Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Art Space Talk: Catarina Lira Pereira

I recently discovered the art of Catarina Lira Pereira. Catarina was born in Bordeaux, France. In 1989 she moved to Portugal. She lives and works in Alcobaca, Portugal. Catarina's art is based on the generation of the 1980s- a generation raised by television. Her work is focused on remembering the not so distant past. She explores her generation with limited images that bring that peculiar atmosphere of a distant childhood back to her.

Catarina explores the chaotic simplicity of her generation by utilizing a surface of rich colours and details that are subsequently veiled by a monochromatic curtain of strips. In this overlapping- the suffocation and breach between three-dimensionality and two-dimensionality- the two genres melt into a dynamic and apparently chaotic composition. However, the images are supported by a rational disposition.

Catarina is represented by Galeria Alvarez (, Alejandra Von Hartz Gallery (, and White8 Galerie (

Brian Sherwin: Catarina, you have stated that your art is a "representation of memory" and that your work is a balance between "revelation and concealment". Would you say that hidden messages conveyed to the viewer through your art is the foundation of your work?

Catarina Lira Pereira: For me, the foundation of my work is in the process. The fact that I work on the pictures of the cartoons is a way to re-live them in my life. After that I hide almost all of those pictures, to make a parallel with an attempt of visualization of memories, a game between revelation and concealment. The viewer observes an apparent abstraction, wish is the result of this game between revelation and concealment. The images are hidden for the mind to explore.

BS: So would you say that your work represents your need to find a form of inner peace based on the conflicts and contradictions of the generation you have been born into? A generation predominately raised by technology...

CLP: I concentrate my work in good memories due to my need to find inner peace. My generation was raised with an extensive list of cartoons on the TV, with strong messages of hope and friendship. Those images had remained in our hearts. I believe in some way that they had made of us what we are today.

BS: Your pieces have a very dynamic structure. At first glance they appear to have a rational, solid structure. However, further observation reveals an impression of chaos- like static on a television screen. Is this intentional?

CLP: The chaos/dynamic structure is due to the random lines that reveal some parts of the hidden image. That is what gives you this "impression of chaos - like static on a television screen". Actually, I never thought about it in that way, but it is an interesting observation because it is, visually, the same impression. The rational and solid structure is due to the horizontal/vertical monochromatic strips. Also, in some way by the rational structure of the image behind those strips.

BS: Catarina, you've been involved with several major exhibits of art- Arte Lisboa 2006 (booth Alvarez gallery), Art.fair (booth White8 galerie), and several art Biennials. Which exhibit has stood out for you? Care to share that experience?

CLP: I think the opportunity to exhibit in art fairs is interesting in particular, because with thousands of visitors (collectors, curators, gallerists) many things can happen and the visibility of our work is bigger. There is some exhibitions that had been important, but I am not sure there is one more important than all the others. I am now hopeful on two forthcoming: the next Cornice Art Fair, (with White8 Galerie from Austria), in Venice, which is going to happen at the same time as the Venice Biennial opening, and a group show of large formats at Alejandra Von Hartz Gallery in Miami, from June until August. That will be my first exhibition in the USA.

BS: Your work can be found in several Collections throughout Portugal. You live and work in Alcobaca, Portugal. How has living in Portugal influenced your art? Is there a difference in the art that is being created their compared to your homeland, France?

CLP: I lived in France until I was 12 years old. Beyond the fact that the the time influenced my current statement strongly, I think the technique, composition, my general perception is mainly due to my route in Portugal. I attended the college of Fine Arts at the University of Oporto, a great school, and I met a man there who is now my husband, artist too. In the middle of other facts, being with him influences my career, because we support each other. Compared to France, I am not sure there is differences on the kind of art that is made between the two countries, but there is probably a difference on the opportunities, because Portugal is a smaller country. However, Portugal has less competition, in regards to new graduates, so that probably gives more strength and hope to Portuguese artists to fight.

BS: Can you go into further detail about your artistic philosophy and the psychological aspects behind your work?

CLP: The nostalgia I feel for some of the images of my childhood is released by the opportunity to explore them in my work. Their final perception is due to a process to construct a impression of a frustrated attempt of utilizing visual memory. There is a parallel between three-dimensionality and two-dimensionality, figurative and abstract, the image and the monochromatic curtains which veil them, the past and the present, my perception and the perception of the viewer. My works is always some kind of mystery to the viewer.

BS: Based on what you have said I will assume that you have studied psychology. There seems to be a lot of Jungian thought behind your work. Has the field of psychology influenced these images?

CLP: In some way, yes. A desire to escape into fantasy, looking for hidden positive influences to construct a good harmony between conscientious and the unconscious.

BS: Catarina, what are you working on at this time?

CLP: I am preparing my solo show at Alvarez Galley, in Oporto, in November.

BS: Can you tell us about the art scene in your area?

CLP: It is not easy. The institutions of contemporary art don't support young painters and sculptors as I think they should. And even if we are represented on the internet there is now a lot of competition. There is a lot of great work online. There is also the general economic crisis which doesn't help either.

BS: Finally, in the end... what do you hope to accomplish with your art?

CLP: I want to have an international career, a strong route, working firmly step-by-step, until the end.

I hope that you have enjoyed learning about Catarina Lira Pereira and her art. Feel free to leave a comment.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think it is great, it has a lot of movement and it is inventive and very original!!! it definitely expresses her own language.