Astro Turf


Solo Show at Safra, Lisbon — October, 2021

Astro Turf suggests an astral terrain, a cosmic lawn. Space, the final frontier. The last territory still out there for grabs, at least through our imagination. It is, indeed, a fertile land to conceive fantasies, since it is from outer space that we imagine strange alien things and creatures originate. It is a place of refuge, of escape, the possibility of different/alternate lives and worlds beyond our own.

Astro Turf is also, in fact, the brand name of the first synthetic turf ever made. A convenient alternative to real grass, appealing and of easy maintenance, that didn’t need the intensive watering, mowing and care. It is an artifice that exists in substitution of something else, and that simulates it to conveniently occupy the small, and necessarily practical, urban gardens.

The group of works shown situates itself precisely between the utopic territory of a cosmic lawn and the precarious simulation of that same fantasy.
Small, intimate, spaces are shown inside and outside of the canvas, where the universe inside the paintings erupts through the labyrinthine interior and exterior spaces of Safra, through its urban jungle, creating supernatural apparitions of unusual creatures, things and places.

It is in this interstitial and magic zone that we are invited to enter, populated by apotropaic beings with insinuated stories. Inserted in inhospitable situations and sublime spaces, these creatures seem like purgatorial amulets against obscure omens, concealed beyond the limits of the visible.

Immersed in lights, sounds, plants, lakes, smiles, photos, flowers, flavours and other artificial things from our everyday life, we might imagine prairies with comfortable green lawns and adorable animals, but when we actually sit down the ground might be, after all, rough and infested with bugs. All that remains for us is to play make-believe.

— Rafaela Nunes, 2021