The work of Pedro Calapez is a particularly pertinent demonstration of the way in which contemporary painting's vocation is in the act of being, and shows what it was once the painter's gaze. In Calapez's work we see a gaze in motion, albeit suspended in time and space, that encounters the gaze of the other – gazes in transit, gazes in collision.
The new works presented at Max Estrella Gallery reveal a set of concerns that are a constant feature in the artist´s work – spatial relationships and the landscape – but it is his concern with the ways of seeing that forms the main thread that runs through his work. His exercises in seeking and discovery reveal the existence of a pedagogy of seeing which, neither didactic nor playful, encourages an awareness of the possibilities of the gaze. The layout of the exhibition compels to movement which is declined constantly in contemplation and performance.
Since the start of his work as an artist, which has always been marked by the plasticity of color, Pedro Calapez has proposed visual equations in which the spatial relationships and different dimensions and possibilities of the field of vision have been constants. It is no mere coincidence that the landscape, which is always nature as it is seen, occupies a prominent place in the artist´s pictorial compositions. The work of Calapez serves almost as a mirror. As we gaze into it we recognize in the surface facing us the very same action that we are making at that moment: looking, a look that extends far beyond the biological function of seeing. We feel tempted to look for those earlier eyes that saw what we are now being shown. In seeing the amazement of our discovery reflected upon these surfaces, the notions of what is abstract and concrete become confused, so that we can discern a presence within the absence in the piece. This is another of the virtues of his work: it allows us to recognize abstract expressions in a concrete structure which unravel into a certain corporeity of abstraction.
Pedro Calapez (Lisbon, 1953) work has been shown in Venice and Sao Paulo Biennials, as well as international galleries and museums: Casa de la Cittá, Rome; Carré des Arts, Paris; Centre d’art contemporain, Marne-La-Vallée; INTERVAL-Raum fur Kunst & Kultur, Witten, Germany; Kunstmuseum Bonn; Centro Galego de Arte Contemporáneo (CGAC), Santiago de Compostela; Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo (MEIAC), Badajoz; Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (CAAC), Seville; Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró, Majorca; la Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon and Museu Serralves, Porto.
Pedro Calapez is represented in several public and private collections such as Museu Serralves, Porto; Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon; Fundaçao Luso Americana, Lisbon; Caja General de Depósitos, Lisbon; Chase Manhattan Bank N.A, New York; Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró, Majorca; Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo, Badajoz; Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela; Fundación Prosegur, Madrid; Fundación Coca-Cola, Madrid; MNCARS, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, and others.
Among the awards he has received are: Latin Union Prize in 1990; Premi de Disseny Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró, Majorca, 1995; Premi Ciutat de Palma, Majorca, 1999; Prémio de Pintura EDP-Arte, 2001; AICA Prize (International Association of Art Critics) and Premio Nacional de Arte Gráfico, Calcografía Nacional, Madrid, in 2005.
Recently his solo exhibition There is only drawing has been on show at Luis Seoane Foundation in La Coruña.