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Hugo Canoilas: Someone a long time ago, now.

5 March 2015 until 10 April 2015
Cooper Gallery, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design

Preview: Thursday, 5 March, 5.30-7.30pm

Performance: Thursday, 5 March, 6pm

Exhibition: 6 March – 10 April

Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm, Sat 11am-5pm

Cooper Gallery is pleased to present the first major solo exhibition of Portuguese artist Hugo Canoilas in Scotland. ‘Someone a long time ago, now.’ is a rich palette of visual and textual collisions between multiple collaged projections of paintings, photographs, drawings and writing, cast on each other and the architectural fabric of Cooper Gallery. Shown over two floors of the gallery the exhibition is a rare chance to engage in Canoilas’ complex visual mediation of images.

Working in the light of popular aesthetics channeled through politics and ideas from philosophy and poetry, Canoilas’ practice intertwines itself with art history and the evolution of art during the first period of Modernism. Drawing upon the thought of 20th century philosophers and writers including Derrida, Heidegger and Fernando Pessoa, the art and painting of Hugo Canoilas maintains a nuanced dialogue between abstraction and social realism. By focusing on painting as a material and metaphor Canoilas has found an intimate and visually seductive way to register the ‘signals of the world’, and a powerful means to sensitize ourselves to this world.

With ‘Someone a long time ago, now.’ at Cooper Gallery, Canoilas’ draws upon the metaphors of the window and the mirror to set in motion an interplay of two forces, one passive and affirmative, the other active and rational. The culmination of this play is an invitation from Canoilas to comic book artist Francisco Sousa Lobo to create a book that mirrors and examines his own practice. Set out to be an exhibition within an exhibition, the comic book I Love Your Art Much acts as a reflexive voice and a point of departure from which the entire exhibition evolves to mirror the artist’s critical stance on the social and political histories of the contemporary.

Doubling the psychedelic qualities of Jackson Pollock’s paintings, this exhibition seeks “an intensity in the way people understand”. Beautifully stated by Fernando Pessoa, this ‘understanding’ consists in acknowledging that “we are multitudes in ourselves and with a little self subtraction, or little anthropophagic appetite, can become whoever”. Immersed in a multitude of reflected and projected images, the architectural spaces of Cooper Gallery resonate with fragments and echoes of paintings, drawings and photographs, transfixed and transposed onto each other. Juxtaposed with Canoilas’ volatile use of text and newspaper cuts, the exhibition inscribes itself as a gesture of light, paint and graphite.

Expanding the doubles and reflections embodied in ‘Someone a long time ago, now.’, a final gesture underscoring Canoilas’ interest on the ‘multitudes in ourselves’ is a live performance by the artist. In the guise of his alter ego Jeffrey, a 60-year-old hippie, Canoilas “will not explain but boost the relation between the exhibited works and their relation to the whole (social, political and artistic events), believing that the relation between art and the whole (all things) is the real matter of art.”

Hugo Canoilas is a Portuguese artist based in Vienna. Canoilas obtained his MA from Royal College of Art London in 2006, prior to this he studied at Caldas da Rainha in Portugal. Canoilas has received international recognition for his art work since 2005 and has been featured at major international spaces including the highly celebrated 30th Sao Paulo Biennial, Paradise Birds, Museum Casa do Bandeirante, Sao Paulo (2012).

Solo presentations of his work include A painting is getting its kicks, 1M3, Lausanne (2010), Endless Killing, curated by Chus Martinez at Huarte Contemporary Art Center, Spain (2008) and 10 reasons to be a member curated by Tobi Maier at the Franfurter Kunstverein (2007).


See exhibition website here


Image: Hugo Canoilas, Against the horrid fixity of everyday life, 2013, action in the streets of Vienna.

Image: Hugo Canoilas, Against the horrid fixity of everyday life, 2013, action in the streets of Vienna.