JOÃO GABRIEL - Almost Blue
Opening with a big summer party: 1 July 2022
João Gabriel's paintings are created by an anachronistic trick: he rewinds digitized VHS films to a scene of his choice, pauses the video and transfers the frozen images to the canvas using digital tools. The landscapes and spaces depicted in this way, but above all the coexistence of bodies, are moments captured in paint that mix the fictional and the real, the present and the memory. His paintings and pictorial investigations are based on an abstracted recourse to these fictional images and draw on a deep chromatic scale. The poetics of colour, the pausing of time and the affection of bodies for each other can be discovered in his sensitive paintings.
With new works for the Kunstverein Braunschweig, the artist explores queer desire, intimacy, cruising, mental and real landscapes. In paintings, he processes experienced and longed-for impressions of Portuguese beaches, of his surroundings in the Portuguese countryside and of pornographic films of the "queer underground" produced for an invisible audience in the 1970s and 1980s.
Therefore, the paintings' actual protagonists are the sensual affection and the furtive gaze of an observer. João Gabriel's works testify to tenderness and tranquillity, showing bodies surrendering to their desire without guilt or prejudice. His painterly inspiration is also inspired by the masters of the Baroque. In this way, the masterful play of light and shadow in his works also reflects a human drama.
João Gabriel was born in 1992 in Leiria, Portugal and currently lives in Caldas da Rainha, Portugal. He graduated in Fine Arts from the College of Fine Arts and Design in Caldas da Rainha in 2016. He has been included in various exhibitions, including "A Place only we know", The RYDER Madrid (ES), 2021; "O lume dos olhos, a luzir no escuro", Lehmann + Silva Gallery (PT), 2019; "Don't you remember why we came here for?", The RYDER London (UK), 2019; "De noite, todos os gatos", Galeria do Teatro da Politécnica, Lisbon (PT), 2019; "The Third Bank", Coimbra Biennial of Contemporary Art (PT), 2019; "A Permit for that Fire", Galería Mascota, Mexico City (MX), 2018. The artist was a laureate of the EDP Foundation New Artists Award (PT) in 2017.
Kunstverein Braunschweig is pleased to present with „Almost Blue“ the first institutional solo exhibition of João Gabriel in Germany.
Curated by Nuno de Brito Rocha and Benedikt Johannes Seerieder
Scenography: Diane Hillebrand
For each exhibition, artists are invited to make use of the space that was originally a guest room in the Villa Salve Hospes as a commentary on the main presentation. At João Gabriel’s invitation, we are delighted to welcome filmmakers João Pedro Rodrigues and João Rui Guerra da Mata. Their work explores gender and human desire in all its guises - and disguises - reflecting the multifarious history of film, from classical genre to documentary and experimental film.
Their films premiered and won prizes at the world’s foremost film festivals, including Cannes, Venice, Locarno, Toronto and Berlin and are part of several film archives and museum permanent collections, namely the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Harvard Film Archive. In 2016, the Pompidou Centre in Paris honored Rodrigues and Guerra da Mata with a complete retrospective and installation exhibition.
The exhibition Almost Blue has been made possible by: