With this exhibition, Corpos Celestes (celestial bodies), their third solo show at Galeria Vera Cortês, Angela Detanico and Rafael Lain went back to their readings about the theme of the cosmos. They started with the names of faraway stars situated in three constellations: Aquila, Sagitta and Equuleus. The names Alshain, Libertas, Altair, Tarazed, Okab, from the first; Sansuna, Sham and Uruk, from the second; and Kitalpha, from the third, were converted in a font called Helvetica Concentrated. This font was developed by the artists in collaboration with Jiri Skala, in 2003. Each Helvetica letter is placed within a circle whose dimension varies depending on the amount of ink needed for its printing. This way, there is a correspondence between the roman alphabet written in Helvetica to different circles that depend on the printed area of each letter. The circles can be combined and when overlapped with different opacities, they define a group with the letters of each word, so to each group of overlapped circles corresponds a word. In 2007, Detanico and Lain made a series of digital prints titled Star Names, based on the names of the stars visible to the naked eye listed by Ptolemy in the Almagest. The way they were composed on the walls of Galeria Vera Cortês, in 2015, in the exhibition sobre o céu, showed an organized dispersion, close to the distances and relative orientations of these stars in the firmament.
Helvetica Concentrated (2003, Detanico, Lain, Skala)
In Corpos Celestes, that follows the recent installation Ursa Maior, 2021, concentric circles associated with the names of the stars were made in mirrored metal surfaces and cut according to the dimensions of each letter of the word. These cuts were opened one on top of the other at 60° angles, which gave them their spherical shape. It is clear the reference to old celestial globes used to map the skies or to Rodchenko’s suspended constructions made in 1921. Making them three-dimensional also allowed the placement of these stars in the gallery space, in an equivalent way as the coordinates of their observation, which is to say, the position of each star is determined by its perception in the sky, and the height by the distance of each star from the earth. In this sense, the gallery space was encoded by these non-Euclidean coordinates and positions the observer and their movements in a direct relationship with these stars and therefore different from its usual meanings.
Angela Detanico / Rafael Lain, Aquila (Corpos Celestes), 2022. Mirrored stainless steel laser cut. Alshain ø 62,12 cm; Libertas ø 60,39 cm; Altair ø 64,13 cm; Tarazed ø 60,39 cm; Okab ø 70, 86 cm.Unique
Angela Detanico / Rafael Lain, Sagitta (Corpos Celestes), 2022. Mirrored stainless steel laser cut. Sansuna ø 68,81 cm; Sham ø 68,80 cm; Uruk ø 64,40 cm. Unique
Angela Detanico / Rafael Lain, Equuleus (Corpos Celestes), 2022. Mirrored stainless steel laser cut. Kitalpha ø 65,63 cm. Unique
The work Ora (Radiante), 2022, occupies another dimension, the two-dimensional surface. If the diagram that exhibits the constellations Aquila, Sagitta and Equuleus, defined the stars from the two dimensions of Helvetica Concentrated, expanding them to other dimensions, the series of radiante paintings, with their golden backgrounds that presume that the multidimensional space of quantum gravity is codified by the pictorial surface. It is a golden square, formed by a tryptic, where on each panel white lines are drawn, which maintain between them a concentric divergent relationship. Detanico and Lain established in 2018 the system radiante, which consisted in dividing a golden square in a regular grid of 10 ordinates and 4 abscissae, placing each of the 26 letters of the Roman alphabet in one of the 27 rectangles obtained, plus the empty space marking the centre from which they made 26 straight white lines diverge, with an identical angle distributed by the 360°, to the sides of the square. Each golden rectangle made up of segments of the radiating white lines now signifies the letter of the alphabet in the group that corresponds to it, and the visible difference between these rectangles, that allows them to be connected to a letter of the alphabet are the straight lines that cross them and their inclinations. In Ora, the three letters correspond to the three panels, and the difference between the lines in each plane allows us to identify them in relation to the alphabet. Ora in the Nigerian language Kabou means sun; when saying it out loud in Portuguese, it’s a homophone word of “hour”, which brings closer the ray filled sun clock suggestion of the painting of the three elements; ora also is not phonologically far from “gold”, which is redundant and credible when referencing the paintings’ surface.
Angela Detanico / Rafael Lain, Ora (Radiante), 2022. Sun in Kabou language (Nigeria). Gold leaf on wood, 3 panels. 150 × 50 cm (each). Unique