The point of departure of Gonçalo Sena’s practice, one of the key representatives of the youngest generation of Portuguese artists, is space. Although at first hand it may seam that at the centre of his interest is the possibility of architectural intervention, i.e. intervention into space, the origins of his practice are rooted within the domain of the situational, frequently performative potential of an applied combination of materials, and their interaction in a given space. Space is a stage for Sena, a stage for the encounter of natural materials, which through their position, or relation to one another, and frequently also towards the spectator, generate a form of tension and possibilities. Suspension in time, a capturing of a moment right before an event, growing expectations, but also subtle humour, are all elements that can be located in Sena’s practice.

Fascination with material, possibilities of its treatment, but also a continuous aim to operate between the borders of media categories, is yet another important aspect symptomatic for the artists work. This tendency becomes pertinent namely in Sena’s current body of drawing. Here the artist combines drawing with materials used for his objects. While some of his object-based work builds up on the illusion of a flat surface, his drawings embody a third dimension. Although the formal earmarks of Sena’s practice resonate, and can therefore be reduced to an easy classification of the 1970’s conceptualist legacy, the merging and layering of techniques and approaches, i.e. the process based, performative, inter-media nature of his work, paired with frequent use subtle humour, make Gonçalo Sena’s practice within the context of today unique and relevant.

Markéta Stará

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