Press Release of the Exhibition
'Out of a Singularity'
Jul 8th > Sep 11th 2010
According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe started as “singularity”, about 13.7 billion years ago.
Singularities are zones that challenge today’s knowledge of physics. It is thought that exists inside the nuclei of Black Holes, in which gravitational pressure may be so intense that finite matter is compressed into infinite density. These zones of infinite density are called “singularities”. This does not mean that the Big Bang is like a Black Hole; indeed, it is seen as something completely different, as a singularity extending through all space at a single instant, while a Black Hole is seen as a singularity extending through all time at a single point.
Our Universe is supposed to have started from something infinitely small, infinitely hot and infinitely dense – as a singularity.
Following on from research into landscape and perception of the space within the field of cosmology that he had started in The Great Curve (Espaço Chiado 8, Lisbon, 2009), where he presented works in sculpture, video and installation, in Out Of A Singularity the focus of Rui Toscano’s work is centred on drawing and painting.
Rui Toscano (1970) was born in Lisbon, where he lives and works. He studied Painting and Sculpture at AR.CO (Centre for Art and Communication) and at the FBAUL (University of Lisbon – School of Fine Arts). He has presented his work in galleries, museums and alternative spaces since 1993, in exhibitions such as Take Off, Galerie Krinzinger, Benger Fabrik, Bregenz, Austria (1997), 1, MACS (Serralves Contemporary Art Museum), Oporto, Portugal (2002) and Metaflux, 9. International Architecture Biennial, Arsenale, Venice, Italy (2004).
His work is represented in several public collections as Fundação de Serralves, Caixa Geral de Depósitos, FLAD (Fundação Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvimento), António Cachola, Madeira Corporate Services, PLMJ, Portugal Telecom, Fundación ARCO (Spain), Fundación Coca-Cola (Spain), MEIAC (Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporneo, Spain) and also in numerous private collections between Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Austria, Switzerland and USA.
Press Release of the Exhibition
T FOR TORNADO
May 23 > Jun 23rd
Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by Rui Toscano, the artist’s third one-man show at the gallery.
Titled T for Tornado, the selection of works on display result in a genealogy, not of replication, but of furtherance and reworking of the artist’s sculptural vocabulary, where he willingly experiments with the lexicon of minimalism to employ some of his hallmark materials: boomboxes, antennas and sound.
The video installation which lends its title to the exhibition, encountered on entering the gallery, clearly evokes the memory of one of the artist’s earlier sculptures, an elemental “self-portrait” from 1998, titled T. In this seminal piece, the letter T - the first to the artist’s last name - was shaped by borrowing one of minimalism’s forms: two large, black rectangular parallelepipeds. By calculating the sculpture to his exact height, Toscano seems to have been taking Michael Fried’s criticism of literalist, i.e., minimal art word for word. Toscano’s sculpture was intentionally anthropomorphic, it was hollow and foregrounded the space that both it and the viewer occupied; it persisted in time, coming from the fact that a radio, placed in the top horizontal section of the piece, emitted the artist’s deadpan delivery of the letter T at intervals of 14 seconds, slowly yielding a presence, rather than the modernist presentness.
T for Tornado, one of the exhibition’s central pieces, exhorts viewer complicity: the memory of the aforementioned piece, but also our capacity to stand in an indeterminate, open-ended and unexacting relation to the projection. The video presents two intersecting images of the artist rotating, one forming a vertical line, the other a horizontal line, which together form the shape of a T. In this piece, Toscano places the loop at the centre of the work’s structure, the endless repetition of a same action that ultimately results in a sense of stasis. Two rhythms punctuate the piece: one of acceleration, where the artist’s image becomes increasingly indistinct, one of deceleration, where the stiff figure progressively returns to view. The work thus uses circular motion that is without a destination, having no beginning or end, no narrative, no apparent outcome or telos. Like his sculpture, this video “occupies” physical space and involves the viewer in its ceaseless circularity, inducing what some may feel as a hypnotic, disconcerting effect.
