Conversation with Rui Brito, Director of Gallery 111


Rui Brito is the director of Gallery 111, one of the oldest art galleries in the country, founded by his father, Manuel de Brito, in 1964. Since The Its start to date, this gallery is concerned to promote the presentation of a wide range of the most representative national and international artists. Have been representing renowned artists from various generations, such as Paula Rego, Eduardo Batarda and Ana Vidigal.

Art and culture has always been at the center of his life. Tell us how this passion of a life through the art world began.
It started in an inevitable way. Having been my father, the founder of Gallery 111, in 1964, was born surrounded by artists, art, exhibitions and museums. I ended up naturally gaining an artistic sensitivity practically at birth. In fact, the Júlio Pomar It offered me a picture when I was born, an orangutan. At that time,Júlio Pomar, It was in a phase of the animals. I had the privilege, since child, having lived and private with many of the reference artists in Portugal. The walls of my parents' house were lined from top to bottom, with art. My room had no music band posters, but I had the privilege of having pieces fromPaula Rego, Júlio Pomar, Botelho. It was very normal for me.

What are the most extraordinary points?
There are many stories really! There are several artists who felt very close, but thePaula Rego and LTheCastro are, undoubtedly, two People I have a very special affection. With LTheCastro, I have memories of being on (island of) Madeira, in a conviviality in the garden with her dog. There was a very human side, a very good aura that always made it a great connection with LThe(Castro).On the one side much more perverse and childish, thePaula Rego. I remember when I was little here, in Portugal, there were no toys like in London, and Paula (Rego) made a point of bringing unbelievable things at that time. I remember these stories from when she brought a plastic retail fly. Nowadays, these things are all banal. It not only brought these things, but there was also a formation ritual. She said: When the soup is served, you without anyone see caught in the fly and subtly put the fly on the plate. It was all things for a child to hear from an adult, it was fascinating. I also remember some capsules, which is used a lot in Carnival today to simulate blood. THEPaula(Rego) said for, When my father was with a very important customer, Put the capsule in the mouth, chew very well and when I felt the "blood" dripping through the mouth appearing to scream. These are stories that I keep with love and are part of a very good relationship that I still have with thePaula Rego. The themes of the works ofPaula Rego They are not the easiest, But the public expresses a great affection for her and for work.

Gallery 111 has several projects simultaneously “in progress”. Are there any who are presenting specific challenges you like to share?
I am very happy with the exhibition we have right now in Gallery 111. The exhibition is called Beast and brings together four artists: Alexandre Conefrey, who ends up signing the curatorship and who joined three friends artists, Pedro A. H. Paixão, Rui Chafes and Rui Moreira. Besides thinking that the exhibition is Very well conceived, I think it addresses topics that are very pertinent and sensitive, which should not be forgotten. We live a war situation and the themes beat not only in war, but also in dictators and colonialism. It turns out to be a very striking exhibition for the times that we are living and Who is It was very pleased to do it. For the visitor it is not an easy -to -see exhibition! For example, one of Rui Chafes's sculptures is thirteen forces, made of iron. A very impactful image, and I realize that there are many people who do not deal well with these images. It is an exhibition that will be patent until May 8th and will coincide with the Arc Week in Lisbon, ending this week.

Rui Chafes |

It has been working in the art world for some time. What is your perception of the state of art in Portugal?
It is a small way that ends up working well, even with our scale is a means that excite us, but sometimes the environment, among artists and colleagues is not the healthiest. It's something that saddens me, because I think there is a market for everyone and audiences for all kinds of approach, so it should be healthier in this regard. With The opening of some foreign galleries and with some international artists and curators The having Portugal on the radar, things have improved and we are The pass through a challenging phase, but healthier.

What themes should be more debated?
I never like me Put in the creative process of artists! For example, in the case of two artists we have on display now: Pedro A. H. Passion and Alexandre Conefrey. The themes addressed in Pedro's work A. H. Passion are a natural thing. He was born in Angola, his great -grandfather had an agriculture factory, ended up growing there and has immense memories of those times. Alexandre Conefrey has always had a fascination and worked with war machines, that is, his work always has a recurring theme. Maybe, when artists have a very evident approach, I think it doesn't work so well.
With the issue of pandemic, there were artists, such as Rui Pedro Jorge who painted his reality. At the time, Rui Pedro Jorge was living in Bucharest, Romania, and looked at the facades of the buildings and saw the dynamics that the houses had, and created in his works these pandemic environments, but in a natural and non -forced way. When artists manufacture a lot or when they try to produce in the expectation of a collector or curator losesm Much this energy and genuine side.

Rui Pedro Jorge |

Can you choose an exhibition that marked it significantly?
It is very complicated to select favorite artists, because I am against labels. I have licensed in art history, and respect from rock engravings to contemporary art, as everything relates. I love to see museums and see pieces baroque and Renaissance. For me there is no cataloging, just because I expose contemporary art, I can't like what is behind?…
Recently, it was very good to produce the exhibition ofPaula Rego, for being an artist by whom I have a great admiration, for the coexistence I always had with her, but also for her work. I had the privilege of seeing her work to evolve closely and often, I use to Paula Rego, as an example of greatness. Like person, It's someone I admire a lot because, despite having reached the success it has achieved, it never changed its way of being, never forgot about friends, never ceased to be generous, never climbed his success. At a time when he was having a retrospective at Tate Britain, in the month em that it was already known that it was going to be one of the great highlights of the VThis year's Eneza, having the privilege of producing a large exhibition that covered various periods of time of her work, was actually remarkable.Running away from the exhibitions of Gallery 111, there is an exhibition that marked me a lot at the La Caixa Foundation in Barcelona, ​​which was called something like “the inner world to the discovery”, which was a confrontation between artists who syncs - artists who had very careers Solid, especially twentieth century, who were known to have a strong personality - and people who were hospitalized in astonishment, diagnosed with identifiable madness. I found this confrontation fascinating! We were previously talking about the essence, and I think these artists have a different and strong energy. It was funny to see this confrontation.

