Pedro Cabrita Reis: One After Another, A Few Silent Steps, Museum Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Pedro Cabrita-Reis, I Dreamt Your House Was a Line, 2003

February 24 – May 22, 2011

One after another, a few silent steps will be Cabrita Reis’ first retrospective show in Belgium. It is the most comprehensive survey of the Portuguese artist’s works to date, and brings together about sixty works dating from 1985 until 2010, sculptures, paintings, photographs and installations.

Alongside loans from museums and private collections, the exhibition also includes new works conceived especially for this show. The context of M, with its historical collection and the interaction between old and contemporary art exhibitions, functions as an interesting context for Cabrita’s work. Some works from the historical collection will be included in the exhibition.

The work of Pedro Cabrita Reis (Lisbon, °1956) revolves around themes such as housing, living spaces, construction and territory. Drawing inspiration from daily life, he combines commonplace objects such as tables, chairs and doors with industrial materials. Cabrita’s work is crucial for the understanding of the new paradigm in sculpture that has come about since the middle of the 1980s. His complex oeuvre is marked by a highly individualized philosophical and poetic discourse, and encompasses a variety of media. Using simple materials, Pedro Cabrita Reis recycles through constructive processes, almost anonymous memories of primordial gestures and actions that we repeat every day. His works touch on issues of space, architecture and memory, with a suggestive power of association that goes beyond the visual to a metaphorical level.

Almost minimalist in its use of beams, aluminium frames, the symbol of modern architecture, verging on Arte Povera in the use of everyday items, Cabrita Reis’s work adds a singular voice to this history of recent art. It also bears the stamp of the Mediterranean and traces of an ancient thought. At the same time the work will take you out of your comfort zone. The exhibitions rather presents itself as a succession of actions, creating a certain specific spatial tension.

While he does uses 3D space, Pedro Cabrita Reis is more than just a sculptor. His oeuvre can truly call upon the main categories of art. The fluorescent tubes, one of the artist’s preferred materials, while producing a halo of light, determine a line like the one the pencil draws on a sheet of paper. The aluminium front frames, the plaster, the safety glass panels, the bricks, the mere electric cable etc.; all these materials contribute towards a system of representation without losing any of their mysterious everyday quality as objects. These works challenge the boundary between the inside and outside, between construction and object.

In 2010 the exhibition was on show in Hamburger Kunsthalle and the Musée Carré d’Art in Nímes, and it will travel later in 2011 to the Museu Coleccão Berardo in Lisbon.

Pedro Cabrita Reis was born in Lisbon in 1956, where he lives and works. He has participated in many important international exhibitions. Among others, his work was shown at Documenta IX Kassel in 1992, at 22nd and 24th São Paulo Biennales, respectively in 1994 and 1998, at the Venice Biennale Aperto in 1997. In 2003 he represented Portugal at the Venice Biennale. Since then his work has been featured in many museum exhibitions.

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