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04. velhos motivos III_2020.JPG

Gabriel Pessoto, velhos motivos III, 2020. crayon e lápis de cor sobre papel. detalhe. 

Canticle of the creatures
(Exposição coletiva "Canticle of the creatures", 2020. Plataforma OPENART Advisory)

If reposition and superposition are common processes in image history, Gabriel Pessoto embraces reference and image repositories (online and offline) as key aspects of his own practice. With this arsenal of images, Pessoto engages with the past to create simple, yet profound reproductions and reconfigurations of these images. Whilst inhabiting the same visual field and drawing techniques, suddenly cross stitch patterns share the same language as pixellead images, and renderings of the body find a common denominator across popular culture and religion.
This cross-history aspect of image making (and keeping) is also a crucial aspect of our last stop in Galatina’s rich churches history, the Basilica di Santa Catarina d’Alessandria.
The basilica is from a period long before the Baroque present in most of the architectural landscape of Galatina, here we go way back to the Romanesque period, built between 1369 and 1391 and on the bones of a Byzantine church (sec. IX) the location is a monument of memory and religion iconography.
Its walls are covered with frescos which contain all of the main biblical stories, from Genesis through to the Apocalypse. As well as this narrative device, the basilica also houses many temporal discourses that document the different stages of the passing of time, degradation and latterly restoration. Hidden amongst the frescos one can also find unclassified drawings at different stages of completion perhaps relating to more pastoral or seminal themes of the times.
This is an important aspect of this basilica’s history, and also to most historical buildings. In a process of restoring older images, the additional applications are included to maintain the same stories, although an image that is transposed, even if to remain the same, inevitably becomes something new. In Pessoto’s practice this negotiation of transitioning the same image is marked by the delicate materials selected by the artist. Often working with pencils, crayons and paper, in his series Old Motives images are manually reproduced and later cut into crochet patterns, finally the three drawings are completed as three mixed compositions.
Pessoto incorporates a key aspect of contemporary art, reference. Referencing is also a constant in religious imagery, where artwork’s reproductions are still remixed and reused, this use has expanded from the religious realm into the everyday in, for example, cross stitch patterns from 60’s magazines, where there is no distinction between original drawings of the time to Baroque motifs, Rococo flowers and Renaissance fonts, high and low culture together. All converging within the households of families across the Western world just to be now once again revised by Pessoto, in an unstoppable transmission and retransmission of images.

Brunno Silva
Setembro de 2020

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