'Briefing Room', Manuel Caeiro

Artist: Manuel Caeiro
Dates: September 11th to October 25th, 2014
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Jorge Emanuel Espinho

In this exhibition the Portuguese artist Manuel Caeiro, a preeminent creator on the contemporary pictorial art scene, questions and extends the frontiers and origins of painting: its most traditional subjects and supports, its structural and formal limitations and its pragmatic and objectivised enclosing that are so often contained within the canvas itself. In Briefing Room it is painting itself that is the subject and object, form and content, canvas and structure, the initial and ultimate aim of a questioning and creative action, with the latter itself being simultaneously its own active agent and argument. In Caeiro’s words: “The subject is not underlying to the works, it is in the works. Here the subject is the work.”
In taking on a circular fragmentation which is representative of the artist’s process itself, and transversal to different supports and disciplines, this exhibition contains seven works that compose and reveal the several different steps in a creative, unique and particular course. We encounter a sketch painted directly onto the gallery wall, a chalk drawing on slate that is the draft for the outline of the whole exhibition, a sculpture that provides an embodiment for the elements dealt with in another work, which is also present, and now in three dimensions, as well as several paintings that are mutually shattered and deconstructed, in a sea of references and multiple meanings that are continuously reinforced and enriched.
This multiplicity reveals a programmatic, ambitious and liberating intentional urgency, here objectivised in a clear broadening of the creative and pictorial process itself.
Caeiro leads us to the discovery of the origins and motivations, the deepest effects and the results, coincidences and the unfoldings of a methodology that is sui generis yet representative, sharing with us and debating its own origin, its impulses and its most intimate nature. And thus everything is transformed and unveiled: form in its most elevated content, plasticity in its greatest sense, the two-dimensional nature in a more profound sculpture — and deep down this is its most serious realization possible.
Caeiro does all this with us, in our presence, in a live process. With seriousness and ambition, he shares an extending of frontiers that previously were touching, but which here and now finally disappear and are fused together in prolific and multifaceted harmony. The landscape resulting from this multiplied and challenging approach is formed in an open field par excellence: now free of conditioning elements and formal limitations, necessary coherences or restrictions of order or discipline. And if on the one hand the self-reference and correlation habitual in his work are strongly explored and developed — thus emerging more broadened and strengthened — the artist also now states a new fluidity and organic quality, elements which are clearly enrichments in his course and respective work.


Manuel Caeiro was born in Évora, Portugal, in 1975. Of special note among his solo exhibitions are those held at the Palácio Vila Flor, Guimarães, Portugal, in the Lurixs Gallery, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (DownTown, 2009), in the Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporânea Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal (12 000 m2 dentro de um T0, 2011, Welcome to my Loft, 2007) and at the Portuguese National Museum of Natural History, Lisbon, Portugal (Casas da Caparica, 2005). In relation to his group exhibitions we may mention those held at the MACUF – Contemporary Art Museum, La Corunna, Spain, curated by Paulo Reis (Fiat Lux – Iluminación y Creación, 2010), at the Barrié de la Maza Foundation, La Coruña, Spain (La Colección, 2011), at the Modern Art Museum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, curated by Luiz Camillo Osorio and Marta Mestre (Terceira metade, 2011), at the Manuel de Brito Art Centre (À Volta do Papel, 2008) and at the Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporânea Gallery (Surrounding Matta-Clark, 2006). He is represented at the collections of the Culturgest, Lisbon, the PLMJ Foundation, Lisbon, and the Banco Sabadell, Barcelona, among others.