In the Study: L Shape
Sónia Almeida

Nov 3 - Dec 22, 2023

Opening: November 3rd, 6 – 8 PM

Ó (o acute) | BOOK LAUNCH NOVEMBER 4th, 2023 | 5 — 6PM

Join us for a conversation between Sónia Almeida and curator Bruno Marchand on artist books and the role of printed matter in Almeida's work. We will also be celebrating the publication of Almeida's monograph Ó (o acute), produced on the occasion of the artist's solo exhibition at Culturgest, Lisbon. The catalog features texts by Bruno Marchand, Gloria Sutton João Ribas, and Rahel Aima.

The book will be available for purchase at the gallery.

An L-shape is easy to make. Stretching the thumb and index finger of your left hand away from each other, the shape sits between your open fingers. The invisible ‘L’ orients you within space; an embodied signpost to check directions or follow dance steps – a link between the body and the language we use to position it.

L Shape takes its title from Sónia Almeida’s eponymous artist book produced in 2018. An L-shape is a piece of card or board that frames where the image is registered on the page in the wood-block printing process. It’s an object that creates a functional negative space – a border. The margins of a book separate the text from the outside world, and isolate the words themselves within a white frame. For some writers (and readers), the margin can also be a generative site for an annotation, a question, a definition, or a disclaimer. L Shape (2018), does not have consistent margins. Instead, each page plays in and around the traditional dimensions of a book, altering its reading and use.

Almeida’s recent sculptural wall works, created for the artist’s mid-career retrospective at Culturgest, Lisbon, consist of two components, one of which is built as a functional drawer that allows the viewer to physically adjust the image. These multi-layered pieces, like Almeida’s books, reject the notion of a single viewing or narrative. The human body itself and its internal workings are implicated through depictions of the synapses of the nervous system and huge skeletal imprints. Following an ongoing throughline in Almeida’s practice, the body is recentered as the locus for communication and the medium of exchange. Often thought of as exclusively mental, language and communication are absorbed, interpreted, translated, and expressed through the body, before being broken down – and reassembled in motion.

Sónia Almeida (b. 1978 Lisbon, Portugal) lives and works in Boston, MA. Sónia Almeida’s practice often pulls from (and pulls apart) systems of communication, such as call-and-response music, dialogue between two or more participants, and notational methods of conveying or obscuring language. Solo exhibitions include: Culturgest, Lisbon, Portugal (2023); Simone Subal Gallery, New York, NY (2012) (2014) (2016) (2019) (2021); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (2014); T293, Rome, Italy (2011); Chiado 8, Culturgest, Lisbon, Portugal (2009); Croxhapox, Gent, Belgium (2009). Group shows include: Fabric Arts Festival, Fall River, MA (2023); Centre de Création Contemporaine Olivier Debré (CCC OD), Tours, France(2022); Kunstverein Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany (2022); Atelier-Museum Júlio Pomar, Lisbon, Portugal (2021); Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal (2021); Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA, Portland, ME (2021); Pina, Vienna, Austria (2021); Tørreloft, Copenhagen, Denmark (2020); Grimm, New York (2020); Leslie University, Cambridge (2019); Tufts University Art Galleries, Boston (2019); Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, Cambridge (2018); ICA, Boston (2017); The Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, Portugal (2016); Simone Subal Gallery, New York, NY (2016); Serralves Museum, Oporto, Portugal (2014); DeCordova Biennial, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Boston, MA (2013); Carl Freedman Gallery, London, UK (2012); Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY (2012); Muzeul National de Arta Cluj-Napoca, Romania (2012); Prague Biennale 5, Prague, Czech Republic (2011); Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw, Poland (2011); Portugal Arte 10, Lisbon (2010); Southfirst Gallery, Brooklyn, New York (2010); EDP Novos Artistas, Lisbon, Portugal (2009); The Elementary Particles (Paperback Edition), Standard (OSLO), Norway (2006).