arrow swing window

Raul Mourão

From Sep 20 to Nov 17 2018

Opening: September 20, 2018

LURIXS: is pleased to invite everyone to visit the exhibition "Arrow swing window", by Raul Mourão.

Back in Rio, still holding a studio in New York, the artist holds his seventh solo show at Lurixs, the first at the new address at Leblon. The exhibition occupies the gallery floor with three works, realized in three different languages ​​- photography, sculpture and painting:

• The photograph Setaderua / Joaquim Selva (225x150 cm) is a record made in 2017 of the mural made by the artist in front of his studio at Rua Joaquim Silva a year earlier, when the city of Rio hosted the Olympic Games in 2016.

• the sculpture is a great balance in Corten steel, and continues the research of the artist in the field of kinetic sculptures;

• The painting, measuring 200 x 400 cm, returns the series of Windows, protagonists in the exhibition Fenestra (Lurixs, 2015), in scale, not yet experienced by the artist.

According to the curator, a "strange game of proportions" was promoted, in which the three works - arrow swing window - "seem disproportionate in relation to space". Instead of a realistic portrait of the city, one sought instead to create a sensation: "that the city entered the gallery without making the concession to miniaturize." Three other works, also unpublished, are exposed in spaces that gravitate around the main room. Recent research results of the artist, are small sculptures, based on the restricted use of material resources: steel, brick, glass, stone. For Eucanaã Ferraz, the expressive elegance of this work "recalls the economy of a haiku; the austere and serene geometry refers to Volpi; formally rigorous humility brings us back to the poetry of Manuel Bandeira. " When using the side wall of the facade for a small work, artist and curator propose the reverse of what happens in the main room. Thus, where there would be room for a large sculpture, a little work leaves the entrance deck free, integrating the street, the sidewalk and the gallery entrance. According to Eucanaã Ferraz, "this is an urban operation, without a doubt, simple but full of suggestions, in total coherence with the work of Raul Mourão, always attentive to the city and its spatial and symbolic occupation." On the opening night, the facade of the gallery will serve as a screen for the projection of a video made by the artist, comprising a collage of other videos, projects, drawings, sculptures, etc., a kind of uninterrupted flow of research that led to the exhibition. During the show period, the gallery, on Saturdays, will promote conversations, debates, launches and other activities organized by Raul and Eucanaã.


 About the artist

Raul Mourão has been presenting his work in solo and group exhibitions since 1991. His works, built with multiple materials, and comprehending the production of drawings, sculptures, videos, objects, photographs, texts, performances and installations, develop a plastic vocabulary where urban visual elements are displaced from their usual context. Among it there are references to sports, architecture, taverns and the marking of public works: anonymous, yet familiar icons to those who contemplate the bustling metropolis.

The artist was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1967. He studied at the School of Visual Arts of Parque Lage and has been exhibiting his work — that includes the production of drawings, prints, paintings, sculptures, videos, photographs, texts, installations and performances — since the 90's both in Brazilian and international museums. 

In 2010, the artist began a series of kinetic sculptures shown in the following solo exhibitions: Tração Animal, Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro; Cuidado Quente, Galeria Nara Roesler, São Paulo; Homenagem ao Cubo, Lurixs Contemporary Art, Rio de Janeiro; Processo, Studio X, Rio de Janeiro; and Toque Devagar, Tiradentes Square, Rio de Janeiro. And also in group exhibitions such as From the Margin to the Edge, Sommerset House, London; Projetos (in)Provados, Caixa Cultural, Rio de Janeiro; Ponto de Equilí­brio, Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo; Mostra Paralela 2010, Liceu de Artes e Ofícios, São Paulo; and Travessias, Centro de Arte Bela Maré, Rio de Janeiro.

As a curator and producer, Mourão organized solo exhibitions of Brazilian artists Fernanda Gomes, Cabelo, Tatiana Grinberg, Brigida Baltar and João Modé, among others, and the group exhibitions Travessias 2 (Galpão Bela Maré, Rio de Janeiro), Love’s House (Hotel Love’s House, Rio de Janeiro) and Outra Coisa (Museu Vale, Vila Velha). He was the editor of the art magazines The Carioca and Item and made the overall coordination of the multimedia show FreeZone, which brought together artists from various fields curated by the poet Chacal, in Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Porto Alegre and São Paulo. Along with Eduardo Coimbra, Luiza Mello and Ricardo Basbaum, he created and directed the gallery Agora, in the neighborhood of Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, between 2000 and 2002.

In 2005, the artist published the book ARTEBRA, by Casa da Palavra, and In 2011 MOV, by Automatica Editions. He lives and works in Rio de Janeiro.


arrow swing and window | Eucanaã Ferraz

The title of the exhibition is explicit, better yet, it makes the exhibition explicit. It says it all. All is synthesis. All in 1. All in 3.

