[open the box] Jorge Martins

FIGURE/BACKGROUND by Delfim Sardo

By Culturgest - Fundação Caixa Geral de Depósitos

Untitled (1983) by Jorge MartinsCulturgest - Fundação Caixa Geral de Depósitos

Jorge Martins

Untitled, 1983
Oil on canvas
151 x 150,5 cm
Inventory 213274
© DMF, Lisboa

Jorge Martins’s painting is immensely diverse and now very extensive. His career has spanned an almost encyclopaedic spectrum of the practice of painting (and drawing), alternating between moments of figuration and periods during which openly formal concerns supplant recognition of the forms.

Untitled (1983) by Jorge MartinsCulturgest - Fundação Caixa Geral de Depósitos

In the latter field he has carried out a broad set of paintings on light since 1967, stepping into figuration and into the luminic models since the Renaissance, starting from the base of the metaphor of light that has formed much of rationalist thought since Descartes.

Untitled (1983) by Jorge MartinsCulturgest - Fundação Caixa Geral de Depósitos

The works that belong to the Colecção da Caixa Geral de Depósitos are from a different field, in which the placing of problems of composition, of the unity of the pictorial surface and of rhythm occupy the centre of Martins’s work.

Sometimes in his work (particularly in a set of paintings from the mid-eighties) there is a literalising of one of the main categories of painting, probably the one that has led to most ink flowing over the abstraction/figuration dichotomy: the figure/background relationship. A central aspect in the set of paintings made from forms that stand out on the canvas are “verticals”, which are structured like bodies and which on the inside are fragments of another painting from which they seem to have been taken. The figures that are drawn out on the neutral background of the canvas seem to bring up a questioning on its status as a figure, or of a background that can be glimpsed. A different instance of meaning seems to emerge in their scale and their almost glittering polychrome character, an enormous undecipherable calligraphy, like the blow up of a fragment, the whole canvas.

Untitled (1983) by Jorge MartinsCulturgest - Fundação Caixa Geral de Depósitos

Biography
Jorge Martins was born in 1940 in Lisbon. Between 1957 and 1961 he studied Architecture and Painting at the Escola de Belas-Artes de Lisboa. He emigrated to Paris in 1961, where he remained until 1986 (living from 1975-1976 in New York), before re- turning to Portugal, to settle definitively in 1991. He has held several solo exhibitions in Portugal and abroad, among which: Centre Georges Pompidou (1978), Fun- dação Calouste Gulbenkian (1983, 1988 and 1993), São Paulo Biennial (1985) and Culturgest (2001). His work is represented in several collections, among them being the Fond national d’art contemporain (Paris), the Caixa Geral de Depósitos (Lisbon), the Centro de Arte Moderna – Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisbon), the Fundação Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvi- mento (Lisbon) and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts (Copenhagen).

Bibliography
Jorge Martins, desenhos 1957-1987 (cat.), Lisboa, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 1988.
Jorge Martins, pintura (cat.), Lisboa, Culturgest, 2001.

Credits: Story

Text
© Delfim Sardo, 2009
Biography / Bibliography
© Mariana Viterbo Brandão, 2009
Translation
© David Alan Prescott, 2009

Story production (Collection Caixa Geral de Depósitos)
Lúcia Marques (coordinator)
Hugo Dinis (production assistant)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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