(this page was last updated in July 2018)
Brasília, Brazil, 1989.
Lives and works between Brasília and São Paulo, Brazil.
PIPA Prize 2018 nominee.
Bachelor of Arts from the University of Brasília, Almeida’s research develops through multiple languages like drawing, object, photography, installations, performance and, above all, painting. His production has as its axis the problems of space and walking body, exploring the visuality of the intimate space, the studio, the city, and the natural landscape. He investigates the boundaries between presence and absence, the pictorial space, elements of the painting and its narrative semantics engendering concepts of cloister, phantasmagoria, social rudeness of the architecture of the great urban centers and the drift as a method of study of marginal places and the landscape.
Video produced by Do Rio Filmes exclusively for PIPA Prize 2018:
Brasília born and São Paulo based, David Almeida holds a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Brasília. His work was featured in important awards and art fairs in recent years, such as the 1o Salão Mestre D’Armas and Transborda Brasília – Prêmio de Arte contemporânea, being awarded first prizes in 2013 (12th Salão de Arte de Jataí), 2014 (20th Salão Anapolino de Arte), 2015 (14th Salão de Arte de Jataí once more) and most recently, the I Prêmio Vera Brant de Arte Contemporanea (2016 – Brasília). Almeida also took part in group shows such as ‘Brazil: arbeit und freundschaft’ (Espaço Pivô, São Paulo), ‘Retrato Brasília’ (CCBB – Brasília), ‘20 – Pintura e Pictorialidade em Brasília de 2000/2014’ (Espaço Cultural Marcantonio Vilaça, Brasília), ‘Ondeandaaonda’ and its sequel (Museu da República, Brasília) and “Scapeland – Território de Transito Livre” (Memorial da América Latina, São Paulo), while curating the group show “Turvas Narrativas” (Orlando Lemos Galeria, Belo Horizonte). Solo shows include 2015’s “Sobre habitar o invisível” (Referência Galeria de Arte, Brasília) after artist-in-residence programme at FAAP- São Paulo and 2016’s “Asseidade da Fenda, curated by Ana Roman after the residency at Centro Cultural Elefante. Has recently been nominated for Pipa Prize 2018.
Excerpt from Felipe Ney’s gallery statement at OÁ Galeria.
“David Almeida presents fragments of scenes that, initially, and narratively, engender concepts of cloister, phantasmagoria, at the same time as such representations, especially in large formats, problematize the narrative within a wide pictorial space. They are forms, after all, that appeal to the imagination and make us perceive, by the very situation of spots of colors, forms that acquire names that acquire multiple senses.
That said, the windows, the chairs, the shadows, the walls, the trees, etc. respond more by the way the artist represents them poetically than only by their meanings in their fractured architectural ambiance. The figure/name relationship only gives the observer a certain convergence between the familiarity index and the reading index. Attention: to make a “reading” of the visual work is something that demands care: the prosaic, the phantasmagoric, the kitsch, the non-place, any adjective we use has no critical value if we do not understand that the angular cut of the scene says more about the artist’s way of looking and the behavior of forms than about the scene portrayed, closed in on itself.
A certain dematerialized quality, caused by the use of the complementary pairs of colors – green x red – as well as in the relations between the almost gouache spots of gray, green and white paint (including in the “wires”) contrasts the materiality of the spots that they contain the shadows and the thick lines in black, and which create a disruption at the same time semantic and sensitive between material and immaterial in the pictorial plane. Such plastic ambivalence brings to the perception of the observer an appearance of plural sensations that escape the pure relational binary notation between the elements of the painting and its narrative semantics, even between them and the very limits of the canvas, now taken as a poetic resource.
The large-format canvas also contributes to fragmenting the discourse of the cloister itself and gaining notation of landscapes, whose limits, physical or pictorial, extrapolate their own dialectical circumstance: between what one sees and what one understands, there is the plastic appearance.
The fractured scene finds an expansive, non-constricting force at the physical boundary of the picture. The idea of cloister survives as a narrative index, however, its plastic conformation makes the scene almost intimate, despite the size of the screen. The fragment of a scene is not closed in its previous symptom of closure: the way in which the composition presents itself avoids that we are fixed in a simple narrative, but that it remains present as a set of meanings ready to be (re) imagined.
To put it simply: it is not enough to think briefly about the fractured scene as the synthesis of a pictorial idea – narrative or not. One must imagine how each stain of color behaves as forms of plural senses. This includes looking at the limits of support as an active pictorial element that does not simply contain a synthesis. On the contrary, it activates the imagination and enlarges the senses, once fractured by the authority of the concept and the meanings that direct the gaze.”
“Estar entre” [“to be between”]
Text by Ana Roman and Yonathan Listik
“Meaning begins where presence is not pure presence, but where presence comes apart in order
to be as such. This “how” presupposes the detachment, spacing, and division of presence. Only the concept of “presence” contains the necessity of this division. Pure presence non-shared, presence to nothingness, out of nothing at all – is neither present nor absent. It is the simple implosion of a being that could never have been an implosion without any trace. “Nancy, Jean Luc (2000) [our free translation].
On a Saturday in September 1967, Robert Smithson, an artist from the US landart, buys the New York Times, a book titled Earthworks by Brian W. Aldiss, and a one-way ticket to Passaic, New Jersey. On the way, the artist observes and is touched by landscapes composed of plaques and objects – mostly related to civil construction – that seem to have been left in space as sediments of human action. Such objects, monuments for the artist, testify to the entropy that governs space and human activity. In the account, Smithson finds himself faced with a sandbox “or a desert model” and questions the illusion of control over time and space [Smithson’s eternity] along with the technique: if a child ran inside a bicolor sandbox, these fragments would be mixed and the ephemeral reversibility of this procedure would be possible only in the moving record of the same.
David Almeida places himself, in Aseity of the Crevice, in a position similar to Smithson in front of the sandbox and asks: What is space? Is it that which is between things or would it have an existence that would allow us to enunciate a single thing-space? Like Smithson, David addresses the impossibility of controlling space. However, instead of exploiting the illusion present in the art technique, it witnesses the absence of the thing-space. In its place, there appears the landscape split by a crevice: the presence of the world passes through its own absence, a fact that marks the fragility of existence. A priori empty, the slit brings in itself the presence, for the space between things is what allows them to exist. In stating that the cleft has an assurance, David argues that any presence passes through its spacing.
Through the serigraphs made on steel plates in “Barricade Landscape”, and the series of paintings – and, at the same time, of homogeneous color – the artist’s work affirms that there is nothing beyond what is presented before the viewer, punctuating the impossibility of a complete landscape: there are landscape (s), but never the landscape that seizes the total space. Through the split landscape, the artist’s work finds that space-thing does not exist, but at the same time it states that all that exists is multiple space-things.
The landscapes formed by what we call space-things are mediated by constructive, kinetic, cos, and/or optical constructs constructed by the artist: some resemble playful inventions, others look, themselves, builders and relay meters. When we are invited to interact with such objects – theodolites- we place ourselves in the gap between the painting, the devices and our repertoire about the landscapes. Mechanisms cannot take us to landscapes. They show, through the experience of spacing, the fact of non-conciliation between reality and its image.
In an apparent contrast, in the series entitled “Monuments Elected”, composed by photos made by the artist and people close to him, David places himself as a researcher of human traces left in the landscape and, by registering them, elevates them to the status of private monuments. In approaching such images, made in distant places and of diverse authorship, he seeks to mend the crevice, creating a scar that marks the constant and tangent reconciliation between space-things. A punctual touch of contiguity, without any extension. That is, it meets the assertiveness of the rupture. In the spacing that lies the profanity power of the “Aseity of the Crevice”: the crevices through which we experience space are flung through these objects-devices, paintings, and photographs. Like Smithson, David compels us to confront the records of our reality, for the traces that make up his landscapes indicate to us our own experience of the world – where the dimensions of space and time are constantly stressed. David proposes to us the discovery of residues, remnants and looseness in seeing and thinking.
“Sobre habitar o invisível” [” about inhabiting the invisible”]
By Suzzana Magalhães
An essay on another white cube.
From the relation of an artist to the four walls that surround him for years: at the same time that they frame the painter in a limited space, they acquire such importance in their research that they end up mixing almost in a symbiosis to their work. And so, this is what he explains in his paintings: the daily life of an artist in his studio.
We find here the infinite narratives that exist in limited spaces: that every existing and painted crack in a painting tells a story; that every change in the environment is thought by the artist; that every nuance of the light variations of their screens was observed. That, in fact, there are infinite particulars within a simple atelier.
An essay on the cloister.
When he encounters a great irony, he finds himself in an environment which, while he had certainly received innumerable artists, maintained his existence in a generic way – there nothing could be touched or altered; nothing could be changed; nothing could have records or scars; there were no stains on the walls; there were no gutters; there were no cracks in the ceiling, no mold in the corners of the house; there was no evidence that anyone had ever lived there. However, it is known that the venue hosted numerous artists who had it as a studio – but without records. Invisible lives and existing memories, however imperceptible, occupying an imaginary space between four walls.
The manifesto for freedom or essay about everyday life: where nothing happens.
About being free.
To derive: what is tried to seize is this nothingness or almost nothing. The day-to-day full of repetitions, of objects that do not change place, There is no beginning, there are no means, there is no end.
Counterpoints. New Derivatives: relation of the artist to the urban space. The invention of solitude: the relationship of Vincent van Gogh and his atelier.
The space that encloses it; the portrait of pruned freedom; the opposite movement: the liberation of the white cube, the paths through the city, the landscapes beyond the walls of the studio as a world to be known; the meeting of the artist and the landscape, the realization that it is a body located in space, be it between intact and white walls, or in a gray street in Sao Paulo.
An essay on inhabiting the invisible.
It is the landscape and the record of how it changes. It is necessary, however, to take a close look to be able to derive – seeing the details in a very specific way, finding denunciations of everyday existences, as well as painting the scars of the white walls of an atelier, are an attitude of the artist before your work and your life.
The way of seeing the memories scratched both on the walls of a studio and in the urban landscape, denounces the relation of the artist to space. Phenomenology: the artist appropriates the world by overlapping his visions, seeing the landscape through his personal and intimate experiences. Spaces that do not need the artist to exist; however, he would not know how to exist without them.
Points of congruence: the studio attaches itself to the city because of the impossibility of the artist interfering in these spaces, due to the inexistence of intimate and personal spaces. Even though in time he modifies the studio, even the studio never needed it to exist. He was already there and he appropriates the space and occupies it, he takes it for himself.
text by Matias Monteiro
Theo Van Doesburg once said that the summit of the mountains was an ideal model for the painter’s studio: an unchanging landscape obliterated by a perpetual layer of snow. In addition to a scenario of glacial asepsis, the summit of the mountain is the image of the very suspension of time (immutable / perpetual). Painting, in essence, is an idle waiting, and in that sense, the painter’s studio is a cabinet of time.
However, your studio does not have the Olympic solemnity of the mountain summit (Petrarch ascended Mount Ventoux only to discover that this solemnity was not there), but your work seems to sense from this space the harshness of suspended time. Here, architecture becomes a geology of sedimentary duration. Your palette so summarized (Brown Van Dyck, Napoleon’s Yellow, white, and charcoal) seem to converge in an image at once telluric and sepia, as if the memory of the gaze and the memory of the earth were accomplices as if all memory was just the glimpse of a dusty look.
Your attention turns repeatedly to the eaves, to the corners, to the vertices … all places in which time folds, leans over itself, will pout. The bench as a specter and mist, the slate floor as a dense, oblique shadow, to look like a perpendicular incident: this is an architectural phantom! The phantasmagoria of a room reduced to driving forces: lines, cuts, colors, shadows … The derealization, the demarcation of the space as pictorial matter. Architecture disrupts its function as a facilitator of spatial experience and becomes itself a haunting of the world. What do you operate is a geometry of loss? An Orthogonal Enclestration Exercise?
We are hounded by the space that shelters us (intimacy and intimation are attributes that are too close), and the hostility inherent in architecture becomes a challenge to inhabit. The wall is a wall, an impassable obstruction to the path and an insurmountable obstacle to the look. Our body, always solicitous, drains, flows through the architecture, responds to its recesses. We condition it and we are conditioned by it. When you paint your atelier, what are you looking for? I wonder if you only want to understand this constricted body, this contracted movement, restricted by a place as if you were trying to investigate whether there is room here for an autonomy of the gesture, even a poetic gesture …
Here, atelier still. Atelier, once again. And yet, one dreams of lengths: the cardinal points are outside (so often their titles evoke vacant spaces: a room, a corner, a remote). Here there is no space but another, no time if not obsolete. Your geometry seems to be adept at an imbalance. Jean Cocteau warns us: time is a prospective phenomenon. Your dead-landscapes, haunting, so dense that even the shadows appear massive, so hazy that the slightest murmur threatens to dispel them completely … of them, there is nothing left of the mountain, not even the howl or the hissing. Only time remains as a mountain; as a geological monolith, a single piece, obstruction in front of which, it is not possible to proceed.
