Apophenia is the scientific term for a phenomenon that all of us have experienced at some point: the ability to perceive figures, patterns or connections in random details. In other words, apophenia happens whenever we recognise the form of an animal in a cloud, the profile of a face in the silhouette of a mountain or the shape of a continent on the surface of a piece of toast. We know that none of these figures is the result of a prior intention. In reality, they arise from our brain’s tendency to put random details together into groups that make sense, its irrepressible impulse to turn an abstraction into something recognisable and concrete, its inclination to facilitate the emergence of entities that originate from the harmonious interaction of its parts.

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The mechanics of apophenia can help explain some of the history behind this exhibition. Unlike what has happened so far in the Chain Reaction cycle, this is not a solo exhibition, nor is Las Palmas the pseudonym of an artist. Las Palmas is the name of an artist-run space founded in 2017 by Aires de Gameiro, Hugo Gomes, Nuno Ferreira and Pedro Cabrita Paiva. As is often the case with projects of this kind, Las Palmas is not a platform for showing exclusively the works of its founders, but rather one to explore, through solo and group exhibitions, a territory – in this instance, a territory that is constructed as one goes along. As in situationist psychogeography, this territory is not necessarily made of vicinities: it is made of choices, of synchronies, of the encounter between singularities which are sometimes distant, but which recognise and co-opt one another and, by the same token, contribute to the reinforcement of a shared energy.

The energy that has been nurtured by Las Palmas is as exotic in relation to the proverbial good taste and seriousness of Portuguese art as its name suggests. There is no shying away from colour here, nor any holding back from the impulse towards the abject, towards irony, provocation and the feckless. The approach of the artists who orbit in this universe is neither rhetorical, nor discursive, nor can we find on the surface of their works any traces of moralism or attempts to solve the world’s problems. What seems to interest them, above all, is the possibility of exploring a radical ambiguity – something that drifts between states, never settling. This becomes clear when we pay attention to the formats and techniques used – drawings look like prints, paintings forego paint, sculptures expand in space – or when we consider the paradoxes they suggest – the hand that imitates the machine, the painting that wants to be an object, the sculpture that presents itself as an optical experience. However, more importantly, this can be seen in a general tendency to return to the body, to the organic, the flesh, the bowels, the fluid, the sap. The mass, the indistinct, the formless and all the more or less veiled allusions to the presence of living beings (or parts of living beings) bring to this universe an unexpected biomorphism, shifting between the human, the animal and the vegetable.

The coincidences or points of contact between the proposals that belong in the context of this exhibition, and of the universe of Las Palmas in general, are not to be mistaken for a propagandistic initiative. There are no movements or manifestos here, not in the modernist fashion at least. On the contrary: as in apophenia, the gathering of these singularities is circumstantial – a fabrication of the brain, ready to disintegrate if something more pressing, significant or pleasurable presents itself. While it lasts, however, Las Palmas is a space of freedom and ongoing experimentation. A risk shared among peers, national and international, unfolding over a bright fuchsia background.

- Resume
© Renato Cruz Santos
© Renato Cruz Santos
© Renato Cruz Santos
© Renato Cruz Santos
© Renato Cruz Santos
© Renato Cruz Santos
© Renato Cruz Santos
© Renato Cruz Santos
© Renato Cruz Santos
© Renato Cruz Santos
© Renato Cruz Santos
© Renato Cruz Santos
© Renato Cruz Santos
© Renato Cruz Santos

Participating artists


Aires de Gameiro
Lisbon (PT), 1989

Arno Beck
Bonn (DE), 1985

Carlota Bóia Neto
Lisbon (PT), 1996

Catherine Telford-Keogh
Toronto (CA), 1986

Eduardo Fonseca e Silva
Lisbon (PT), 1993

Francisca Valador
Lisbon (PT), 1993

Guillermo Ros
Vinalesa (ES), 1988

Holly Hendry
London (UK),1990

Hugo Brazão
Madeira (PT), 1989

Isabel Cordovil
Lisbon (PT), 1994

Jason Dodge
Newton (USA), 1969

José Taborda
Lisbon (PT), 1994




Lea Managil
Lisbon (PT), 1991

Line Lhyne
Aarhus (DK), 1991

Lito Kattou
Nicosia (CY), 1990

Maria Miguel von Hafe
Guimarães (PT), 1995

Nuno Ferreira
Lisbon (PT), 1991

Pedro Cabrita Paiva
Beja (PT), 1991

Primeira Desordem
Hugo Gomes, Lisbon (PT), 1989
João Marques, Lisbon (PT), 1989

Rowena Harris
Norfolk (UK), 1985

Rui Castanho
Lisbon (PT), 1986

Sara Graça
Lisbon (PT), 1993

Stefan Klein
Memmingen (DE), 1983

Bruno Marchand

Sílvia Gomes

António Sequeira Lopes

Susana Sameiro

Rui Osório

Bruno Fonseca
Renato Ferrão


Aires de Gameiro
Balcony Gallery, Lisboa
CBS – Creative Building Solutions,
Eng. Nuno Abreu
Galeria Duarte Sequeira, Braga
Galleria Franco Noero, Torino
Garcia Néu / Umbigo
Hugo Gomes
Nuno Ferreira
Pedro Cabrita Paiva
Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

And to all those who lent works for the exhibition, preferring to remain anonymous.