Titled after the Portuguese word for twilight, “Luscofusco,” Lucas Simões’ exhibition at Patron Gallery extends beyond the magic hour between day and night when light blurs definitions of color, shape and intent—to the São Paulo-based artist it’s an opportunity to understand purpose, narrative, history, time and place. Literally meaning “half-light,” twilight is a powerful symbol of dichotomy—a place where opposites come together and fall apart; where the past, present and future meet; and the balance between light and dark can be seen as a metaphor for finding equilibrium. Presenting a series of recent sculptural works with a site-specific intervention into the gallery’s architecture, Simões juxtaposes stability and instability, reality and illusion. His installations appear rigid and geometrical but simultaneously fluid and soft.
“Luscofusco” (2023), made of carbon steel and pigmented concrete, occupies an entire wall. Across from it, “Dormente n.18 (vermelho)” (2023) and “Dormente n.15” (2023) present an unexpected side of the same material: concrete can also be soft, at times colorful, and even sensual in a sense. The sculptures appear to defy gravity—almost floating as they extend out of the wall. Simões’ heavy concrete forms bring Brutalist architecture to mind. He’s trained as an architect so that sort of connection is inevitable. Ongoing research and a critical eye toward architecture also come into play. Simões detests conformity and that’s evident in his approach to both concept and materiality.
Part of the same series, “Dormente n.19” (2023) and “Dormente n.20” (2023) add a bright pop of color that could be more accurately described as a metallic rainbow-like reflective effect. But it’s “Dormentes n.2” (2023) that truly gets you. Deserving a room all its own, the sculpture simply stands there—comfortably, yet not so much. Its galvanized steel body hangs by a rope and pulley from the ceiling. Sometimes stillness speaks the loudest.
In “Luscofusco,” art, architecture and design fuse. The worlds Simões creates take a unique shape allowing room for interpretation. And as rectangular, polygonal and fluid forms (think: “The Phenomenology of Roundness for Artemide No. 3” (2022) and “Megabyxos” (2023) ) seemingly in conversation with one another, fill the gallery space, one notices a sort of ecosystem. Through balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, pattern and material, the artist reveals unity within variety—a sort of oneness. Offering a dramatic contrast between form and concept, possibility and impossibility, consciousness and unconsciousness, “Luscofusco,” stays true to its name: the moment when light shifts from presence to absence can be indeed illuminating.
Lucas Simões “Luscofusco” at Patron gallery, 1612 West Chicago, on view through August 19.