The Asian Gambler's Promised Land
Macau – the Asian gamblers’ promised land – has it all. Dazzled by the delusions of urban multicolored lightings and the contrast with the Portuguese heritage forever engraved in the azulejos (the typical Portuguese earthenware tiles), the passer-by is immediately caught between nostalgia and a certain futurist pleasure.
In this city of fame and glory, mainland Chinese entertain themselves at endless casinos and enjoy the finest experience at luxury shopping malls and grand hotels. Amongst them, stands the famous Mandarin Oriental linked to One Central mall, sitting magnificently in the Macanese landscape. One Central is home to the largest Asian flagship stores of international luxury brands including Gucci, Dolce Gabbana and Louis Vuitton – proudly expanding on the four floors of the mall.
Art is of paramount importance at One Central. Holding two to three exhibitions per year, the mall has noted an increased interest towards art. This year, as part of Le French May, Art Plural Gallery together with One Central and Mandarin Oriental present Living Sculptures, an exhibition of Pablo Reinoso from April, 25 to July 14, 2013.
Fitting in this context celebrating frivolity and excess, Pablo Reinsoso’s eleven sculptures exhale stability, elegance and abstraction, sparking off an essential dialogue with the impressive crowd of visitors. Indeed, the Chinese seem particularly sensitive to abstraction. Rooted in Taoism that praises a non-representational form of beauty (though the relevance of the “void”, the “empty” and the “nihility”, recurrent in the texts), abstraction is all the more crucial in Chinese culture as the development of abstract art in China has known an unprecedented peak since the 1980s. The wooden and steel lines looming out of Pablo Reinoso’s sculptures, freeing themselves from the prime functionality of the object are thus highly significant to the Chinese visitors.
“I am extremely pleased to discover the installation in One Central. My sculptures seem to interact in a very special way with this luxurious place and there is a good energy coming out. I am very happy to show my work in Macao and to receive such attention from the public and the media”, says Pablo Reinoso, delighted to exhibit in Asia for the second time after his solo show in Singapore.
Spider Bench, the five-meter length steel masterpiece, sprawls in the large atrium of the mall, curling around and inviting the mind to a sweet reverie scrolling around the curbs. It is as if the bench itself was drawing the vagrancy of the mind when the body sits on it. Indeed, Pablo Reinoso introduces functionality in his art as Yves Klein did with the blue monochrome. But the art piece transcends functionality or color as the dream transcends the body’s grounded reality. In Chaises Patras, the seat is but a vague memory. While the structure of a chair is still materialized – replicated into a fan of four inclined pieces -, a hole stands in place of the seat turning it into an “unseatable” chair. Paradoxically provocative, Pablo Reinoso is questioning the chair, propelling it to an unknown artistic territory where boundaries wander in continuous fluxes, never fixed nor determined. Revisiting design and playing with constraints in a humoristic tone, it looks like he is whispering to the visitor: “never take things as they are”. Twisting the traditional public bench in Aluminium Bench, he intertwines several boards on which we can easily picture two flirting people encouraged to sit closer to each other. Meanings and shapes are translated through imagination as in Silla Peluda, a “prêt-à-porter chair” composed with two wooden Thonet chairs facing each other as well as long hair made with vegetal fiber. As the artist is explaining the concept around this chair, he suddenly lifts it to wear it on his head… There stands all the beauty of Pablo Reinoso’s art: a shifted functionality offering a different and unusual solution to a given equation. His sculptures go beyond the object: it is your turn to be surprised.