Fernanda Fragateiro: Commemorative abstraction

Fernanda Fragateiro, a voice (not), installation view

Contributed by Marjorie Welish / The clearest innovation of Portuguese artist Fernanda Fragateiro’s poignant exhibition, on view at Josée Bienvenu through November 4, is the enlistment of industrial design to draw attention to women’s contributions to the arts. Custom-made acrylic boxes containing books hang from the gallery wall here and there. Metal shelving supports an homage to Dorothea Rockburne’s constructed line for the cover of the Summer 1974 edition of the magazine  Art-Rite.

Fernanda Fragateiro, Angela

A similarly straightforward citation of a specific artist is  Angela, a paperback book about the revolutionary African-American political activist Angela Davis mounted in its own slipcase high on the gallery wall, to be seen from underneath. In a less explicit but no less powerful form of acknowledgment, Fragateiro has created scaled-up versions of the textiles that Otti Berger, a Yugoslavian Jew, produced while she was at the Bauhaus – before being sent to Auschwitz, where she died.

Fernanda Fragateiro, Double Black and White, 2016, stainless steel and handmade notebooks with fabric cover, 19.88 x 38.58 x 8.27

Fragateiro has a broad practice that focuses on creative individuals – for this exhibition, all women. At the same time, she embeds places within her work, and exploits a generous range of materials and techniques used in crafts. As the title of the show – “a voice (not)” – suggests, she combines direct and more subtle references to build subdued commemorations.

Fernanda Fragateiro, a voice (not), detail
Fernanda Fragateiro, Stones Against Diamonds, 2017, polished stainless steel and copies of the book “Stones Against Diamonds”, 7.09 x 4.33 x 4.13
Fernanda Fragateiro, Stones Against Diamonds, detail
Fernanda Fragateiro, a voice (not), installation view
Fernanda Fragateiro, a voice (not), detail
Fernanda Fragateiro, a voice (not), detail
Fernanda Fragateiro, a voice (not), detail
Fernanda Fragateiro, a voice (not), detail
Fernanda Fragateiro, Double Black and White, 2016, stainless steel and handmade notebooks with fabric cover, 19.88 x 38.58 x 8.27

Fernanda Fragateiro (Lisbon, 1962) lives and works in Lisbon, Portugal. Her solo exhibition at the Museu de Arte, Arquitectura e Tecnologia MAAT, was on view through September 2017.

Fernanda Fragateiro: a voice (not),” Josée Bienvenu, Chelsea, New York, NY. Through November 4, 2017.

About the author: Painter and art critic  Marjorie Welish  has received many grants and fellowships, including those from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Guggenheim Foundation, and Pollock-Krasner Foundation. She has had recent shows at Emanuel von Baeyer Cabinet, London, and La Terrasse, Nanterre.

Related posts:
New geometries: Embracing narrative and content
Marjorie Welish: Procedural difference, conceptual consequence
Catalogue essay: Kirsten Swenson on Peter Soriano’s Permanent Maintanence

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