MIGUEL PALMA, EGO (Electronic Growing Organism), 2009

15 April to 3 July 2011 – Centro de Arte Moderna

This is a mid-career exhibition of Miguel Palma (Lisbon, 1964), one of the most productive Portuguese artists of his generation, whose work has gradually left its mark on the international scene. The title of the exhibition refers to one of the principal characteristics of this artist’s work, the creation of sculptures and objects positioned somewhere between the mechanical and the artistic; between the sphere of engineering and architecture on the one hand, and the world of art on the other; between the natural and the artificial.

This exhibition of Miguel Palma displays 170 artworks by the Portuguese artist, and approximately 70 per cent of all the works on show feature a technical mechanism (movement, sound…).

Several original works created in 2011 will be presented: Eclipse, Crédito (Credit), A Matinha (model of a gaming arcade “A Matinha” in Lisbon – built in 1931 by J. Vivo), A Viagem Maravilhosa (The Wonderful Journey) (airplane metal model, 1/10 scale) and B-29 Super Fortress (a kit of a Bombardier, 1/72 scale – the first post-war model built in wood).

Outside the CAM, in the garden, an aquarium with a red fish is shown on the lake’s surface, thereby reinforcing the union between artificial and natural. The relation between technology and living beings is equally present in other works, namely in Osmosis, composed of three interconnected aquariums: a freshwater aquarium, another with saltwater, both have one fish; the third aquarium filters the water between them, through a system of osmosis.

Of all the machines that inhabit the artist’s creative universe, the airplane is an image of Miguel Palma, who is one of the most prolific artists of his generation. A series of airplane models and replicas will be shown at CAM: from an F-16 airplane replica on a 1/15 scale, to a model of an A380 in the work Navio Negreiro (Slave Ship), or an AIRBUS A330 airplane model on a 1:200 scale. The car is also crucial in Palma’s work. In addition to the constant presence of automobile miniatures, Exposição Solar (Solar Exposure) is a work that presents a life-size Formula Ford 1800cc race car, supported on a base at the observer’s height. The solar panels that lie on the ground allow for the car wheels to be activated trough the projectors’ lights.

The construction of machines, models, the manipulation of technology, the tiny pieces of human figures, and a group of materials encompassing the whole of the playful construction, which is located between art and engineering, game and irony, organic and mechanical, creates an unique universe where we can nevertheless recognize ourselves.

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