Painting, between thought and perception
Carlos Mensil’s exhibition at Galeria Presença, can be perceived as a flow of images-in-motion, forces that shift between a “thought-painting” and a “upcoming-painting”.
Painting is a force that is also a presence, a body that moves, first and foremost, it is a “thing” (a body) and because it is “something” that can be thought of (by another body).
In this exhibition we can observe 14 recent artworks (created between 2017 and 2018) which mostly explore the possibilities of stainless steel as a performative material: a video/animation being played alongside a sound and two pieces with engines, magnets and steel spheres. But, nonetheless, there, as a counterpart, an invisible dimension: the sound is not coinciding with the action, the objects that move without an apparent reason, the light and reflection of the plastic that involves some of the framing structures.
Carlos Mensil is not interested in naming the painting, rather to create a space to reflect about painting as a type of language and happening. Essentially, the whole exhibition takes place in a fraction of time, in a hiatus (of time, of space), in some kind of void. Everything is presented as a negative: the image appears as an analogy, and the object as a magnetic force which moves according to its own free will.
We are not far from an animistic pulsion, which very much defines the very own act of painting: things that come to life, escaping the control, the hand of the artist himself. In fact, in the material or substantial sense of the word, we can hardly see a thing (the artist works in reduction); yet, we see, but in the physiological or phenomenological sense: we see a body of proposals operating (in expansion) in the space of the invisible, that hiatus between appearing and disappearing.(…)
What is a Fine Arts degree for?
(…) Ultimately, what seems to be false is what is actually being exhibited as real. Tricks are only used in representation proposals which delight the senses. With these strategies we are confronted with a myriad of hypothesis which push us, blindfolded, into a new enigma, in which the common ground seems to me to be the discovery of a new world, i.e., the other, the difference, by means of sudden glimpses of a reality which we invent for ourselves. We peek the unknown as if what lies beyond that frontier is the enemy and, carefully, sheltered, we go about experiencing the dismantling of the world.
So, beyond the objects which feign “fait accompli” - finished (ready made) - there is no real use of the “trompe l’oeil” technique. Besides that is not Carlos Mensil’s aim. Actually his objects are moments of reflexion which, in the context of his other works, are clearly part of a narrative which is being put together along the years.
Fernando Pinto Coelho
Art is not a lie,
but it is also not the truth.
(…) The artist causes a slight osllation in the tranquility of the world, and to our expectations of its predictability. He gives reality a little shake (a nudge) and it moves slightly out of place. He pulls the carpet out from under us, causes a quiet earth- quake that destroys nothing, but it makes us feel uneasy. The work of Carlos Mensil eloquently addresses all these issues. His objects might be fragments, "traces", taken from the world and re-presented as though the world had not noticed their absence. He plays with our perception. Not by causing an immense upheaval that knocks the viewer to the ground, but by forng one to turn around, look back and to realize that something is not right, that there is a problem. The history of art is a gallery of these problems, of this "extra world" that the artist produces, this series of ambiguities that feed on themselves. (…)