London-based Portuguese artist Diogo Pimentão focuses on the basis of artistic creation; rediscovering and altering the use of graphite and paper; the artist derails them from the practice of ‘drawing’ and bestows them with a newly found sculptural quality.
His minimalist approach to the mediums sees his two main utensils being used in an unconventional way, as the pencil is not a carrier of a message and paper is not its bearer; the two mediums complement one another as they surpass their original purpose, creating a new object defying human perception.
Sitting on the border between the figurative and the abstract, Diogo Pimentão’s artworks seem to emerge from an altered reality; the paper transforms as the artist repeatedly folds it, leaving his technique impossible to guess from the final result. His elusive method of work introduces the first of the many dualities his artworks encompass, as his ‘statues’ and their simplicity are the evidence of Pimentão’s linear and practical flux of thoughts, which is simultaneously complex and metaphysical.
Diogo’s artworks emerge as sculptures due to their shapes and size; the paper, hence, becomes a mean of construction as it’s folded and made three-dimensional, abandoning its original flat state and becoming stone-like.
The transcendence of the mediums, however, doesn’t erase their prior state, but rather, creates a new sense of duality. The sheet of paper and the graphite are intrinsically both strong and fragile: it takes no effort to tear a sheet of paper apart, or to snap a pencil in half – but, at the same time, those objects retain the power of carrying powerful messages.
The three-dimensional presence of the artworks seems to qualify them as statues, but the presence of paper obstructs that line of thought, derailing it towards the practice of drawing; as they are in the suspension of a definition, the artworks suddenly reveal their performative act to the observer.
The paper, thus, visually evolves into metal as the artist bends it and covers it in graphite giving it a new nature altogether. As a matter of fact, the artist completely detaches the material from the final artwork and only defines it technically as ‘graphite and paper’.
Those mirrored qualities are equally presented in Diogo’s artworks, as the artist lifts and moves his deceptively light artworks with effortless gestures. The monolith-like sculptures look heavy in their angular shapes; their stability is seemingly bestowed by the organic properties of stone and metal – which are present, but only as a thin layer of graphite that evenly covers the surface of the hollow artwork.
The artist’s repetitive act of folding the sheet of paper confers a sense of exploration of the medium’s capabilities, in the scope of achieving balance. The artist folds the paper in ways to let it stand – but also to give it identity: the statue stands with its own meaning, detaching itself from the artist and surpassing the expressionist notions that artworks intrinsically carry emotions; in the artist’s own words, “[…]It was never about an assemblage of materials but what could spring from them. The spectator takes into account the process, he or she feels it or perceives it if you want, with no expressionist indicator. That projection is important to me.”
The lightweight medium stands, stabilised by the sharp folds in it – creating a new object, which, in its place of existence, performs the act of being handmade, while also seeming shaped by industrial machines given its artificial look and hidden techniques used to alter it.
The artworks exist between natural and artificial, finding themselves at a constant place between dualities that equally describe the ‘sculptures’: heavy, yet lightweight – folded, yet revealing. Sturdy, yet frail.
In the ongoing search of a final balance among all the opposite qualities, the artist delivers the spectator a perfectly balanced performance of coexistence.