Green Sheen


Solo Show at Espaço Cultural Mercês, Lisbon — October, 2021

Daily we are confronted with the limits between the natural and the artificial, between the real and the imaginary, how each seeps through the other and what are, if any, the boundaries that we should establish between both. The wilderness can be a place of refuge and wonder, but of fear and abjection as well, like some invasive thing.

“Green Sheen” refers to a natural but polished thing, to a surface that is simultaneously natural, green and organic, but also artificially shiny and imaculate. Green Sheen is also actually the name of the process of comunicating a false impression that a certain product or idea is natural, healthy or, in general, greener.

Through an improvised, staged, nature, this show impels us to reflect on our paradoxical relation between the status of wilderness as a place of escape and enchantment, but also as a place of abjection and fear. In this exhibition we are presented with a set of installations of paintings and objects that create ambiences with made-up plants, inspired in exotic and foreign flora.
 It also draws upon less desirable natural stuff like bugs and weeds, strange creatures, rubble, ruins and hidden or forgotten things. The transformation of these things into plastic and pictorial objects is accomplished through its placement in the exhibition space. However, this is a staged nature, and thus displays itself as admittedly artificial, simultaneously captivating and sterile, and the picturesque is confronted with the precarious.

Similarly, painting seems to expand beyond its tradition rectangle and enter our space. Painting infects reality, our palpable world, and the two-dimensional spreads to the three-dimensional. Dimensions affect each other and their limits are no longer evident. Painting and greenery invade space that is not their own, like weeds sprouting from visible surfaces, fictionalising a place where reality and imagination at last meet.

— Rafaela Nunes, September 2021