Miguel Palma | November 2015
Miguel Palma was born in 1964, in Lisbon, where he currently lives and works. He has exhibited regularly since the late 1980s. In the 1990s he was appraised as one of the most innovative Portuguese artists. Focusing mainly on sculpture, his career has been marked by his unorthodox installations. He often works with teams that include engineers, mechanics, carpenters and biologists, among other specialists. His work is of a hybrid nature, evocative of the industrial production of the twentieth century. Palma’s work often addresses how technology has influenced modern life, its relation to the environment, the idea of human comfort, or even the idea of power. Parallel to his large and medium scale installations, the artist often uses drawing and miniatures in his projects.
These works are both the register of his work processes and aesthetical objects. Palma also works with video, artist’s books and performance. Since 2007, he has participated regularly in international artistic residencies such as: Location One (New York, USA), Headlands - Center for the Arts (California, USA), Château de Servières (Marseille, France), Desert Initiative art residency, ISCP Residency Program (New York, USA), among others.
Palma’s residence at Pico do Refúgio originated a vast body of work, which was initially exhibited at the Galeria Fonseca Macedo and the Museum Carlos Machado. The work inspired during the residency was afterwards part of national and international and exhibitions.
The work “Backstage of an Island” is based on the construction of a sculpture that resembles a tent but which, instead of being shaped like a pyramid or a semi-sphere, has the morphology of the island of São Miguel. Like a camping tent, it is a portable piece, easy to assemble and dismantle. This equipment consists of a wooden base, about two meters width and a cut that relates to the aerial view of the island of São Miguel. This base is lined with a waterproof and plain colored fabric that gives the illusion of the island's morphology.
The sculpture “Origin of the world” was built in recent months, based on the idea of a cascade. In 2013, I drew a waterfall very similar to this one with the exception of a video system that seemed fundamental at the time. This sculpture, which carries water inside, brings us to the abundance of water that the island offers. In a transparent and closed system, water circulates through a series of laboratory devices, also transparent. This piece is a system that replicates nature.