Pedro Cabrita Reis

Unframed #3


Pedro Cabrita Reis born 1956
Aluminium, glass, rubber, wood, fluorescent lights, electric cable and plastic
Displayed: 2630 x 4225 x 170 mm
Purchased with funds provided by EDP - Energias de Portugal, S.A. 2012

Not on display


Unframed #3 is a large sculpture consisting of two empty glazed frames hung closely side by side on the wall, the right hand one at a slightly higher level than the other. Each has a fluorescent light inside, illuminating the empty wall behind. As in other works by the artist of this period, the electric cables for the lighting are deliberately left visible and hang down behind the glass to trail on the floor. The title Unframed contains an element of irony as the glazed windows act automatically as a framing device. However, all they appear to frame is the empty wall behind. This work is part of a series of five related pieces, which are numbered sequentially.

Since 2003 Cabrita Reis has worked with industrial materials, such as heavy steel bars and window frames, and many of his works incorporate fluorescent strip lighting. Like The Unnamed Word #1 2005 (Tate T13649) and The Moscow Piece 2006 (Tate T13493), Unframed #3 is characteristic of this body of work. The use of light is an important medium in Cabrita Reis’s production and is used frequently to divide, define and illuminate space. The theme of construction is a consistent motif in his art. An encounter with his works often leaves the viewer uncertain as to whether or not they are completed art works.

Critical discussion surrounding Cabrita Reis’s practice is often situated within a discourse about sculpture. However, according to the artist, his works should be read in relation to painting. In explaining this stance, he has stated:

I have extended painting to other levels, by doing sculptures, installations, appropriating space … the perception we have of them is built upon, and comes to us, as only painting could. When I use glass or fluorescent tubes, plaster, wood, steel or poured paint, it’s still about the vocabulary of painting. The materials I use, like glass for example, imply formal and conceptual qualities of transparency, opacity, light, verticality, dealing with, and incorporating in the way they are used, the lexicon of the classical approach to painting and I want to be understood as that.
(Quoted in Kunsthaus Graz 2008, p.35.)

Further reading
Pedro Cabrita Reis: True Gardens, exhibition catalogue, Kunsthaus Graz 2008.
Pedro Cabrita Reis: One after Another, A Few Silent Steps, Ostfildern 2010, reproduced p.55.

Kyla McDonald
September 2010

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