On the surface incisions appear, crust or partially disappear. They lurk in the background, in the eyes of everyone. Their vocations are political, romantic, ironic, militant, trivial. They often appear as a furtive gesture. They spread over public spaces and fixtures, as if a part of the intimate thought was trying to publicly appropriate a few square centimetres of expression. They end up rendering a persistence to reality, like a material fragment of language. In a way, Pedro Matos interests lie more in an art that transcends ordinary forms through abstraction rather than a transcription of the motif. In this approach it would be more a matter of seizing the effect of the reality than its own anticipation. Political messages, names, insults, love declarations, dates, memes, hieroglyphics signs... Each mark invokes an image of whose texture reflects an abstract quality, if not a perception that crumbles with time.
Before even initiating any kind of pictorial gesture, Pedro Matos acts as a collector of images. He photographs, steals and receives graffiti images as references. Selected work generates the raw material, later manipulated on software then projected on canvas. The digital imagery hence becomes the incipit of the pictorial gesture and influences the experience of the work. When we’re gone, displays melted surfaces of zoomed, almost cryptic graphic inscriptions. The works of Pedro Matos are the result of his online and offline explorations where memories, liquefied by painting, ends up oscillating between capturing and disembodying materiality. The source image experiences spread and loss of information throughout each step of the creative process. Therefore the narrative is not so much focused on the nature of the inscriptions but rather on their asperities and their common intentions to manifest a presence, a moment, a passage. Yet here the “uniqueness of existence”1 disintegrates, the hic and nunc2 is diluted into a more ambiguous and contemplative context, intentionally more vaporous.
The work of Pedro Matos is rooted in the existing porosity between abstraction and representation, one always on the edge of the other, to invest a contemplative feeling. It is this material from reality, underestimated and neglected, that becomes a relic of the ordinary. Paradoxically, it is not after nature but from the image that the pictorial gesture exceeds the time that flows between the initial fleeting gesture and the image, capturing its already abstract decay. What might seem to be hesitating between the figurative and its opposite resolve itself in a painting with a more metaphysical sentiment.
If the marks lose their historicity and their context, they are unified by the image that overhauls everything. The composition allows the projection of a relationship of difference, so that what appeared graphical and subjective creates this “flat” effect of a stretched surface as a new simulacrum. This could be a possible “postmodern” reading of today’s painting, moving away from a philosophical angle towards the form. Where sampling reality means borrowing and reusing the upper and lower registers without distinction3. By picking the ordinary in an attempt to transpose it into the aesthetic realm, the context relating to the media, to the image and to the interactions that flow from it suggests the nature of the pictorial gesture. Ultimately, the evocation of the simulacrum implies passing over the entire depth. It would tend towards a type of superficiality where what is to be seen and felt is formally held in what appears; for Pedro Matos it stands on the threshold of an hermetic surface bound to a sensitive potential.
Any element, even the most insignificant, becomes image, background, texture, surface and arouses another contemplation. Since the world as an object is becoming increasingly image-like, depth has already been supplanted by multiple surfaces4. The work of Pedro Matos bypasses the physical appearance of these incisions and appropriates the immateriality that lies in the will to make our lives eternal, in order to extract a poetics of the everyday as an aesthetic of the time passing by.
— Text by SCANDALE Project (Lucie & Fiona)
1. BENJAMIN, Walter. The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction. Penguin UK, 2008.
3. JAMESON, Fredric. Postmodernism, or, the cultural logic of late capitalism. Duke university press, 1991.