• pt
  • en

  • TOMORROW
    10.03.2023—22.04.2023
    OPENING: 09.03.2023
    Curator: Ana Cristina Cachola



    Exhibition View

    © Bruno Lopes & UMA LULIK__





    Exhibition View

    © Bruno Lopes & UMA LULIK__





    Exhibition View

    © Bruno Lopes & UMA LULIK__





    Exhibition View

    © Bruno Lopes & UMA LULIK__





    Untitled (listening), 2023

    Gesso Plaster
    10 x 5 x 3 cm
    © Fábio Colaço & UMA LULIK__





    Untitled (sad Musk), 2023

    Óleo sobre tela Oil on canvas
    30 x 40 cm
    © Fábio Colaço & UMA LULIK__





    Exhibition View

    © Bruno Lopes & UMA LULIK__





    Tomorrow is never promised

    Concepts are a way of organizing abstract ideas permeated by the concreteness of the material world and, strangely enough, the virtual world. Concepts are created and recreated depending on our exposure to concrete metamorphic elements that abstraction transforms into symbols, indices and metaphors. At the same time, they are also the concepts that guide governance regimes, administration structures and thinking models.

    Each concept emerges, during cognitive processing, as a coherent or predicable epitome of an entity — it is an abstract mental capture of what is elementary in each object or set of objects. Hence, in conceptual art, the idea that precedes the work is more relevant than the artistic object itself. In this lineage, the medium does not define the creative gesture, although one can recognize the importance of the objectual and the linguistic in the ballast of conceptualism. Fábio Colaço is a neo-conceptual artist because, although he builds his work on the idea-concept-object triad, he admits gestures of form and expression, more or less contained, in his practice. These gestures result in a body of work in which formalism – the formal importance of the work of art – is also relevant to the meanings it produces.

    In Tomorrow, he presents reflections on a suspended future in a time of capitalist realism, using Mark Fisher’s expression, who coined the term to describe the current political situation, in which it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of the capitalist system. Like Fisher, the artist presents examples from everyday life and popular culture to demonstrate that capitalism has gone from the world’s ideology to the world’s ontology, making it almost impossible to imagine a viable alternative to the prevailing financial, economic, social and cultural model.

    The works that make up the exhibition are thus part of a decodable image lingua franca, common to (at least) the western “side” of the planet. From the West, one problematizes western-centric dynamics. Using the tools of the capitalist model, exercising their critique, icons and symbols inhabit the exhibition space. With its title, an opaque crystal ball cries out No Future, evoking a general feeling of pessimism about the possibility of a future. Fed by recent data on the climate emergency and adverse health and sanitary forecasts, this feeling has been spreading alongside a growing awareness of the limits and shortcomings of our social states that increasingly condemn most of the world’s population to precarity.

    A perforated bucket evokes civil construction and confronts us with the realities of the severe housing crisis provoked by real estate speculation and hierarchical and unfair migrant mobility. Ever since Anselm Jappe proclaimed concrete as “Capitalism’s Weapon of Mass Construction”, it has been known that the materials used (more fragile and easier to produce) are one of the dimensions of capitalist management of space and its resulting social injustices.

    Even if we’re still going through the hangover of the pandemic’s monothematic debates, it is necessary to discuss its effects. Fábio Colaço shows us an overview of the camouflaged post-pandemic malaise and objects that synthesize this unease. We all know about the host of mental health issues provoked by successive confinements, the fear of the virus and human contact, the lack of socialization, and other unnatural dynamics that marked the pandemic. Prozac, the trade name for the antidepressant fluoxetine, one of the best-selling drugs during the pandemic, is present in the exhibition but cast in gold, a precious and sacralized material.

    Discouragement and disbelief also appear in Colaço’s work as neon lights — advertising devices par excellence — reproducing apocryphal phrases graffitied in urban spaces. In Tomorrow, the viewer is illuminated by the inscription, “The world is full of Kings and Queens, who blind your eyes and steal your dreams”. This reminder of the harm caused by a dilapidated social hierarchy is yet another reminder of the inequalities caused by the capitalist system. In this refined observation of a present that thinks itself in the future, we can even find the reproduction of memes bearing the image of one of the pivotal characters of capitalist culture: Elon Musk.

    Capitalism’s hegemony and self-reproduction systems do not mean it does not change. Like viruses evolving to ensure survival, capitalism also changes to continue functioning. If, for a long time, it operated through the biological control of bodies, through surveillance, punishment, and labour obligations — the biopolitics coined by Foucault — today, this control is superimposed on behavioural anticipation. In the exhibition, an ear (with the artist’s own as its mould) reveals a “Big brother” still present in contemporary times. A “Big brother” that listens to what we say in our more or less banal daily conversations, the things we share on social media, and our most private whispers, but is also so sophisticated that it is increasingly capable of listening today to what we’ll say tomorrow.

    Tomorrow is an exhibition about the state of the world and our state in the world, and it does not escape the literal meaning of this manifesto, ensuring a prominent place for the world and its representation in the show: a world map built with 2500 dominoes is perhaps the most impressive element in the exhibition. On the one hand, cartography reveals one of the discursive instruments of capitalism and colonialism. On the other hand, it shows a gamified world in which the important thing is to win (always win more) and to believe that we are agents and not increasingly (de)subjected subjects. As Byung-Chul Han explains, with particular proficiency, surveillance and punishment give way to motivation and optimization. The propagation of a capitalist discipline is also present in the lexicon that this work summons in an economy of scale: the domino effect.

    In its planetary sense, the world also appears in the representation of the sea, another space of extractivist occupation. A screen, in chromatic coincidence with the wall on which it hangs, shows the NCS colour space system of the sea in standard maps. In these waters, which do not fail to refer to the urgency of a blue ecology, meanings extracted from the sensory stimulus that colour constitutes are negotiated and add many drops to the omen of a cancelled future, of a tomorrow in permanent doubt.

    However, despite the pragmatic irreality of a lasting tomorrow – announced by thinkers from the most varied areas of science and thought – tomorrow is a highly prolific place as a trope of the imagination. The difficulty of the human species to conceive itself as finite leads to desires, fears, dreams, and idealizations that are always placed somewhere beyond the present. All these forms of human expression are essential for our natural balance. All these forms of human expression are denied or distorted by the capitalist system and all its violence.

    Control, surveillance, extractivism, domestication of bodies and imaginations… everything fits into Fábio Colaço’s tomorrow, even a call for action: because tomorrow is never promised.

    – Ana Cristina Cachola
    February 2023



    By using this website you agree to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.