12.09 – 15.11.2020


Inspired by the triangular shape of the mezzanine of the Galeria Municipal do Porto as a potential metaphor for the Bermuda Triangle, Luís Lázaro Matos’ new series of works takes us to a whirlwind of suspended images in space.
Curated by Martha Kirszenbaum (curator of the French Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale, 2019), the starting point of the exhibition project is the artist’s fascination with the mythology of the sea. Music appears at the core of his practice, and the seven diptych paintings in the exhibition are inspired by the seven songs of his recently released album, also named Waves and Whirlpools.
The pictorial and musical compositions consist in a superimposition of layers of paint and sounds, and invite the viewers to immerse themselves in a mystical, romantic and troubling universe, underpinned by an ultimate fantasy of dominating the ocean and its uncontrollable waves.

Curator's Statement

For his solo presentation at the Galeria Municipal of Porto, Lisbon-based artist Luís Lázaro Matos (b. 1987) – whose practice spans painting, drawing, music, and performance – has created a new ensemble of seven diptych paintings, inspired by seven recently released songs, and conveying references to the mythology of the sea.

Matos depicts intriguing surroundings of dark blue waves and smiling cartoonish palm trees, haunted by fantastic marine creatures, such as sea turtles, manta rays, octopuses, whales, but also birds and an Astronaut dog named Laika. The iconography he displays might recall the imaginary realism of Portuguese artist, Paula Rego, whose interpretation of fairytales grew into an important source of inspiration for his approach. A recurrent persona portrayed throughout the exhibition is an allegorical self-portrait of a musician transformed into a sea turtle, who serenades an Egyptian character, in a scene that echoes the Exodus and the parting of the Red Sea, thus expressing the ultimate fantasy to have power over the ocean and its incontrollable waves and currents. Finally, Matos has outlined mysterious aliens, reflecting his fascination for conspiracy theories and the Bermuda Triangle, a source of inspiration for this project that is also expressed in the architectural shape of the exhibition space.

Each painting comprises a long black rope that seems to interlace and connect all the works, as it figures an Ariadne’s thread, in the shape of an audio jack, reminding us that music appears at the deep core of Luís Lázaro Matos’ work. For this particular series, he has composed seven tracks of lively noise-punk, stylistically inspired by the compositions of the American band, Sonic Youth. The lyrics and titles of each song address and elucidate the themes developed in his painting series: Red Sea, Whirlpools, Laika Surfing Cosmic Waves and Tsunami, among others. In his musical compositions, the arrangement technique consists of layering different instruments, a method also used in his paintings, by applying numerous layers and undercoats of paint. The storytelling behind his canvases is punctuated by the occurrence of several musical instruments (guitars, keyboards or microphones) and their presence resonates with a visual realm that is profoundly mystical, romantic and troubling.
Curated by:
Martha Kirszenbaum

Dinis Santos
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