Pedro Barateiro: Backs and Covers

Pedro Barateiro: Backs and Covers




10:21 – 10:21


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Pedro Barateiro’s exhibition ‘Backs and Covers’ is open from 6 January until 27 February 2022.

It is also open on Wednesday, 5 January, at 6–8pm in the presence of the artist.

Very welcome!

Pedro Barateiro (Portugal, 1979) has been internationally active for some 15 years, but this is his first exhibition in Finland. His practice embodies a fundamental tension of the ‘information age’, between the inspiration we get from knowledge and our longing for the unknowable.

Barateiro is both a communicator/mediator/impersonator – notably in his frequent lecture-performances – and a studio artist of an almost classical modernist bent, with drawing, sculpture and painting on his repertoire.

It is not for nothing that cartoonish ‘data monsters’ populate his recent visual output, satirising the figure of the ‘entrepreneur’ (who might as well be the contemporary data-driven artist) while retaining a distinctly hand-drawn presence.

A similar creature appears in the animated films ‘Monologue for a Monster’ (2021, 6’50”) and ‘A Letter to You’ (2020, 10′): cerebral, disembodied, easily saddened by its own self-image. The monster as a figure of thought, both frightening and pitiable.

For Barateiro, artistic thinking is too important to be taken altogether seriously. The book covers from his imprint Duvida Press (2012–ongoing) look like they could have been advertised by some Canadian university on the cheaper pages of ‘The New York Review of Books’. But ‘duvida’ (with the stress on the first syllable) means ‘doubt’ in Portuguese, and we have reason to suspect that the titles and authors’ names is the only ‘real’ writing we are being offered here. Which, in the end, is perfectly enough for conveying ‘what the artist wanted to say’.

The series ‘Backs’ (2019, gouache on paper) shows, as it were, the other side of Barateiro’s being-in-the world as an artist, where the use of language is suspended and we are served refined but simple artistic gestures of figuration.

Portal’ (2022) is a custom-made photo wallpaper, based on an open-source library image of a young girl in front of a microphone. Through no fault of her own, she reminds us of a seminal text from 1999, ‘Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl’ by the Tiqqun collective of anonymous French philosophers.

‘The Young-Girl is not always young; more and more frequently, she is not even female’, they write. The ultimate form of merchandise is the living
spectacle of the Young-Girl as it is constantly being performed through the consumption of goods and, not least, information.

To meet health and safety regulations, we monitor the number of visitors in our space. We expect all visitors to wear face masks. If you feel ill, please visit us another time.

Wed 05 Jan 2022 Closed today


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Työpajankatu 2 B 3. fl
00580 Helsinki