André Romão, Ancient woods, 2022 (d. Prosthetic eyes (glass, Germany, 1900’s), terra cruda, tapestry fragment (wool and silk, Aubusson 1600s), painted wood. 75 × 175 × 60 cm. Unique
André Romão, Ghost pains, 2022. Sculptural fragment (polychrome wood, probably Germany, circa 1600), electrical components, light bulbs. 76 × 22 × 15 cm. Unique
André Romão, The visitor (left), 2022. Re-worked sculptural fragment (wood, probably Spain, late 1700s), wood, electrical components, light bulb. 21 × 12 × 9 cm. Unique
The sun set. The night fell but with it came no sleep. Or maybe it did and I just didn’t notice, I’m not always sure to be fully awake. The moon rises and out come foxes and ghosts, or so say most of the books I read. And with them restless nights begin. Plants, animals and ghosts come out to dance. They dance with or within my dreams, thoughts and hallucinations. It is not up to me to decide their paths and their ways, and that pleases me. A lot of what I do has to do with this lack of control.
For this show I present some poems I’ve written in the past years. Small remarks that go about bigger troubles, amidst the fog that covers them like a cloak. I have always been unsure of how these poems relate to the sculptures I also make, but now I think they are one and the same thing. The same ideas, feelings and desires feed them all.
Some night dwellers bring a dim light into the otherwise dark space of the gallery. Bodies cast light fed by the electricity that runs through their wooden veins, demanding visibility and turning their inner dynamics outwards. Lately I’ve been very fascinated with wooden sculptures, stiff doubles of bodies that make the processes of mutation and transformation very visible. Dead trees made living bodies, bodies that can only aim to become wood once again. They were once the habitat of woodworms, now long gone. The grain splits open to reclaim their woodiness, regardless of whether or not I try to stop it. They were trees and they go on being trees for some time, even if they were made to look and act like humans. In “grafting” I tried to revert it. As in the agricultural process, I joined the dead sculpture with living tree branches, so that sap could run though the bodies as blood would. Mercè Rodoreda wrote about trees digesting human bodies, and gaining bones. There is a section of a root in the exhibition from an old apple tree. I dug it out and left it outside to dry. One night one of the roots pointed at something, I still don’t know what it was showing me, but I tried to help and gave it a finger to point with.
Other creatures inhabit the show. I had some old glass eyes that stared back at me in the studio and, for a while now, I’ve been making the rest of their bodies. Clay is a good material, I can work on it for a long time before it dries. Bodies can take their time to develop. I stopped at the face. If it is all about the encounter, they are present enough. One of them stares into the distance, looking right through us. The other lays amidst ancient woodlands. This 400-year-old tapestry hung in my studio for a while, the view to the ancient woodlands was like a window. I took it off the wall, its texture reminded me too much of Freudian divans, I can still feel it against my skin. I don’t know who they are, maybe I’ve seen them before and I suspect, as Pu Songling put it: they look human but everybody knows they have a touch of the fox about them.
André Romão, Dedo, 2022. Apple tree’s root, plexiglas. 132 × 36 × 25 cm. Unique
André Romão, Dedo, 2022 (detail). Apple tree’s root, plexiglas. 132 × 36 × 25 cm. Unique
André Romão, Foot, 2022. Sculptural fragment (plaster, Spain, 2000s), electrical components, light bulb.12 × 25 × 15 cm. Unique
André Romão, Grafting (dead wood), 2021. Sculptural fragment (wood, probably Flanders circa 1600), tree branch, plexiglas. 172 × 65 × 75 cm. Unique
André Romão, A touch of the fox / Sunambulo, 2022. Prosthetic eyes (glass, India, late 1900’s), terra cruda, wood. 20 × 16 × 16 cm. Unique
André Romão, Stockwell, 2022. Vinyl on wall. Variable dimensions
André Romão, Argos, 2021. Tree branch, peacock feathers. 49 × 50 × 35 cm. Unique
André Romão, The visitor (right), 2022. Re-worked sculptural fragment (wood, probably Spain, late 1700s), wood, electrical components, light bulb. 21 × 12 × 9 cm. Unique