marble and birch wood
site specific installation for Part-Ilha, Spike Island Centre for Contemporary Art and Design, Bristol
António Bolota’s sculptures often depart from a drive to challenge conditions of impossibility. Defying physics, just as much as institutional politics, his work mostly takes the form of large-scale site-specific interventions that test the limits of gravity and its surrounding spatial infrastructure. The corpus of his practice is developed through the vectorial eye of the engineer, the hat that Bolota wears most of the time, and that defines its building skills. With implacable swiftness, he departs from spatial analysis to intervene on infrastructural levels, often developing lengthy processes of geometric projecting that result in sculptures that assume physical paradoxes, states of liminal convergence, stylized forms, or other architectural deviations. Operating as a indoor landscape artist, Bolota takes vectorial architecture as his medium deconstructing the materiality of buildings themselves.
InUntitled (2008) we are presented with a model for a large-scale installation specifically designed for Part-Ilha exhibition at Spike Island Centre for Contemporary Art and Design in Bristol, where a long birch wood cylinder was to be suspended diagonally intersecting the space all the way through. However, due to the health and safety restrictions at the venue this intervention was prohibited, and Bolota wisely turned it into a prototype of its own, developing this commission as a sized model that replicated the sculpture to be. This intervention resulted in a tridimensional droste effect, as the columns of the space where replicated in white marble in identical scale, mimetizing its surroundings.
This sculptural intervention was the first of a series of architectural models and spatial proposals that constitute a particular path in Bolota’s practice, further developed in the exhibition “Sem Escala” at Galeria Vera Cortês in 2016.Furthermore, the participation in the exhibition Part-Ilha was the beginning of a long intergenerational collaboration between artists from Porto and Lisbon, who later came to be united in the multiple exhibitions and projects organized in Espaço Avenida 211 in Lisbon, a studio complex in the heart of the city that became its main cultural hub during pre-gentrification times.