In the eighties, the art scene in Portugal began to draw international attention, revealing an extraordinarily lively world that went beyond the personalities who had initially been trained in the sphere of conceptual interests and concerns in the seventies. The eighties formally consolidated figures from that group such as Julião Sarmento or Leonel Moura, but the tone of renewal was emphasised by the emergence of a generation of young artists who worked from a precise stance vis-à-vis the international currents and established a rigorous control of style and the technical media they used in their work. In that context and in the field of sculpture, José Pedro Croft is outstanding as an extremely subtle and poetic artist, interested in the tensions generated by fullness and emptiness, a metaphor to talk about the body (volume) and absence (time) in terms of fragility and instability. From his standpoint, he looks for the interstices of silence and immobility, considering them key moments in sculpture: the "before" of movement and hence the balanced instability that runs all through his work. Croft's interests and concerns have remained constant over the last two decades, but the solutions he has conceived during that time have been shaped in different periods, into each of which the results of the preceding ones have been integrated. The work Untitled, done in 1997, belongs to a period in which the sculptural elements are stripped down to the boundaries of austerity and simplicity to generate a void suitable for pondering the meaning and function of sculpture itself. This is a period of great maturity, in which Croft generated intensely sculptural composite figures into which pieces of furniture are integrated. They in turn are proposed as sculptural volumes, thus excluding their condition as objects, whether found or not. The space those objects generate tends to question the spatial and figurative relations of the volume: his work introduces numerous disturbing and distorting elements into the debate on post-Minimalist sculpture and proposes a new space of relation with the body and objects as stages of sculpture. In the light of that, we should point out certain parallels with the work of Susana Solano, although Croft has found diverging formal and stylistic solutions. (That relation was made clear in the exhibition "José Pedro Croft. Susana Solano. A Céu Aberto", mounted in 1997 at the Fundação de Serralves in Oporto, Portugal). There are also similarities, though in a different way, with the work of the British sculptor Rachel Whiteread. In this piece the construction is reduced to its expressive minimum: two cylindrical plaster volumes rest on a wooden chair. Sculpture and pedestal or base as object or piece of furniture blend into a single body, which in turn is a metaphor for an absent body.
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