One Second Plan

In part, we could say that the very nature of painting presupposes images to which access always seems to be granted in a kind of half-way contract — the perception of the final image is consented to as long as one accepts the absence of the image that precedes it. Perhaps it is, in fact, a metric negotiation between the reaction of the blank space and the superimposition of layers that, more or less subtly, trigger the presence of different planes within a space governed and limited by tangible edges where the visual composition begins to appear.  One Second Plan, Teresa Murta’s (Lisbon, 1993) first exhibition at Galeria BRUNO MÚRIAS, thus disassembles itself as an essayistic exercise relating to the discipline of painting itself which, like an essay, does not wish to seek out and filter the eternal from the transitory, but rather to make the transitory eternal, and the particular transparent to universal categories [1] — naturally independent of the concepts of a first principle and an ultimate end.

There is a succession of formal characteristics in the works — which vary in large and small scale formats — that make it possible for a pictorial energy to appear that is both fleeting and languid, unfolding the intertwined images into double meanings and hidden corners in pure syntheses of abstractions and chromatic, volumetric and allegorical digressions, as the title of the exhibition suggests. One second plane — of action, composition, montage — or the sleepless moment of a one second plane. The motifs — let us call them apparent figures, events, landscapes — appear restless in their static condition, overwhelmed by the vertigo of a resolution that never concludes — a sleep that never deepens, a yawn that never leaves, a stretch without relief — as if discomfort were an inevitable impermanence whose contours we cannot grasp.  The apprehension of a gesture is quickly invaded by another movement, somehow preventing that image from closing and summoning a new trajectory for that same body, scale, detail that, crossed by another spectrum, remains in suspension, unharmed. Radiating traces of their passing, the images open up into images, springing up in echoes at each limit that coincides with the birth of another, ceasing only when they meet a vanishing point that dissipates into the sense of depth simulated by luminances and perspectives that escape the gaze.

Refraining from the temptation to decipher, one could say that these paintings are, despite their acrimony and distinction, objects of ineffable reading. If, on the one hand, they allow us to sense the relative weight of intention, enunciated and translated by all the images of memory, and the weight of desire, detached and mobilised by sensitivity; on the other hand, they annul and decontextualise any trace of even primary identification with regard to Ideas and concepts that necessarily exist insofar as they are innate. Therefore, they do not escape them and are not absent from them. The images are there, in transmutation and movement, governed by the force of composition, drawing and the complex formality they contain within themselves and at their pictorial core. The use of contrasting scales in itself determines the verification of an imbalance that we can intuitively discern in the conclusions of a first encounter with the interior of the painting, almost as if we had already accessed it before it reached this body (that of the painting).

The works rise up around the room like stained glass windows, milky portals, but with a rigorous visual acuity. The painting, like the essay, is united to the stripping away of expectation, to pure form, to the quantum of being before the unrestricted enigma of the image, as of the word.  Like it, it attributes ontological dignity to the result of abstraction, to the concept invariable in time, as opposed to the individual subsumed within it [2].

Eva Mendes

A Night-Piece

The sky is overcast
With a continuous cloud of texture close,
Heavy and wan, all whitened by the Moon,
Which through that veil is indistinctly seen,
A dull, contracted circle, yielding light
So feebly spread, that not a shadow falls, Chequering the ground — from rock, plant, tree, or tower. At length a pleasant instantaneous gleam
Startles the pensive traveller while he treads
His lonesome path, with unobserving eye
Bent earthwards; he looks up — the clouds are split Asunder, — and above his head he sees
The clear Moon, and the glory of the heavens. There, in a black-blue vault she sails along, Followed by multitudes of stars, that, small
And sharp, and bright, along the dark abyss
Drive as she drives: how fast they wheel away,
Yet vanish not! — the wind is in the tree,
But they are silent; — still they roll along Immeasurably distant; and the vault,
Built round by those white clouds, enormous clouds, Still deepens its unfathomable depth.
At length the Vision closes; and the mind,
Not undisturbed by the delight it feels,
Which slowly settles into peaceful calm,
Is left to muse upon the solemn scene.

William Wordsworth (1798)


[1] As developed by Theodor W. Adorno in “Notes on Literature I: The Essay as Form”, Editora 34, 2003.
[2] W. Adorno, Theodor, in “Notes on Literature I: The Essay as Form”, Editora 34, 2003, p.25.