The exhibition Inverse Ratio brings together a group of paradigmatic works by Fernando Calhau (Lisbon, Portugal, 1948–2002) drawn from the Serralves Collection and from important collections in long-term loan at the Foundation, showcasing different moments in the artist’s path over four decades and revealing, on one hand, the profound consistency of his practice, and on the other, its surprising ambivalence. Anchored in the rigour of minimal art and in a profound romantic sensibility, Fernando Calhau’s work is replete with contradictions that afford it an unusual complexity, belonging inextricably to the realm of reason and intuition.
In the late 1960s, some years before enrolling in Painting at the Lisbon School of Fine Arts, Fernando Calhau began working with printmaking, establishing from a very young age the principles that would shape his entire artistic practice: the monochrome and the pure form, the serial development of the work, the skill of the hand and its erasure, the attention to the process and the medium, to the time of doing and of looking, to clarity and darkness. Integrating painting, photography, works on paper and large-scale installations, Inverse Ratio reflects the unity and tension that are inherent in Fernando Calhau’s work: despite its apparent simplicity, it requires a long and lingering gaze to uncover its intricacies.
Conceived specifically for the Galeria Municipal de Matosinhos, the exhibition provides a wider audience with the chance to discover the work of this remarkable artist who is a central reference for the Portuguese artistic community. This initiative is part of the Touring Exhibitions Programme of the Serralves Collection, which aims to make the Foundation’s collection accessible to different audiences across the country.
Curated by Joana Valsassina
Production: Fundação de Serralves — Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto