José Pedro Croft

ANOTHER BODY by Delfim Sardo

Culturgest - Fundação Caixa Geral de Depósitos

Untitled (2002) by José Pedro CroftCulturgest - Fundação Caixa Geral de Depósitos

José Pedro Croft

Untitled, 2002
Galvanized iron and glass
150 x 200 x 250 cm
Inventory 540622
© Laura Castro Caldas / Paulo Cintra

It is not difficult to describe this sculpture by José Pedro Croft. It is a plaster block on the seat of a Thonnet chair which has had its legs cut off so it can rest directly on the floor. We can repeat this description over and over but it will never exhaust the density of this sculpture – any more than the simple elements that it’s made of. Although we recognize the elements, they do not translate the strangeness of the sinking into the ground that the chair seems to have undergone due to the excess weight of the block, as if this were a monolith that brutally demonstrated the force of gravity. During this phase of his work Croft often used tables and chairs, items of furniture that are part of our most elementary relationship with the house, but which are also three-dimensional metaphors of our body. Chairs are visual replacements for a body, not only because of their obvious ergonomics, but because they are associated with a set of common metaphors about absence (the expression “empty chair” refers more to the body that doesn’t sit there than the chair itself).

Untitled (1985) by José Pedro CroftCulturgest - Fundação Caixa Geral de Depósitos

José Pedro Croft

Untitled, 1985
Marble
180 x 58 x 60 cm
Inventory 234956
© José Manuel Costa Alves

The use of amputated or sawn-off chairs associated with geometric white solids is equivalent to the counterpoising between the memory of the human body and abstracted and assertive sculptural modernism. Yet there is another fact that comes to the surface of Croft’s sculpture at that time and which lies in the figuration of the matter through the weight of a compact and inescapable shape. Sometimes that figuration of weight is connected to an unstable balance. In one way or another, the destination of these sculptures is to go, through the channel of the human scale, towards our bodily perception, speaking to us of the nature of the sculptural without any metaphor, without any symbolism, without any rhetoric. Their intensity derives from the bodily sensitivity they activate, from placing us like a mobile mass in one space in relation to another that possesses a human reminiscence in the figurative nature of the furniture they use.

Untitled (1995) by José Pedro CroftCulturgest - Fundação Caixa Geral de Depósitos

After these works Croft’s sculpture would often use mirrors that suck us into the spaces of his interventions; it would change from this bodily scale to another, architectural one.

In either of the cases there is a shocking and at the same time deeply human nature, whether through the alterity they provide us with or through the inhabitability or spatial imbalance they imply.

José Pedro Croft’s sculpture is our body and believes that the spirit is a part of it.

Untitled (1995) by José Pedro CroftCulturgest - Fundação Caixa Geral de Depósitos

José Pedro Croft

Untitled, 1995
Wood and plaster
90 x 140 x 60 cm
Inventory 373212
© Laura Castro Caldas / Paulo Cintra

Biography
José Pedro Croft was born in Oporto in 1957. He lives and works in Lisbon. Between 1976 and 1981 he attended the Painting course at the Escola Superior de Belas-Artes de Lisboa. He has exhibited since 1983, having presented his work in several different exhibitions in Portugal and abroad, among which one should highlight the retrospectives at the Centro Cultural de Belém (Lisbon, 2002), and the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea (Santiago de Compostela, 2003). He is represented in several institutional and private collections: Centro de Arte Moderna – Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisbon), the Fundação Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvimento (Lisbon), the Fundação de Serralves (Oporto), the Colecção Berardo (Lisbon), the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid), and the Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo (Badajoz), among others.

Bibliography
Paisagem interior, José Pedro Croft (cat.), Lisboa, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 2007.
José Pedro Croft, escultura, gravura (cat.), Porto, Fundação de Serralves, 2008.

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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