Gabriel Chaile, Principio de Semejanza, 2023
Gabriel Chaile: Principio de Semejanza
Aug 29 – Oct 28, 2023
Fortes D'Aloia & Gabriel
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Principio de Semejanza, Argentinean artist Gabriel Chaile’s first show in Brazil, takes place at Carpintaria and presents new sculptures built between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Manipulating mud and adobe, Chaile articulates the ritual dimensions of his materials in large-scale figurative constructions that weave together formal allusions to classical statuary – like Greek Cycladic sculpture – to indigenous craft – such as Condorhuasi artifacts from the Tucumán region. In this new body of work, the artist deploys a visual configuration inherited from pre-Columbian peoples, taking minute talismans, many of them measuring less than 3cm, and extrapolating their scale into large dimensions.

The figures in the exhibition all have a feminine aspect, with protruding breasts and furrows describing buttocks and genitalia and opulent silhouettes recalling archaic personifications of fertility. Chaile distributes graphic markings on the faces of these works in a tactile exploration of drawing, as if they were immense inscription surfaces. Curiously headless, these bodies might also be seen as hypertrophic masks, in which traces no longer produce organs, members or appendices but wrinkles and lines on a face. This is a new direction in the artist’s practice, which thus far has produced figures whose rounded, cylindrical or almost spherical contours evoked ovens, pots or chimneys.

[ . . . ]

Territorial uprooting and habitation, as two poles in a dynamic relation, unfold into a central question: How is memory constructed and transmitted? His works do not draw out visual frontiers but weave a range of heterogeneous elements without establishing a hierarchy between them. They are illustrations of what Chaile calls “the engineering of necessity,” a procedure he sums up in a lapidary formula: “to work from what I have to give form to what I lack.”

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