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Plantar, Cortar e Alçar. 
Exhibition text Susana Rocha

Os Espacialistas
13.10 __ 25.11.2022
© Bruno Lopes

When in June I visited the studio of Os Espacialistas, after a generous conversation about the work they had developed in recent years, the feeling I left with was that of having witnessed the complex materialization of a Hoberman sphere - the model, transformed in toy, of a sphere that, through the action of the tweezers that compose it, is able to pass from a fraction of its size to an expanded sphere.


The notion that a single element can be enhanced, through its modular replication or formal adaptation, but also through its conceptual unfolding to an almost infinity, was perhaps what led me to remember this childhood toy.


As expected, the relation with architecture was evident, as often it is their starting point. However, beyond the appeal of the materials, and the trained eye for the balance of the structures, the work was articulated - in the speech of Luís, Diogo and Sérgio - in a chained of references capable of suggest both the agricultural systems of irrigation and cultivation, as well as one of the most emblematic works by Sol LeWitt (All Variations of Incomplete Open Cubes, 1974).


If we accept that art is always representational - unlike architecture which, among its many obligations, does not have this one - then we can consider, without a doubt, that the representation constructed by Os Espacialistas is that of the indomitable universe of possibilities... and for the artistic praxis, the possibilities are practically everything.


What emerges as singular and paradoxical in the vast body of work that the collective has been developing – widely commented on, where space and the notion of series are always a reason for reflection – is an artful, and for me poetic, articulation of a rationality shrewdness associated with an apparent existential absurdity.

While Sol LeWitt is mentioned, Fischli & Weiss or Erwin Wurm come to mind… a nonsense, naturally. But a stimulating contradiction that makes sense in exhibition moments like this one.


In “Campo de Jogo: Plantar, Cortar, Alçar” (“Playing Field: to plant, to cut, to raise”) the premise seems to be that of germination – one that is also voracious and devours concepts that multiply into rhizomes of possible relations.

Hoberman's image of the sphere becomes the image of the domino: in its multiplications, connections and unfoldings. Thus, a game (field) of (cultivated) meanings is born, if we consider the domino as a unit of construction, we can use it to guess a broader and more universal language that pierces the human will to make / build / produce.


Can a domino piece look like a brick, in its frontal view? Can a brick, stripped of its walls and exposed to the maximum of its sustainability, resemble the basic structure of Maison Dom-Ino (Le Corbusier, 1914-1915)? Can that same brick look at us? Can an agricultural field, with its plowed furrows, and its hewn cultivation areas, be just another arrangement of a set of pieces in a game of dominoes? Can we inhabit that domino? And if we replan it and scale it up enough, can we find the dice that casts the luck that governs discovery?


Maybe it's a matter of perspective. And so, let's play... Let's plant, cut and raise, in this path created on the floor and walls of a gallery, turned into a laboratory of experimentation… a field of nutrition and budding of imagination.



Susana Rocha, visual artist

October 2022

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