Sean Kelly

Julião Sarmento

18 Sep - 24 Oct 2009

© Julião Sarmento
Brunelleschi's Doubt, 2009
Polyvinyl acetate, pigments, acrylic gesso, graphite, water based enamel and silkscreen print on cotton canvas
77 1/2 x 86 1/2 x 2 1/4 inches
"House of Games"

September 18 through October 24, 2009

Sean Kelly is delighted to announce an exhibition by Julião Sarmento featuring new paintings and works on paper, accompanied by an important early film piece. The opening of the exhibition will take place on Thursday, September 17th from 6pm until 8pm. The artist will be present.

Sarmento's exhibition is comprised of a group of new mixed media paintings and drawings as well as his early film, Faces, from 1976. In Faces, Sarmento filmed a close-up of two women in an intimate embrace; their glowing red lips leave traces of lipstick on each other's skin, eliciting a powerful atmosphere of sensuality and voyeurism. In this early film, Sarmento established one of the principal icons of his entire oeuvre – the female figure. The film provides a context from which to chart the development of this evolving iconography over the past three decades.

In the new works, Sarmento combines his seminal portraits of the female form with images taken from popular culture (found and personal material) silk-screened directly onto the surface of the paintings, that read almost like fragmented film stills. The drawings incorporate collage, photographs, graphite and enamel, creating layered forms which evoke disconcerting, mysterious gestures and relationships. These new works expand upon reoccurring motifs such as the anonymous woman surrounded by allusive fragmented images, rendered in Sarmento's delicate pentimento of pencil and paint. Drawing from films, magazines, advertising, novels and daily life, Sarmento's imagery constitutes a reflection of his artistic and personal life. The artist says: "After all, to be human is to desire, to constantly imagine or create what we cannot see or experience."

Julião Sarmento was born in Lisbon in 1948 and has exhibited extensively worldwide since 1979. Sarmento has been included in two Documentas and three Venice Biennales. His work is represented in public and private collections worldwide such as: The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Musée National d'Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands; the Tate Modern, London and the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan, to name a few.

Sarmento's forthcoming exhibitions include Absence is the Highest Form of Presence at the Museum Dhondt – Dhaenens in Deurie, Belgium, which opens October 4 and runs through November 29, 2009. This unrealized last project of curator Michael Tarantino, who sadly passed away in 2003, includes the work of Julião Sarmento, Robert Gober and Luc Tuymans. Sarmento's retrospective, Grace Under Pressure, at the Pinacoteca do Estado in São Paolo, Brazil, curated by Ivo Mesquita and Delfim Sardo, will open on November 28, 2009.

Tags: Robert Gober, Julião Sarmento, Luc Tuymans