Aires de Gameiro at EMERGE Project Space / Pescara

'FOMO' / Aires de Gameiro

22 September - 29 October, 2023

EMERGE Project Space
Via Tiburtina Valeria, 75
65128 Pescara, Italy 


Photo credit: Parallel Communication, Pierluigi Fabrizio and Giorgio Liddo
Images courtesy of the artist and EMERGE project space

If you want to be with someone you love, 

aren't you already there?

(R. Bach)

In ′′There's No Such Place As Far Away′′ author Richard Bach writes: Can miles really separate you from friends... If you want to be with someone you love, aren't you already there?

It is no coincidence that the artist Aires De Gameiro (Lisbon, 1989) chose this expression as the leitmotif of the exhibition and used the English acronym FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out - fear of being excluded) to visually translate an agitated moment, due to a major move from his hometown of Lisbon to Berlin: two cities at the antipodes, running the risk of losing contact with loved ones. 

A question arises: how much do the most authentic relationships matter with respect to a profession, that of the artist, for which one must get used to or at least be prepared for nomadic living? The art system is never stable but changeable whether you look at it from the point of view of the markets, or whether you refer to fashions, trends and no less the possibilities that the cities themselves have to offer, in terms of financial support , costs and quality of life.

Nomadism, bohemianism, egocentrism, have always accompanied the agitated profession of creation like black beasts. Indeed, the most romantic aspect, still valid today, despite the proliferation of means available to promote any artistic research, is that in the end an artist is nothing more than a solitary demiurge who somewhere continues his struggle with the world . A truly unequal struggle in which physical limits become the border field between an internal world and an external one, increasingly complex, dangerously unknown.

The risk of anomie is translated by the artist into the scenographic system that acts as an immersive backdrop to the exhibition. A forest of signs welcomes us, sensual and sinister. It is a tangle of natural forms and continuous strokes of Matisse's memory in which the artist seems to give order to chaos, through gradual subtractions until cancellation. A series of seamless wall paintings transforms and contextualises the exhibition itinerary, albeit in a discreet manner. Gameiro treats the walls like large sheets and intervenes on them with confident black traces that move agilely. The path continues clockwise to come to an end in what we can recognize as a large hand, closed to indicate that this is the exact point of an unspecified where. 

On the massive work, light and tout court, some works created during the period of residence insist almost by contrast. In these we begin to rediscover those colours typical of the artist's practice and conceive new forms, which want to represent but linger, suspended between figuration and synthesis. The colours, which in Gameiro's practice are a clear reference to the Atlantic-Mediterranean light, play with the decoration of the backdrops attempting acrobatic balances by juxtaposition of levels, to understand a tension made of clear contrasts and show the coexistence of a precarious whole. Each work is a memory, a formal reduction, a fragment.

The artist plays a fascinating balance of full and empty spaces. So here is a hug, a gesture, a portrait, made understandable if you also look at the missing, subtracted part. It almost seems as if these colourful works, whose shapes only vaguely resemble paintings, are hanging directly from the black tangles, like juicy fruits to be picked in a barren nature. Once again the comparison must be made with the artist's now acquired practice of contextualizing the environment in which the works exist, to the point that it is often difficult to understand where the scene ends and the iconic narrative begins. For Gameiro it is vital to act in that foggy area where painting, decoration and sculpture converge to give us the Gesamtkunstwerk. In this exhibition, for the first time, the environment and the works show us a clear friction with a new wave taste, the same that we can appreciate, for example, by observing the clear lines on the wall in relation to the forms in the works, made plastic for the first time through gradual passages of shade. For extremes: night and day, spring and autumn, life and death, the need to go and the need to return.

The circular development that we witness in the first gallery, in which the theme of the embrace is visually conveyed by the decorations around and certainly at least in a couple of works, is contrasted by the second and smaller room. Here the exhibition itinerary stops at the threshold with a clear break and a reversal of meaning. If in the main room we immerse ourselves in a messy Eden, it is in the second that we discover the light. Light that becomes a co-protagonist, irradiating the emptiness of the room with natural white and accompanying us in the vision of the work on display: a small wall sculpture. Floor, walls and lights frame the only work installed: a "nativity". Gameiro worked on the bas-relief by hand carving the wood and gradually reducing to the absolute the probable photograph that portrays him holding his newborn grandson.

This show takes the title of FOMO which by assonance could remind us of "Fado", the traditional Portuguese song that recounts themes of emigration, distance, pain and separation. So here we are at the deepest meaning of this exhibition. Although it is not the artist's intention to give a univocal explanation, we still want to venture that everything can be summed up in a "hug", which when you think about it is that universal gesture of affection towards the other. Of course the modes of expression, the distance, the perspective, the scales of size change, but if you look closely both rooms subtend the circular shape of an embrace, and it is precisely in that gesture that each of us is free to reconcile.

Text by Maurizio Vicerè