Obiustromos
14.01.2023
04.03.2023

MARCO FRANCO’s journey (Lisbon, 1972) can be seen as a Möbius [1] strip – a curved, infinite way, with two limits that in fact reveal themselves to be only one. As in an erratic chronology – where we always fall asleep and wake up on the same day – his work finds itself entering the door of rhythmic percussion to then trip us up when it leaves through the piano’s tail, in the same way as it descends the expanded stairs of drawing and climbs the edges of sculpture, culminating in a kind of non-orientable – circular, yet unpredictable – object/organism. Thus, in this meander, what emerges is the true reason for this fluid and long labour: the artist’s endless curiosity and rigorous research practice, which empties out all possibilities from the matter.

What sort of arrow split the sky and this rock?
It’s quivering, spreading like a peacock’s fan
Like the mist around the shaft and knot less feathers
Of a comet come to nest at midnight. [2]

Obiustromos is not a difficult word, although inexistent – it is the fictionalised name, in an almost pataphysical [3] gesture, by Marco Franco for his first solo show at the gallery, and arises from the need to name an aesthetic experience – concomitantly real and oneiric – whose reporting we will not fully disclosure, but to which we will return repeatedly through some encyclopaedic entries written by the artist himself.

  1. Momentary factual memory loss versus legitimate apprehension of the conscious function [4]

Weaved from this exceptional moment experienced by Franco, the exhibition presents two bodies of sculptural work of a hermaphrodite nature – which rest and glide silently through the exhibition space. Forms, colours, textures and plastic behaviours cohabit in them, and subsequently their formal rigour of enigmatic – and often abstract – quality confronts the organic perception that its strangeness may grant.

  1. Images, sounds or concrete thoughts that implode in unison [5]

The title of the show also gives its name to the first series of sculptures elevated over viroc structures. Modelled manually through a constant exercise between the forces of tension and lightness, the pink polyurethane plates (all of the same size) found by the artist reveal themselves as the ideal elastomer for the realization of these works – gathering in themselves faculties of mechanical resistance, hardness and chimerical flexibility to their internal complexity. They are, in turn, five light and playful objects, outcomes of a kind of aesthetic and intuitive proto-mathematics. There is an incessant discovery of arithmetic formulas within the isomorphic bodies that are applied and deconstructed throughout the creative process and that, finally, build unrecognizable, voluptuous beings-sculptures that seem simultaneously liquid and gaseous in their behaviour.

  1. Enigmatic paradigm of the function itself [6]

Windows titles the second body of work that levitates along the surrounding walls. These sculptures are also born from an unexpected material – the extremely thin aluminium of a shutter blade. More slender and vertical, these white works reveal bodies of extreme elegance and discretion, where it is often the movement through the space, or the lower light that falls on them, that causes subtle geometric shadows that suddenly make them evident. Again, it is the relentless game of exploration within material and form that reflects the logic of almost pure completion – that is, with no ultimate goal other than the balance between the forces of weight and physical gravity within the body, sometimes sinuous, sometimes sharp.  We could reflect on them, mainly on what their formal qualities can tell us about their conceptual perspective – are they models of aerospace landing strips, invisible trajectories of some being or machine, organisms, signposts, coordinates? On the opposite wall, a yellow window seems to point outwards and inwards from itself, and perhaps that is the only answer we get.

  1. Realistic, subjective or collective dysfunction or virtue [7]

The topological quality that initially describes Franco’s path thus also runs through the flow of his work, which proposes, briefly, a formal approach to structural and expressive effects through the manipulation of composition, colour, tone and transparency, where reason does not subsist to give order to experiences of chaos, but rather reveals itself in what exists – eyesight is insight [8]. In an anisotropic space [9], where all objects are subjected to his influence, it is the artist who, through his compositional efforts, balances what should or should not be repeated, over and over again within what is always a memoryless material.

  1. Pluri-exceptional retinal perception [10]

 

Eva Mendes

 

[1] A Möbius strip is a topological space obtained by gluing the two ends of a strip, after making half a turn in one of them. If, for instance, we were to walk along the “top” part of a Möbius strip, when we make a complete turn and arrive back at the starting point, we would, without realising it, be stopped at the “bottom” part. In the same way, if we were to walk along the outer edge of the tape, we would end up at the inner edge of the tape.
[2] Desnos, Robert. First stanza of the poem Cascade, in The Selected Poems of Robert Desnos, Ecco Press, 1991.
[3] Pataphysics is the science of imaginary solutions and the laws governing exceptions.
[4] Definition of Obiustromos by the artist.
[5] Idem.
[6] Idem.
[7] Idem.
[8] Arnheim, Rudolf, in Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye, p. 37, University of California Press, 1954.
[9] Ibidem.
[10] Definition of Obiustromos by the artist.

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