A STRANGE ERGONOMICS
Rui Chafes’s sculptures are sometimes unhealthy objects, violent intuitions of martyrdom, sacrifice and death. Often they do not hesitate faced with the decorative possibility of a transformed body, whether through massacre, through the sensed violence of prosthetics, through the lyricism obtained by the paradox of the floating of a weight that seems immense. Chafes’s works possess a powerful capacity to construct universes that confront us by changing our affective relationship with the space and the body – furthermore because, as replacements for bodies, as prolongings of members, armour or machines with a strange and dangerous ergonomics, they are “others” of ourselves in space.
Rui Chafes produce iron sculptures, which makes his work a rare case in contemporary sculpture, given that the majority of artists work with an enormous diversity of processes, materials and techniques. Unlike this tendency towards generalisation, of the idea of art in general, or of art in the broader sense, Rui Chafes opted, as a narrow programme, to carry out all of his activity through the use of “monomaterial”, thus finding an effective specialisation in the malleability of iron, in its specific characteristics of weight, as well as in the possibility of the permanent alchemic evocation of the forge.
His sculptures thus contain a halo of disadjustment, of obsolete beauty, which transforms them into strange creatures, beautiful and dangerous ortotheses, hypothetical prolongings of bodies we do not know, but which are somewhat dubiously related to ours.