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02.2021 - interview @ J.F. Alvalade, Lisboa


She was born in Luanda, in 1966. Currently living and working in Lisbon, the city where she studied Visual Arts as well as engraving, ceramics, illustration or calligraphy.

Patrícia Magalhães is the artist behind the last exhibition held at the Centro Cívico Edmundo Pedro gallery, hosted last year from October 24th to November 20th.

While we wait for the gallery space to reopen to the public (we're still in lockdowns due to the pandemic outbreak), we leave you with a short interview with the artist, guided by the curator of this cultural space, Tânia Caeiro.

How did your relationship with painting and drawing begin?

I've been drawing since I've known myself. I have very old memories – some of me and others that were told to me as a family – I was always making dolls, doodling, making small sculptures with wires, playing with translucent colored little pieces of glass… I still remember reactions to my drawings, from primary to secondary and undoubtedly drawing was what I always wanted to do... unfortunately life, sometimes, runs over us so it has been only very recently that I managed to return to devoting myself, entirely, to drawing.

What/who are your influences?

This is quite hard to answer. Generically speaking, I would say that my influences are “everything and everyone”. I consider myself a receptacle of the multiple impulses I permanently come across. Whether as a spectator or as an intervener, sharing experiences with other artists, deepening knowledge, experimenting with techniques, I think I'm a sum of all of this, to which other stimuli are added that also move me, like cinema, music, reading... even the simple contemplation of nature or everyday life.

I'm not trying to avoid the question so, if I had to give you a very specific answer, at the present moment, if I had to choose a couple of references in visual arts, then I would name four giants: Henri Matisse and Constantin Brancusi on the one hand, Álvaro Lapa and Joaquim Bravo on the other .

Tell us a little about your work process and your day-to-day life in the studio. How is this period of isolation changing you?

My work process joins several different activities that don't really have a precise time to be done; they last as long as I need them to last, from the research and the thinking about the subjects that interest me – which, invariably, makes the first drawings appear – then more research to deepening these themes with information I can gather, and I make more drawings, In this first studies I look for different approaches and choose what I want to pursue and sometimes I know exactly what I want, while sometimes I really don't and it takes a little longer until I'm able to make decisions regarding scale, materials, etc...

So during lockdowns, these long periods of isolation that we all have gone through has been very hard on everyone. Many people can't even work and the ones who do, had to adapt the new circumstances and change routines – I'm lucky not to be one because I've managed to continue my work, with minor necessary adaptations and postponements.

Of course adjustments had to be made, for example, at home: I can't use materials that require large scale or wet techniques. Also I had to deal with the uncertainty about what will happen next and how it will go after it ends, mainly, if the exhibitions that I had already planned were "just" postponed or actually canceled? Or will the galleries and cultural spaces that used to held art exhibitions be able to open or be closed permanently? The plans and projects that were underway, will we be able to make them happen this year? Nobody really knows and, therefore, for me the most important thing at this stage is to accept the situation, with all its limitations, challenges and adaptations, and hope for the best but, at the same time, keep working hard every single day and see it has an unique opportunity to see things from another perspective and to meditate on issues that, before, would probably never occur to us.

Do you have/have more occupations? How do they contaminate your artwork, or vice versa?

I worked for almost twenty years in an international company, in corporate marketing and sales, where creativity and thinking “outside the box” always brought me good results. Despite absorbing me a lot, during this time I remained active and always drew and painted.

Is it important to you that what you do relates to the world/politics/society of today? In what way?

Yes, it's important and it's inevitable. But it's not the only focus of my interest when I want to express myself through drawing. My works are not statements… As I said earlier, when I mentioned the issue of my influences, what I do are interpretations of what surrounds me, what ails me, what delights me, what interests me. It's a daily process of "digestion" and I can't explain why some subjects stay with me longer or more deeply...

Finally, would you like to share with us what you are seeing and listening to in your free time?

Fortunately during lockdowns all over the world there were a lot of public, private, collective and individual entities that have chosen to provide free content, to share experiences and to create moments for everyone to enjoy - and I privileged because I have a computer and I have an internet connection, and that all I need to pursue these opportunities. For instance, I had my first online exhibition, or every week I make a virtual visit to a major art museum in the world, I now have the time to watch movies and to see tv amazing ballets and performances and to listen to a lot of music and search for more – at this moment, for example, the radio is playing Ibrahim Maalouf.

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