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That Obscure Object of Desire

Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel: Galeria + Carpintaria, São Paulo & Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
March 17, 2018 – April 28, 2018

Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel presents That Obscure Object of Desire, a group show conceived by Philip Larratt-Smith, which takes place simultaneously at the venues Galeria (São Paulo) and Carpintaria (Rio de Janeiro).

In keeping with this paired concept, the opening reception took place at Carpintaria on March 17, with a second event held at Galeria on April 9. The exhibition catalog was launched in this later event. That Obscure Object of Desire is open to the public from March 17 to April 28, 2018, in both venues.

That Obscure Object of Desire explores the intersections between abstraction, perception, desire, and memory through the work of eight artists who share an interest in the morphology of desire: Miroslaw Balka, Tacita Dean, Iran do Espírito Santo, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Douglas Gordon, Roni Horn, Rivane Neuenschwander, Wolfgang Tillmans. Desire breeds an unfocused anxiety, which is no less powerful for lacking a specific object. Sometimes we do not know what we want. Sometimes what we want is unstable and changing, or opaque and elliptical, like a shape that hovers at the edge of one’s field of vision without ever fully coming into focus. Tenuous affinities and minimal differences become all important. Doubt and ambiguity are the coins of the realm.

The exhibition takes its title from Luis Buñuel’s 1977 film of the same name, in which the middle-aged protagonist is repeatedly seduced, frustrated, and abandoned by a mysterious and unpredictable woman. The female lead is played by two actresses of contrasting appearances and temperaments. The sudden slippage between them in alternate scenes serves to reinforce the protagonist’s ambivalence and confusion. My proposal is to take this poetic conceit as the organizing device of the project by staging concurrent exhibitions in the São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro galleries. In this way, like many of the works in the checklist, the exhibition itself, as a curatorial work, will become a paired form. It will be impossible to see the entire exhibition at once, just as there is something in the woman’s nature, the object of desire, that forever eludes the protagonist’s grasp.

Philip Larratt-Smith


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