Who is Pedro Cabrita Reis? 5 Facts about the Portuguese artist with the greatest international recognition

Quem é Pedro Cabrita Reis? 5 Factos sobre o artista portuguese com maior reconhecimento internacional

Pedro Cabrita Reis was born in 1956 in Lisbon, where he currently lives and works. His work was increasingly recognized internationally, thus becoming crucial and decisive for the understanding of sculpture from the mid-1980s onwards. His work encompasses a wide variety of media – painting, sculpture, photography and drawing. Learn more about the Portuguese artist.

 1.One of the most internationally recognized Portuguese artists

Pedro Cabrita Reis is considered one of the greatest Portuguese artists today. Today, he lives and works in Lisbon, the city where he was born in 1956. But it's not just here that his work is recognized. His works have been part of several international exhibitions, such as Documenta IX, which took place in Kassel, Germany, and the 24th Bienal de São Paulo. In 2003, he represented Portugal at the Venice Biennale, in Italy.


 2.Versatility is the strength of Pedro Cabrita Reis' practice

One of the most striking features of Pedro Cabrita Reis' work is its versatility, especially when accompanied by an intense subversive and surprising capacity. If, on the one hand, it has the ability to build exemplary exhibitions in some of the best museums, it also manages to relate rigorously and intelligently with non-institutional spaces. His complex work can be characterized by an idiosyncratic philosophical and poetic discourse that encompasses a wide variety of media: painting, sculpture, photography, drawing and installations composed of industrial and found materials and manufactured objects. Using simple materials and undergoing constructive processes, Cabrita recycles almost anonymous reminiscences of primordial gestures and actions repeated in everyday life. Confusing in words, he believes more in the power of intervention than in common sense as a permanent attitude. Pedro Cabrita Reis, works with remains of civilization and construction material. Time after time he creates new spaces or reinterprets old ones. The complex theoretical and formal diversity of Pedro Cabrita Reis' work stems from an anthropological reflection, which is opposed to the reductionism of sociological discourse. In fact, it is on silences and questions that the work of Pedro Cabrita Reis is based and built.


 3.Pedro Cabrita Reis was the guest artist to design the new tabs for RTP2

Pedro Cabrita Reis is the artist behind the new RTP2 tabs. In white, black, cleaner or with more ink, the protagonist of this experience is the number 2 that unifies this whole act. The idea was inspired by the short videos starring Pablo Picasso at the end of the 1940s. The Portuguese artist wanted to make this bridge in time and in the history of art, through this moment that is personalized in Picasso's action. Cabrita Reis' work can already be seen on the RTP2 antenna.

Pedro Cabrita Reis | Magazine | P55.ART


4.Pedro Cabrita Reis exhibited in the Louvre garden

The sculpture by Pedro Cabrita Reis, in the Tuileries garden, at the Louvre, was a work included in the Temporada Cruzada Portugal-França. The Louvre Museum invited him, gave him complete freedom and the result was a sculpture in Portuguese cork, with a base in corten steel. Pedro Cabrita Reis stated that he sought inspiration from “Les Trois Grâces”, a work from classical antiquity. Pedro Cabrita Reis assumes classical antiquity as a preferred source of interest and inspiration. Hence the choice for this work, the theme Les Trois Grâces. This was the first work in which the artist used cork. Pedro Cabrita Reis stated that the artist must always be open to new experiences, but that it is also a political choice: "first of all in the authorial sense, because the artist must be aware of curiosity and open-mindedness" to experiment with different ways of creating and , then, because if the Portugal – France Season is an operation of reciprocal cultural diplomacy – but also political and economic – it seemed appropriate to bring to this exhibition material that is unequivocally Portuguese”. Pedro Cabrita Reis adds that the “marriage between cork and steel goes through my own life as an author. By bringing corten steel to this project, what I bring is a bit of my previous history. The corten steel bases, which belong to an earlier moment in my career, are also the bases of a sculpture in new material. What was a relative past sustains the creation of a present that continues”. The Three Graces were prominent in the vegetation of the Tuileries, in the many sculptures that lurk among the bushes that surround the Louvre. The plaques that mark the work show a creator “the greatest artist of the Portuguese scene”, “an object of international recognition” who “confronts tradition and renews an old theme, very present in the collections of the Louvre museum, namely in art Greco-Roman”.

Pedro Cabrita Reis | Magazine | P55.ART


5.Pedro Cabrita Reis has participated four times in the Venice Biennale

This year Pedro Cabrita Reis was representing Portugal at the 59th edition of the Venice Biennale with the work “Field”, an unprecedented large sculpture designed for the Church of San Fantin. This is the fourth time that the Portuguese artist participates in the Venice Biennale, in Italy, after having been present in the editions of 1997, 2003 (year in which he represented Portugal) and 2013. The work resulted from a partnership between the Portuguese artist and to his galleries Kewenig (Berlin), Sprovieri (London), Mai 36 (Zurich) and Magazzino (Rome). According to the newspaper Expresso, the installation had a geometric pattern of parallel lines, “Field” occupied the central nave of the church from the entrance to the altar, allowing circulation around it. The sculpture is made up of a metal structure of 128 pieces, where 640 white LED tubes will be placed, powered by a mesh of electrical wires. Over these metal structures will be a glass top and an irregular layer of material from demolitions, which contrasts with the more geometric and defined shapes of the metal structures and lighting. Radiating light in a landscape of wreckage, Pedro Cabrita Reis evokes “the eternal conflict between Light and Darkness, which, for the Artist, is testimony to the human condition itself”. Pedro Cabrita Reis has participated in international exhibitions, such as Documenta IX and XIV in Kassel in 1992 and 2017, the 21st and 24th Bienals of São Paulo, respectively in 1994 and 1998, the Venice Biennale in 1997. In 2003, he represented Portugal at the Bienal of Venice, in 2013 he presented “A Remote Whisper”, 55th Venice Biennale and participated in the Xème Biennale de Lyon, “The Spectacle of the Everyday”, Lyon, 2009.

Pedro Cabrita Reis | Magazine | P55.ART

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