The subject matter of Bruno Pacheco’s paintings range from prosaic objects such as plants and hats, to compositions of ambiguous scenarios involving multiple figures. Pacheco frequently derives motifs from found images, but his practice is concerned with diverting attention away from their iconic content. He describes his approach to painting as a ‘neutralisation’ of the immediate graphic nature of the subject matter, a reductive act that is achieved by bringing form and ground together, and disrupting the conventional hierarchy of elements that constitute a picture. In representing objects and scenes through painting, Pacheco introduces greater indeterminacy in how such features are read to engage the viewer in the act of looking.
Marvel, 2019-2020, depicts art handlers moving a painting, The Dream of St Mark, c. 1570, by Domenico Tintoretto, in which an angel is shown in dramatic movement, hovering above St Mark in slumber. Two other paintings are also present in the scene, Jacopo Tintoretto’s St Mark Saving a Saracen, 1562–1566, and Translation of the Body of St Mark, 1562–1566, both of which depict one body moving another. Pacheco’s painterly treatment of the bodies and spaces, however, directs focus away from the precise details of the event toward the gestures and movements evoked by the scene.
In Boletus, 2018-2020, numerous mushroom-like forms are depicted clustered together and isolated in an anonymous space. This presentation evokes a group portrait, both for the gregarious cluster formation of the vegetal forms and the artificiality of the vibrant ground.
Cameo, 2017-2020, depicts either one or two neoprene wetsuits that have been laid one on top of another. The suits are flat and uninhabited, yet their shape and the visible brush marks in which they are rendered lend them a curiously animated quality. While seemingly an abstract element, the yellow triangle on the upper left corner echoes the yellow of the suit, and evokes more broadly the graphic designs and vibrant colours of sportswear aesthetic.
EXHIBITIONS at Hollybush Gardens
Bruno Pacheco: Three Orange Trees, A Box and Some Gloves
4 June – 4 July 2010
Bruno Pacheco: We Did It / It's True
24 January – 24 February 2008
12 May – 18 June 2006
Essay by Omar Kholeif, in Vitamin P3: New Perspectives in Painting (Phaidon, October 2016)
Essay by Ulrich Loock, in Bruno Pacheco: Mar e Campo em três momentos (Casa das Historias Paula Rego, 2012)
A love story [Uma história de amor]
Essay by Bruno Marchand (Espaço Chiado 8, 2011)
Trial Balloons: Bruno Pacheco’s work in five chapters
Essay by Pablo Lafuente, in Bruno Pacheco (Galeria quadrado Azul, Porto, Portugal, 2006)
Bruno Pacheco (b.1974, Lisbon, Portugal) lives and works in Lisbon and London. He studied painting at the Lisbon School of Fine Art and at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he received an MFA in 2005. Recent solo exhibitions include Borrasca, Pedro Cera, Lisbon (2021); ONE, ampersand, Lisbon (2020); head (red) hand, Hollybush Gardens, London (2019); Vaivém, Galeria Quadrum, Lisbon (2018); and Red was the Tone, Galeria Filomena Soares, Lisbon (2016). He has participated in numerous significant group exhibitions internationally, including The Centro Botín, Santander, Spain (2021); Sharjah Biennial 14 (2019); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Netherlands (2017); Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon (2017); Guildhall Art Gallery, London (2017); Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, Portugal; 31st Bienal de São Paulo (2014); and 3rd Beijing International Art Biennale (2008). His work is held in the collections of Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon; Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, USA; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Netherlands; Kadist Art Foundation, Paris; Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, Portugal; National Art Museum of China, Beijing; and United Bank of Switzerland Art Collection, London, among others.