Matias Monteiro Brasília, July 2014
Solo Exhibitions (selected)
– “Asseidade da Fenda”, curated by Ana Roman. Elefante Centro Cultural, Brasilia, Brazil
– “Sobre Habitar o Invisível”, curated by Suzzana Magalhães, Referencia Galeria de Arte, Brasília, Brazil
– “Elogio ao Obstáculo”, curated by Matias Monteiro, Galeria Inverso, Brasilia, Brazil
– 9º Salão dos Artistas Sem Galeria, Zipper Galeria, Galeria Sankovsky e Orlando Lemos Galeria, São Paulo and Belo Horizonte, Brazil
– “Scapeland – Território de Transito Livre”, Memorial da América Latina, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Dialetos II”, Centro Cultural São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Conexões”, Referência Galeria de Arte , Brasília, Brazil
– “Narrativas Fronteiriças”, OÁ Galeria de Arte, Vitória, Brazil
– “UNS”, group show, Espaço BREU, Brazil
– “Library of Love”, Contemporary Art Center, Cincinatti, USA
– “Os Fios e a Trama” , Exposição coletiva, Referência Galeria de Arte, Brazil
– “Eu estou Possuído”, curated by Marcio Tavares, LABART760, Porto Alegre, Brazil
– “Onde Anda a Onda II”, Museu Nacional da República, Brasília, Brazil
– I Prêmio Vera Brant de Arte Contemporânea, Palácio do Buriti, Brasília, Brazil
– “Transborda Brasília 2016”, Caixa Cultural Brasilia, Brazil
– 1st Salão Mestre D’Armas, Museu Histórico de Planaltina, Brazil
– “Sobre o que pode ser familiar”, Arte Londrina 4, Brazil
– Stand A4, Referência Galeria de Arte, Brasília, Brazil
– “Turvas Narrativas”, Orlando Lemos Galeria, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
– 14th Salão de Arte de Jataí, MAC Jataí, Brazil
– “OndeAndaAOnda”, Museu Nacional da República, Brasília, Brazil
– “Frequentes Conclusões Falsas”, Orlando Lemos Galeria, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
– “Trajetórias”. Galeria Pintura Brasileira, São Paulo, Brazil
– “20 – Pintura e Pictorialidade em Brasília de 2000/2014”, Espaço Cultural Marcantonio Vilaça, Brasília, Brazil
– Feira Artigo, Orlando Lemos Galeria booth, Finalist of Revelation Award, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Retrato Brasília”, CCBB Brasília, Brazil
– 20o Salão Anapolino de Arte, Galeria Antonio Sibasolly, Anápolis, Goiás, Brazil
– “Iverossímeis, Diálogos”, Espaço Piloto, UnB. Brasília, Brazil
– “BRAZIL: ARBEIT UND FREUNDSCHAFT”, curated by Pedro Caetano, Espaço Pivô, São Paulo, Brazil
– 42th Salão de Arte Contemporânea Luiz Saciloto, Santo André, Brazil
– “Referência Feira de Arte – Novos Eixos”, Referencia Galeria de Arte, Brasilia, Brazil
– 20th Salão de Arte de Praia Grande, São Paulo, Brazil
– 19th Salão Anapolino de Arte, Galeria Antonio Sibasolly, Anápolis. 12º Salão de Arte de Jataí, MAC Jataí, Brazil
– Graduation Exhibition 2012.2, Espaço Piloto – UnB, Brazil
– “Havia um ar de Leveza”, curated by Suzzana Magalhães, Aliança Francesa, Brasilia, Brazil
– 2º Salão de Artes Visuais das Regiões Administrativas do DF, Galeria Van Gogh, Sobradinho, Brazil
– “Presença das Ideias”, curated by Laurem Crossetti, Galeria UnB, Brasília, Brazil
– I Prêmio Vera Brant de Arte Contemporanea – 1st Place
– 14º Salão de Arte de Jataí -1st Place
– 20º Salão Anapolino de Arte – Awarded artist
– 12º Salão de Arte de Jataí – Awarded artist
– “Monolitos, ou Guaritas para a memória”, text for the exhibition “When the curve finds itself”, Henrique Detomi’s solo show, Sesi Minas, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
– “Turvas Narrativas”, group exhibition with the presence of 21 Brazilian artists, Orlando Lemos Galeria, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
– “Sobre manchas e outros seres”, Luisa Gunther’s solo show, Galeria Inverso, Brasília, Brazil
– “Quando estava prestes a ir embora”, David Almeida. Author’s edition, Brasília, Brazil
– “A condição bidimesional do desconforto”, David Almeida. Author’s edition, Brasília, Brazil
– Elefante Centro Cultural, Brasília, Brazil
– Residência FAAP, Edifício Lutetia, São Paulo, Brazil