Pedro Cabrita Reis

The Moscow Piece


Not on display

Pedro Cabrita Reis born 1956
Aluminium, wood, acrylic paint and fluorescent light
Object: 245 × 3985 × 755 mm
Presented by the artist 2011


The Moscow Piece is a shelf constructed using aluminium, wood, acrylic and a fluorescent light. Like much of Cabrita Reis’s sculpture, it has an unfinished appearance, deliberately created by the artist. The electric cabling for the light is left visible and dangles down from one end of the piece to trail along the gallery floor. Around this time, Cabrita Reis made a number of similarly constructed works that were installed on the wall. The Moscow Piece was originally produced for the exhibition De Dentro/V Glup, 6 Portuguese Contemporary Artists at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Moscow in 2006, hence its title.

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 Unframed #3 2008 (Tate T13650), The Moscow Piece 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, reproduced p.114.
Pedro Cabrita Reis: One after Another, A Few Silent Steps, Ostfildern 2010, reproduced p.293.

Kyla McDonald
September 2010

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