Benrubi Gallery is pleased to announce Depois (“After”), the first solo exhibition from Portuguese photographer André Cepeda.
Depois reflects an urban environment composed of equal parts geometry and chance: architecture and bodies, artifacts and sex, order and chaos. Cepeda’s dark, often transitory compositions take form against the meshed grids of contemporary cities. The regular pattern of treads and balusters in a staircase, the furrows of corrugated tin siding, or the positive and negative spaces of masonry walls find their echoes in the seemingly random placement of beer cans and ashtrays by the side of a bed or a display of antique silver in a shop window or a scattering of puzzle pieces across a tabletop.
The ordered repetitions speak of an underlying structure that is both conscious and subliminal, restrictive in one sense, stabilizing in another. At their most dramatic, Cepeda’s vignettes are reminiscent of film stills. At their most stark they could be abstract expressionist canvases. But it’s the tension between these poles, between some images and within others, that reveal a cultural entropy that is not so much balanced as continuously seesawing against itself.
The images regard you as frankly as an odalisque. Whether you see them as tokens of decay or endurance probably depends on how optimistic you are about the state of the world. But, though unstaged, they still remind us that even our most intimate or offhand activities take place on a physical and cultural set prepared with the enormity and inevitability of a glacier sculpting the earth. Monuments of invisible forces, mirrors of our desire for freedom and control, Cepeda’s images imbue the urban landscape with visceral fleshiness and find architecture in the most fleeting gesture.