Paloma Bosquê is first and foremost a sculptor. Her practice draws largely on her daily routine of selecting and handling materials at her studio in São Paulo. In a constant search for a balance between found and made elements, the artist often develops specific methods to combine, juxtapose and merge these materials without forcing them to a definitive interaction. This deliberate refusal of “aggressive” juxtapositions (such as screwing or welding things together) gives a specific timing to the process, thus creating a special intimacy between the artist and her components of choice. Bosquê’s sculptures reveal the poetic potential of their materials, while reminding us of art’s inherent condition as a place completely devoid of immediacy.
For her first solo show in Belgium, the artist has proposed new arrangements – or agreements – between materials she has been investigating for the past few years. Inventory features around twenty tridimensional works made with the materials and methods that constituted the artist’s vocabulary in the past few years: brass, lead sheets, handmade felt, casted bronze, coal, gum rosin, melted beeswax, sewn beef casing, artisanal paper, coffee sieves and wool. In typical art world jargon, one would say that an artist is presenting a “new body of work” – as if they are continuously pulling rabbits out of a hat. Indeed, the pieces on view in the show are new – as in recently made – but they develop on previously used materials and tested processes. Therefore, Bosquê proposes a change in vocabulary, or attitude; she is not seeking up to date results or innovation through form, but new ways of engagement with it, without indulging in modernist ideals of unprecedented achievement. Her delicate visual universe critically deals with the socio-political, metaphysical and aesthetic dimensions of the materials available in the world and our actions towards them.
Taking over three rooms of Mendes Wood DM’s gallery in Brussels, the works on view elaborate on the artist’s previous experiments with spatial installations and sculptural display . In the largest room – facing the Sablon church – the artist installed a large plinth (of approximately five meters long and two meters wide) to support a meticulous combination of works from her latest series Blind Arrangements. The presented objects are structures that come in pairs, and Bosquê uses the plinth as a staging device for a well-rehearsed choreography between the “self-enclosed” units – or couples. As with everything Bosquê does, these works eloquently lack literal discourse, leaving room for a deeper – less rational – understanding of the transient and consensual material relationships she creates. Due to the low height of the plinth (around 10 centimeters), the viewers are invited to squat or bend down to see the works. At close range, the organic shapes look as though they might breathe, sway or slither away.
While they hang with weight or weightlessness, we can sense their subtle reactions to the effects of gravity, movement and light in the room, as if they were beginning to alter before our eyes, somehow mocking their “sculptural condition”.
Bosquê is faithful to her materials and methods, and this exhibition highlights the creative and political potential of ongoing and ever-changing relationships. It is partly this human time- scale of the processes of their making – all her sculptures require this intensity; binding, melting, sewing, knotting –, that gives the work a fragile sense of duration. Bosquê’s processes can be precisely planned or deeply out of her hands. Regardless of how they came to be, it seems all her works are part of something larger and indeterminate – that encompasses both chance and pragmatic planning –, constantly defying our contrived expectation that artworks and culture values are definitive or immutable.
 For example, the work Flag with Pole (2018) is an outcome of the installation Inventory commissioned for the recent group show A Knife in the Flesh at PAC Milan, and the artist has been exploring compositions using handmade beef-case ropes since her solo show The Hollow and the Seam at Pavilhão Branco, Lisbon (2017).