When we think of projected light on a screen, we usually would have an idea of movement and figuration of editing and narration. This projection would rarely be abstract and rarely be still. The artist Paulo Lisboa, born 1977 in Lisbon, is challenging our physical experience and our visual perception to the point where those questions – Is it light? Is it a projection? Is it possibly even moving? – become as relevant as the elementary key question: what is an image?
Lisboa is drawing with graphite on aluminum and on paper, but he evokes the most subtle and surprising appearance of an object radiating as if the light source was placed within the drawing. Lisboa has in fact a deep interest in film projectors and the aesthetic of the cinematographic apparatus. His installations use these devices to questions the very nature of image creation through light.
They return the gaze into the object, the source of the projection.There is a striking element of paradox, that is created through the material presence (graphite on a surface) and the impression of immateriality (light). Lisboa succesfully seduces us to the suspension of disbelieve. A game already played by the antique painters – art as perfect mimesis. Zeuxis painted grapes that have been so realistic that birds have been deceived and picked at them. But here not even something tangible is to grasp – however, we look at drawings that perfectly evoke, matter, light and abstract shapes.
Top image: PAULO LISBOA, Untitled, 2020. Charcoal on aluminium, 100×70 cm (detail). ENQUIRY