Opening on the 24th of May from 17:00 to 21:00

Until the 29th of July 2023

MONITOR is pleased to present for the opening of its new home in Lisbon HOUSEWARMING, a group show with works by: Astrid Sonne, Daniel V. Melim, Francisca Sousa, Guido van der Werve, Henrique Loja, Maja Escher, Eugénia Mussa, primeira desordem, Sérgio Carronha, Tomaso De Luca and Thomas Braida.

A housewarming is a party that is celebrated when a person has just moved into a new home, it is an occasion for the hosts to present their new house to their friends and family. The term “housewarming” literally comes from the act of warming a new home and it was a common practice back in the days when central heating did not exist. On these occasions, each invited guest would bring wood as a gift and light up the fireplaces in the house. Taking as a starting point this special occasion for the gallery, this exhibition brings together a group of Portuguese and international artists, whose works evoke ideas related to the domestic space with its architectures, rituals, creatures, objects and their relations with the intimate and creative sphere. 

The gallery is accessed through a door on a vast rounded window shop that surrounds the entirety of the space. Departing from this particular aspect of the gallery, the works present in this room also suggest a connection with the exterior. As we enter, we are welcomed by two works by Palmeira G string and This Alien Leaves by primeira desordem. These pieces are the latest output from their ongoing research on graffiti, where they have been retracing anonymous drawings and transforming them into white high-reliefs. In the case of these works, their shapes are the result of a collage where they combined drawings from their archive with others that were made on the windows of the gallery. On the left corner of the room Horta by Maja Escher takes us from an urban environment to a rural territory where the outside as well as the inside are in unison with the laws of nature. This installation consists of green and dried peas, canes and different garden tools handmade in clay that bring back childhood memories from the artist, as their dryness and colors refer to the scarcity of water in the region of Alentejo. On the floor of the room, the sculptural works by Astrid Sonne transform through little carving gestures a group of fruits into balls of a famous outdoor sport.

Downstairs, in the second room a red moquette surrounds the entirety of the space. On a flat screen, we find Effugio c,you’re always half a day away by Guido van der Werve together with a framed text work. The film, which is part of a series of works that deal with depression, captures the artist running in circles around his house in Finland for 12 hours straight, in an attempt to escape emptiness by pushing his body to its limits. In front of this video, three photographic works by Tomaso De Luca. These pieces were conceived by the artist while being a guest in a private residency of two collectors, where he started taking self-portraits in mirrors and other reflecting surfaces. These pictures are Inspired by the thirst straps, a common type of pictures among dating app users, where in order to attract attention, the shapes of the body are modified, enhancing muscles and curves, often to the point of altering also the surrounding architecture. In these works the artist pushes this process further, almost to the point that the body and the house become indistinguishable. In a similar way, also in Francisca Sousa’s rounded canvases we find an interest in the body and sexuality, this time in relation to gender, sexuality and female pleasure. In one of the walls of the gallery, we find Henrique Loja’s honorable guest, an enlarged silhouette of a model of glasses coming from the 2000s, a phantasmagoric figure that oversees the whole room and the rest of the works. Things are always full of people by Astrid Sonne also employs a similar strategy of altering domestic objects, showing us how little interventions can not only change our perception of everyday things and even animate them. Following the theme of the show, Thomas Braida presents one glazed ceramic and one painting, where in each one he portrays two dogs he encountered during his recent stays in Portugal. Also in Sérgio Carronha’s works we find figures of animals, two uncanny creatures sculpted and engraved in marble. In Daniel Melim’s Fête Cosmique we find a figure wearing a mask from the Bahia Carnival in Brazil, giving us a perspective on a joyous moment of commemoration from a different geography. Finally, Eugénia Mussa’s Helping Mom and Les debutant, closing this housewarming show with two images of celebration and domesticity.