Bruno Pacheco

borrasca, 2021

The politics of painting is the foundation of Pacheco’s practice, making painting the principal medium in which Pacheco’s works are conceived and his primary subject. Despite breaking with traditional modes of depiction and display, thus challenging the sacrality and hierarchy tied to classical painting, many of Pacheco’s works also bear a relation to motives derived from classical painting, borrasca, 2021 being no exception. Pacheco’s painting is inspired by Sea Storm, (1500-1528), a painting by Palma Vecchio and Paris Bordon, presently part of the Gallerie dell’Accademia di Venezia collection.

Jacopo Negretti detto Palma il Vecchio and Paris Bordon, Saints Mark, George, and Nicholas Free Venice from the Demons (Sea Storm), 1500-1528

oil on canvas, 362 × 408 cm | 142.52 × 160.63 in

© Gallerie Accademia, Venezia

The painting depicts Saints Mark, George, and Nicholas saving Venice from a squall generated by a ship pirated by a group of demons. In order to dispel the demonic possession and save Venice from disastrous floods, St. Mark enlists an aged boats man to row him into the storm, and with the remaining two saints, engages the devils in combat. The painting represents the climax of the narrative, the moment of confrontation between the demons and the Saints.

Pacheco’s appropriation of the painting’s fragment echoes not only the subject of a work’s authorship, which in this case is divided between two painters (Palma Vecchio has completed the painting after Bordon’s death) but also, the construction and appropriation of subject matter throughout history. By borrowing motives from the history of painting, Pacheco looks at how the painterly gesture, the color pallet, composition, or fragmentation influences the construction of narrative and how images are depicted and perceived through time. By abstracting the motive from its initial context, enlarging, and distorting it, by removing some of its elements, or juxtaposing it against another image, Pacheco points to the impermanence of painting, where interpretation and a work’s reading is in constant flux. It is based on an associative chain, where one thing leads to another, and where content is created through rhizomatic structures, rather than through a linear approach to narrative.



Bruno Pacheco is based between London and Lisbon. His work has been exhibited at the 31st São Paulo Biennial, Sharjah Biennial, Culturgest (Lisbon), Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven), Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art (Porto), Whitechapel Gallery (London) among other. His work is part of the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian – CAM (Lisbon), Fundação de Serralves (Porto), Kadist Art Fioundation (Paris), The UBS Art Collection (London), Van Abbe Museum (Eidenhoven), Sharjan Arts Foundation collection and the MCA – Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago collection, among other.