The show includes Light Corner, 2006, an installation comprised of 9 boom boxes assembled in three lines from a right-angle corner, where each radio plays a tape recorded with the sound of matches being lit, and Wave Field, 2007, a sculpture comprised of various antennas, constructed, as always, as a tautology. A selection of drawings by the artist can be viewed on request.
Press Release of the Exhibition
November 25 to January 8 2004
Wednesday, November 24, 10 p.m.
'The Exorcist' brings together a new series of drawings and sculpture by Rui Toscano, as well as the video 'Lisbon Calling', the exhibition's centrepiece, which was produced and presented for the first time at the 9 th edition of the Venice Architecture Biennial.
The exhibition opens with the video projection of Toscano's rendering of Lisbon with interlinked, animated drawings, made from fragmented photographs of the city, which he shapes to form a panoramic view. Unlike his predecessors, Toscano's panoramic endeavour transmits a feeling of disarray; something seems to escape one's view, contrary to the demiurgic feeling of rediscovered superiority that the commanding vantage-point of panoramas transmitted in the nineteenth century, placing viewers in a central position, thus enabling the illusion that they were masters of the world. Historically, the panorama served to calm one's sense of loss of bearing, the city was quietly arranged around the spectator who was thus able to re-appropriate his or her hometown. For then and now, cities have always transmitted man and woman a sense of being lost. Reactions to this loss of 'readability' in and of the urban space have been twofold: induction (for instance, Edgar Allan Poe's The Man of the People, which marked Baudelaire's flâneur) and panoramism.
Besides this sense of a loss of sight, the city became unsightly with the Industrial Revolution. Factories, with their billowing chimneys, made cities ugly places and the link between town and countryside was lost with the rapid expansion of suburbs. Despite the panorama's claim to objectivity and precision, panoramas idealised cities by highlighting green spaces within the city's walls. Walter Benjamin describes this in Paris, capitale du XIXe siècle: 'Panoramas are the expression of a new feeling about life. The citizen, whose supremacy over the countryside has been claimed a thousand times in the course of the century, has attempted to bring the countryside into the town. In panoramas, the town takes on the same dimensions as the landscape in much the same way as it does, though more subtly, for the flâneur.' (in 'The Individual in the Town: Compensation and Control', Comment, Bernard, The Panorama, Reaktion Books, London, 1999) Toscano's rendering, unlike the established paradigm of the panorama, does not play an atoning or compensatory role, but highlights the city as a space of flows, that is, the urbanism of globalisation.
Manuel Castells, in his work on the contemporary network society, distinguishes two broad spatial paradigms: the space of flows, previously mentioned with regards to Rui Toscano's work, which expresses the logic of late modernity, and the space of places, which expresses the bounded territories of lived spaces. Indeed, like most other cities, Lisbon also shifts ands vies between the two.
Here, the dominant factors that order the form of the city are 'globally connected and locally disconnected networks of information, capital and society. Urban space is socially differentiated, discontinuous, unstable. It is the urbanism of megalopolis, free trade, electronic communication and the consumer society' (in New Urbanism, Old Nature?, Swaffield, Simon). Nature is neither enclosed in gardens or parks, but is remnant, somewhere behind the scenes, in creeks, rivers, swamps and fragments that remain undeveloped.
Toscano's reference to William Friedkin's 'The Exorcist', i.e., the 360-degree head rotation, enforces the notion of the rundblick, the circular gaze, and observation. His radars symbolise power, order and control; nothing escapes surveillance. Toscano indeed had already dealt with the gaze in 'Infinity', an überblick of the Brazilian city of S. Paulo. His plethoric, resonant drawings of aeroplanes transmit and reinforce this obsessive gaze.
'The Exorcist' opens November 24 th at 10 p.m. The exhibition runs through January 8 th of 2005.
List of works:
'Lisbon Calling', 2004, video, pal, b/w, sound, 16', soundtrack by Rui Toscano and Rui Valério.
'Heading Left', 2004, panel comprised of 70 drawings (waterproof, light-resistant marker) on paper, 20 x 25 cm each.
'The Exorcist', 2004, video sculpture, 5'' LCD, 63 x 13 x 13 cm.