The exhibition examines powerful tropes - idée fixes – in the work of Raul Mourão: arrows, swings and windows. In a sense, we are presented with a retrospective composed of new works, only 3, at the gallery’s main exhibition hall. Such is the economy proposed by the artist and the curator: to materialize in a few, in so very few, works, a universe that is numerous, complex and ample. An arrangement that is a counterpoint to saturation. Instead of narrative flow, here are combination and synthesis, the traits of poetry. The ideas may be fixed, (and, as João Cabral de Melo Neto wrote, are “good for using”) but they unfold through constant research, and through their unique paths lead, at certain points, to material formulations that meant exiting the studio: forms, volumes, powers that demand contact with the public, that demand new senses, dialogues. Here are thus investigations in their current state that also resonate with the memories of a fascinating output.

In 1989, Raul Mourão started to photograph arrows in street signs used in public works in a number of cities. In 2001, he began to paint arrows, decontextualized and free of their function, they were translated into a state of brute geometry. In 2016, however, Mourão moved the arrows “back” to the streets, when he used a long wall in front of his studio, in Lapa neighborhood, as a support for a sequential painting; form was liberated from its utilitarian origins, released from its geometric isolation, now repeating in patterns. In 2017, his work “migrated” back from the streets to his studio: Mourão photographed the entire wall he had painted, creating a total of 18 images that reconstruct the entire work, now also bearing the marks of the passage of time as well as random interventions. One of these photographs is part of the exhibition. The swings, or kinetic sculptures, have become the protagonists of Raul Mourão’s collected works. One of them, made of corten steel, its imposing presence in the gallery's main exhibition room, is especially eloquent of the experience we are proposing here: an unsettling play on proportions, in which the 3 works – arrow, swing, and window – seem disproportionate to the space around them. By setting aside the requirements of a faithful portrait of the urban environment, we tried to first create a certain feeling: that the city came directly into the gallery, without even obliging to shrink down to size. Although the trio – arrow, swing and window – give the impression of failing to enter into harmony with the room, just as surely, we see no clash among the elements of this group. We recognise a landscape in these fragments, not a literal one, but one that is interpreted, one that also looks back at us, and receives us in its strangeness.

The great swing “unfolds” into another 3 shown outside the gallery and in the spaces that surround the main room. Outside, to a side of the facade, there seems to be an inversion of what is at play inside the exhibition where the works seem too large for the environment. Outside, with ample space for a large piece, there is a tiny work, leaving the entire front deck free, an area that connects the street, the sidewalk, and the gallery entrance. It is doubtlessly an urbanistic choice, a simple one, that is nevertheless very suggestive, that is fully coherent with Raul Mourão’s work, always aware of the city and its spacial and symbolic uses.

The sculpture placed there, of admirable simplicity, a pile of bricks with a steel swing on top, is the result of Mourão’s recent research into materials, objects and kinetic possibilities. The work’s most immediate dialogue manifests itself with the other piece inside the gallery, a bottle that is almost floating, a development of the series shown in the In my opinion exhibition at Plutschow Gallery in Zurich (2017). In his previous work, the bottle and the steel structure comprised the two formal elements of the work, that rested on a base. Now, however, it all became structure, a single drawn object – Raul is a sculptor draftsman, as much as a draftsman sculptor – against the vertical plane of the wall.

The third swing encases a stone. But the mineral element here is not to be taken as a refusal or as aggressiveness. Held up by a pendular structure, the stone expresses an invitation, offers itself to us. Time and nature at the reach of our hands. Could anything be more generous? The elegance of these works, minimal and expressive of their restrictive use of material resources summon the economy of a haicai; their serene and austere geometry is reminiscent of Volpi; their formally rigorous humility evokes the poetry of Manuel Bandeira. For those of us used to the large scale sculptures of Raul Mourão often shown in public spaces, and who expect his works to be yet another pointed response to the violence of contemporary urban experience, it is surprising to see that the response continues, but that now it goes in the opposite direction.

It was in 2014 that windows first emerged in the work of Raul Mourão. Although his initial process was similar to monotyping, the images he obtained did not result from the more common process of painting something on a surface and subsequently pressing it on paper. As a technique it was closer to a stamp, but did not entirely give up the traditional processes of painting, in between complete abstraction and a suggestion of figurative art. Mourão’s research took many paths, shown at different times. Now, painting takes ownership of its physical strength, and the canvas, of new scale in his trajectory, shows its material power as an efficient support and also as an object that is filled with history.

arrow swing window – photography, sculpture and painting. Long trajectories, yes, but here, as mentioned before, instead of narrative flow, a combination and synthesis that is the mark of poetry.


Eucanaã Ferraz is a poet and professor of Brazilian Literature at UFRJ. He has published, among others, Sentimental, winner of the Portugal Telecom Award for Best Book of Poetry of 2012. His poetry books, eight in all, were gathered in 2016 in a single volume by the house of the Moeda / Imprensa Nacional de Lisboa. He also writes poetry for children, and his latest book, Every Thing, 2016, received the Best Poetry Book award by the National Foundation for Children and Youth Book. He organized, among others, two books by Caetano Veloso, Letra só (2003) and The world is not boring (2005).