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Black Rainbow: Carbon 12 in Dubai exhibits the work of Rui Chafes
Rui Chafes, The dream of Giorgio de Chirico, 2012. Steel, 146 x 55 x 55 cm. Photo: Courtesy Carbon 12 Dubai.

By: Katrina Kufer

DUBAI.- Black Rainbow is a tale in threes: the beauty, the menacing, the dreams. Rui Chafes’ matte black sculptures are nebulous, anthropomorphic, organic; Ralf Ziervogel’s drawings meticulous, delicate, refined. The works allude to their human-origins, their handcrafted nature, and invite you closer with their subdued ambiance. Enveloped by beauty and serenity, it is one quietly nuanced discovery after another.

The closer look of Black Rainbow derails you. Chafes’ sculptures are familiar, but clarity remains on the tip of your tongue. The nearer you are, the denser the black, the sharper the steel edges tense against the induced gentle contouring. Ziervogel’s careful geometrics begin to reveal into words and phrases… representations of a hostile, introverted, fixated tedium. The tone shifts slowly: serenity reveals itself to be melancholy, subtly turns controlled restraint, the repetition, previously an ode to its inspiration, now obsessive. Something lingers in this created world, something not quite…right; the forms, once near familiar, now deviate distorted, as though in a dream where reality-mirroring becomes mimetic-imaging.

Black Rainbow, as with dreams, falls just short of reality. Works entangled in mimesis, each imitation is a further dilution, that one bit more fragile, that one bit more hostile in its desire to re-attain authenticity. The captured transience of original to artificial form is disorienting… you oscillate between the delicacy and aggression of the works, awareness and confusion. It is an indeterminable synthesis of reality and imagination, a walk through a lucid dream, questioning what really-is or never-was. Do you look upon real objects with dream-eyes or dream objects with conscious-eyes? But maybe the question is not what you see, but where you want to be: half-awake, or half-asleep?

Rui Chafes (b. 1966, Portugal), a sculptural-force with 100+ worldwide exhibitions including the 55th Venice Biennale, with 20 creations permanently embedded in public grounds across Europe, and present in the permanent collections of institutions such as S.M.A.K. (Belgium), Museo Reina Sofia (Spain), and Ellipse Foundation (Portugal).

Ralf Ziervogel (b. 1975, Germany) has had 88 exhibitions of his painstaking cross-generational creations across the globe, including Contemporary Fine Arts (Germany), La Maison Rouge (France), and can be found in the permanent collections of MoMA (USA), Elsworth Kelly Foundation (USA), and Kunstmuseum Bonn (Germany) amongst many others.

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