© Peres Projects / Rafa Silvares – Late Night Booty Call – oil on canvas

Hailing from Santos, artist Rafa Silvares (1984) is known for his bold juxtaposition of mundane objects and cultural cut-outs of different origins in paintings and collages. The Brazilian’s works aren’t about narrative or thematic approaches, but focus instead on the sensorial and synaesthetic properties of painting, and the new body of work presented at Peres Projects gallery in Berlin, his very first, is exemplary of his craft. Aptly entitled Smoked Ham, it features both medium and large scale canvases which form a coherent pictorial repertoire in which images of industrialised objects, domestic utensils and machinery are all depicted in the act of generating some kind of organic by-product. Although the human figure is completely absent from these paintings, it’s alluded to both through the choice of objects that favours those which function as extensions of the body, such as a telephone receiver, a straw, or a takeaway foil wrap, and the range of senses they convey.

Beyond that, there is also the fact that all these objects seem to operate without any human intervention, thus becoming themselves anthropomorphised, or even sentient. Interestingly, the exhibition’s title not only reflects the centrality of the body in these works, but also lays bare Silvares’ interest in exploring the multiple associations between verbal and visual language in painting. In this context, the ‘smoked ham’ in the title stands for a very particular type of flesh—not the bloody carnage of Chaïm Soutine or the pulsating entrails of Adriana Varejão, but something whose pleasantly pink appearance appears almost synthetic and whose texture is at once soft and dense, smoked—very much a texture which mirrors the effect sought by Silvares. The artist speaks of his wish to make things seen as if through a filter where objects achieve a cosmetic quality in compositions which are structured as smooth fields of colour gradients, vibrations and contrasts (on through Nov 19).

Peres Projects
Karl Marx Allee 82 (Friedrichshain)
10243 Berlin
Telephone: +49 30 27590770
Mon-Fri 11am-6pm

© Peres Projects / Rafa Silvares – Stinking Rubbish, Annunciation and Ham Parade – oil on canvas (top to bottom)