ÂNGELA FERREIRA. REALISTIC MANIFESTO (GABO´S FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF CONSTRUCTIVIST PRACTICE)
The exhibition Realistic Manifesto by Ângela Ferreira brings to the fore the idea of recycling in a complex intertwined set of ways. In the first instance, the artist literally recycles machinery, furniture and architectural structures which hail from her own daily life movements, but which are no longer in good working order: wood workshop tools, home gas appliances, laboratory support table and burglar bars. Secondly, the works draw from her continuing study of the Russian constructivist art project and its utopic, avant-garde proposals for political art making in the early 20th century. In this instance the artist references the oeuvre of Naum Gabo (1890-1977), who searched for perfection in the three-dimensional study of time, space and line. The title of the exhibition borrows from his manifesto co-authored with Antoine Pevsner. The manifesto was read out at the opening of an exhibition with Gustav Klucis in Moscow on the 5th of August 1920, and distributed as a poster.Finally, the artist also draws from her own personal archive, by reprinting old portraits of herself wearing her sculptress’ attire – a worker’s jump suit. The photos were taken in the courtyard of the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town, circa 1980. She is seen enacting sign language with red plexiglass circles similar to the ones used in the new sculptures in this exhibition.
This series of works and the issues they point to: workers movements, gas supplies, geographic lines, revolutions, prisons and freedom began during a trip to Chile. A voyage to Punta Arenas in the Straights of Magalhães to investigate the legacy of the circumnavigation revealed the first moments of the recent political upheavals which led to a new Chilean constitution – shown here in the film Mas Pesado que o Céu (2021).
The exhibition will leave us with questions that point to today’s European geopolitics. What kind of political meaning can we draw from this new turn in assemblage-like abstract sculptures?