are invited to engage with a set of artworks that transcend bidimensionality and deepen the techniques of painting, sculpture and textile.

In Oubliette, the action of forgetting is materialised in a concrete way, where we are given the chance to experience a dichotomy at first. Through works of different scales composed of a spongy material (however protected) these objects suggest themselves an invariable and organic perimeter. Contrasting to that, Desmancha I and II are located on the opposite wall to the entrance, this time two artworks with independent characteristics from the previous ones. Evidencing a diversified practice, these create a dialogue with the whole through their formal characteristics which identify their individuality.

In order to experience the fusion of these two visual moments for the first time, the final set of works on display intends, through mechanisms of perception, to create its own allusion to a place like the oubliette - where the reach of freedom ultimately depends on the spectator and the conscience he has of its surrounding. With the suggestion of the memory reconfiguration metaphor, it is through the reception of different stimulations that are inherent to the artworks that we are allowed to create our own path to achieve the “liberation from the oblivion”.

Carolina Pelletier Fontes

September 2022

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