First published on 23 September 2019
raul mourão | frieze london 2019 | teaser
As a result of almost a decade’s worth of research on Rio de Janeiro’s buildings’ security fences, which physically separate Brazil’s people, supposedly protecting some from others–shielding but also jailing, preserving but also fragmenting communities–Raul Mourão developed an investigation into the idea of opposition. In the artist’s words, ‘We are living in a moment of opposition, of the good versus the bad, the poor versus the rich, the left versus the right—there is no middle ground’. In his work, the artist has found fences, which are so common and so intrinsic to the urban architecture of his hometown, to embody the fundamental aspects of these opposites. The works which will be on view at Frieze are deviations and re-adaptations of these fences, a re-interpretation of contemporary socio-political division, balanced so as to also instigate a contradicting feeling within us. They create a desire to touch and engage with the work, all while triggering an inevitable fear of their fragility.
Raul Mourão chose to show these large, almost monumental sized sculptures next to his smaller works, as a way to scale his oeuvre. He believes his large sculptures do not fit into human dimensions, they are not part of our everyday. His small pieces intertwine his work with the mundane–a beer, a glass of water, a brick – those are items that are within the proportions of every day, and thus, infusing the ordinary with what he calls the toxic polarisation of our era.