Carolina Nitsch, New York
534 West 22nd Street
NY 10011 New York
artist / participant
Julião Sarmento - UNDISCLOSED
September 12, 2019 - November 16, 2019
Opening Sept. 12, 6-8pm
Carolina Nitsch Project Room is pleased to present an exhibition of new sculpture projects by Julião Sarmento. An opening reception with the artist will take place on September 12th coinciding with an artists’ book launch for Some Art Sites of Recent Historical Interest in America. This will be the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery.
Julião Sarmento’s work utilizes a variety of media, including film, video, sound, painting, sculpture and installations. His subject matter, often influenced by film and literature, circulates around issues of interpersonal relationships and tackles themes such as psychological interaction, sensuality, voyeurism and transgression. His paintings and sculptures present fragments of architecture and/or figuration that leave room for open ended interpretations suggesting a sense of disquiet and mystery rather than a specific narrative.
Sarmento’s sculpture, Undisclosed (2019), the title work from this exhibition, is a cloth covered cube which is concealing something that refuses to be revealed. This seemingly simple object could be hiding a physical object or even something conceptual, such as a trauma, a fear or some other unknown. It is not unlike Sarmento’s paintings, which are often partially or fully erased, revealing fragmented scenarios that evoke disconcerting, mysterious gestures and relationships.
The bronze sculpture, Seism (2018), references the fault line on which Portugal, the artist’s home country, rests. The last major earthquake in Portugal was 1755 and its looming inevitability is a national and personal apprehension. The artist remembers his father, who was terrified of earthquakes, sleeping with a glass of water on his bedside table; not to drink, but to look at the surface of the water to see if any ripples would form announcing something was shaking. It has been a compelling image to Sarmento since then and he has said that “it is a representation of someone, an idea, a concept, a feeling of anguish and fear.”
Julião Sarmento’s most recent sculpture, Joana and the Wall (2019), touches on themes of feminism, architecture and instability. A female figure, cast in bronze with a white patina and clothed in a black fabric dress, stands at the end edge of a long narrow concrete wall. While the viewer is readily aware of the figure’s precariousness, it is unclear whether the subject is also mindful of her position or if, rather, a sense of determination and defiance overrides any possibility of fear. The figure’s situation creates a variety of overlapping interpretations giving way to a drama of uncertainty.
Julião Sarmento was born in 1948 in Lisbon, Portugal, and lives and works in Estoril, Portugal. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the world over the past five decades. Sarmento represented Portugal at the 46th Venice Biennale (1997). He was included in Documenta 7 (1982) and Documenta 8 (1987), the Venice Biennale (1980 and 2001), and the São Paulo Biennale in 2002. His work is represented in many public and private collections in North and South America, Europe and Japan. Juliao Sarmento is represented by Sean Kelly, New York.