A metade do céu [Half the sky]. Cabrita Reis has assembled a group show that is entirely and openly free of any thematic restraints, as well as from curatorial narrative, and indeed from all discursive artifice. Instead, it is based on an elementary intention, on an axiomatic, unshakeable will: “that it would act, quite simply, as a means to disclose the thought, the outlook and the creative practice of Half the sky” – the very same half that, according to Mao Zedong, is held up by each and every woman. Out of that phrase, found in a text attributed to the Chinese leader, the artist has conceived and developed his exhibition project, reminding us nonetheless “that art has always been averse and immune to ideology”. What matters most, here, is that exordial intent. It is important to bring to Vieira da Silva a unique – personal, affective, certainly passionate – view of that other half.
Half the sky defines a territory of confrontation – as can observed immediately in its multidis- ciplinary approach, combining drawing and painting, sculpture and installa- tion, photography and video. However, the search for otherness transcends the formal dimension. Conflict matters as much, or even more, than consensus. We must pay very close attention to the conflict that throbs in each trajectory, countering the standardising approach that is possibly fed by art history (or certain forms of it). In fact, this exhi- bition examines the lunar side of each featured artist, revealing as often as possible what could be less expected from her – a piece that has not been widely shown, that perhaps stands out of the whole, somewhat unexpectedly. Such is the case of the works by Menez, Ana Hatherly or Helena Almeida. Half the sky communicates a certain eagerness for the thrill of the epiphanic deviation, that thoroughly primordial vertigo.
Indeed, even the most famous and widely studied artist to be featured here clearly awaits the rediscovery of her work, over and over again, by contem- porary eyes. Josefa de Óbidos’ still life must be seen in the light of contempo- rary art – if for no other reason, at least as a means to search for astonishment. It is precisely in tangency, somewhere in the interstice, that the exhibition’s purpose is fulfilled.