What is your advice to young artists, curators, producers, among other agents, who currently take the first steps in this world?
Maintain a certain humility. I think you should respect everyone and above all, see many exhibitions. Seeing, seeing, seeing is very important! Knowing people, artists, visiting the workshops, and from there, developing their own language and trying to add something that is contemporary, innovative and make us see things from a different perspective. And never forget the human side!
Gallery 111 moved to a new space about two years ago, And that's where I've been the most time. I have made many visits, in order to deconstruct the idea that the gallery is a cold, inhospitable space and where people do not greet themselves. In our space, in addition to the exhibition, there is a six hundred square meter warehouse where we can find a boxing bag and a table of trackles. An imposing space, but also relaxed. Many children who visit exhibitions with schools, later bring the country. The art of fact has a very energy of its own, is special and must be available to everyone. All if they should Feeling good by visiting exhibition spaces such as gallery 111. In the face of the society around us, which is very unfair, I think it is very important to have this human side.

Can you point out a list of national and international artists who are transforming the current artistic panorama? What are the artists with whom you yearns to work?
Hard to answer! In international, more recent level, there are two artists who have transformed the art market. The first is Marcel Duchamp, with the play “Fonte”, which opened the horizons of creativity and was a determining element for how art is produced. The second Andy Warhol, the way the trade of art has classified, how the values ​​have risen and how the multiples massified. Undoubtedly, they are two artists who have transformed the way today we relate to contemporary art.
At the national level, thePaula Rego for the irreverence and the themes it addresses. Often people do not deal well with the themes it addresses. For example, the issue of abortion, when discussing the phenomenalization of the same in Portugal. She had the courage to touch the theme and was one of the influential people to make it happen. Although people think it's eccentric or crazy, she cares a lot about what surrounds her and the themes she addresses, although sometimes she is with some sarcasm. She is a person who is very sensitive and concerned about the society around her. This awareness is very important these days.In historical times in Portugal, the Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso It was a unique case, having gone to France and dealt with the great masters of the height. He had a very different stance on the conservative experience that was living in Portugal. Until April 25, 1974 it was all very closed.
Vieira da Silva is an artist singular. Even today, I see Her works and I feel that there is nothing similar. Also she was in France and lived with many fantastic artists of his height, She was very respected. She is an artist who completely ripped how that she was doing, and even today her work has a very freshness private

Marcel Duchamp |

If you could choose a work of art for your “personal collection”, what would it be?
There is an interview fromPaula Rego, when the house of stories opens, which ask you where ideas come from your paintings. She replies that they are things in life and looks at a painting, starting to report that she painted me to play with a cat in the garden of my parents' house in the 1980s. The cat was playing with the grasshopper and I was playing with the cat. In the interviewPaula Rego She claims she painted me with bustled eyes. This was a picture I liked to have! I didn't care about having a Rothko either. One of the rooms I like to go most is Tate Modern and undoubtedly makes me want a Rothko. There is a funny story from my father! Whenever she went to Amsterdam, she visited the painting of Johannes Vermeer's “The MilkMaid)”, sometimes repeated the days that went to the museum, spending a lot of time looking at the painting. It reached a point that the security guard thought my father was planning the robbery of the work.

What are the five books you recommend reading?
Jack Kerouac's “On the Road” about Route 66. I read this book during the trip, having undoubtedly been remarkable to me. “The error of Descartes” by António Damásio, which addresses The Question of feeling, reason and the aspect of emotions. Valter Hugo Mother's “Spanish Machine”, Oscar Wilde's “The Portrait of Dorian Gray” and “The Candles Burns to the End” by Sandor Marai.

Book |

In recent years we have seen a paradigm shift, with the art world to become increasingly digital. Online sales have been growing exponentially, and recently, the Non-fungible tokens (NFTS), the big news in the art world. What are your perspectives on the online market and NFTs?
For now it is new! There are projects that are pertinent, but at the level of galleries I haven't seen anything to convince me yet. The projects have made some sense, for me, depart from the artists themselves who develop an NFT. This is a way of visibility and capturing some money directly to them. I think NFTs will never replace the concrete work of art. At Art Basel in Miami there was a project only dedicated to the very interesting NFTs, but I think there is still an excessive euphoria especially about the values.

Finally, what are the cultural events that most yearns to visit in 2022?
There is a great enthusiasm on the Venice Biennial, because it is that space where all people of the arts cross and after a pandemic will be a big party, the event of the year.
Regarding the fairs these are in a challenging situation, because before the pandemic were models a lot sold out: the prices of the standss They were very high and the galleries made a great effort to participate. For example, Art Basel in Miami (in December 2020) was well organized and the stands They were very well conceived, but there was no audience. These events continue to happen, But they are no longer as strong, as in other times. I think the fairs have to reinvent themselves!

Paula Rego | 

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