Sofia Pidwell


Artistic display rooms function as prosthesis of the work of art (or vice versa). Museums, art galleries, or less conventional display territories come forth in our contemporaneity as chameleons which constantly transform themselves, according to what slides on their walls, floors, and ceilings. Space, as a mediation resource, is just another variable contributing to the meaning of the work of art. Reflection upon spatial dimension has been an inspirational drive to contemporary creations as well. Examples of such are the site-specific artistic approaches engaged from the late 1960’s onwards. Since then the ideological connotation, as well as political, originally associated to these artistic savoir faires has been fading away. Today, merely more than just a reaction, an objection, or a denial of the expository statu quo, the site-specific action comes out as constant element (formal and aesthetic) in the operational cogwheel of the contemporary artistic milieu.

PATH, an exhibition by Sofia Pidwell, opening on the 12th of July at WHO – Bairro Alto gallery, focuses on this relationship between space and artistic praxis as food for thought. Being one of the gallery walls totally filled up by a mural, Pidwell also takes charge of the gallery’s space during the three weeks before the inauguration date. The gallery’s physical space, whose window in the manner of a shop window allows an almost symbiotic union with the street ahead, is in itself favourable to the display of a body of work which implodes the binomial create/show. Thus, the artist reveals the artistic praxis in motion; takes over the display territory as a temporary studio; lays out the creative action from which the work of art takes origin; disembowels creation from the invisibility to which it is mostly confined to; unfolds the path – PATH – behind the artistic object. Lastly, it indulges the spectator to be her companion on this journey.


That’s why the workmanship of this portuguese artist takes the shape of a work in progress which does not allow, however, the unveiling neither of a beginning nor of an end. The natural and naturalized drawing shows voluble events, anterior and posterior possibilities that escape the ephemerality to which they are inevitably doomed. Still the production of Sophia Pidwell does not place us in a crossroad; the path it makes us walk through is already cross, entangled, thick in itself. All the traces point towards different directions, building an intricate labyrinth that expands on itself and obscures a feasible destiny. We know there is no end to the path because there willalways be a path. The title of the exhibition – PATH – epitomises, thus, the body of work of the artist: a poetics of several moments condensated in the hiatus between creation and destruction as a (ongoing) cyclical and regenerative process.


Ana Cristina Cachola (Julho de 2012)