“A Controversial Affair” Group Exhibition

“A Controversial Affair” Group Exhibition

©Bruno Lopez (images above)

“A Controversial Affair” Group Exhibition

A Controversial Affair, a group show at Underdogs Gallery in Lisbon, creates conceptual links between our contemporary world and the 17th Century, bringing together works by a group of internationally renowned artists: André Saraiva, FAILE, Felipe Pantone, Jason REVOK, JonOne, Maya Hayuk, Okuda San Miguel, PichiAvo, Sainer, and Swoon. Here, the markedly distinct aesthetics, styles, and forms of these artists illustrate the dispute that took place in the 1670s at the French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture between the Rubenists, who believed in the supremacy of color in painting, and the Poussinists, who advocated the superiority of the line.

The first group, influenced by the works of Peter Paul Rubens, emphasized the importance of color, viewing it as more faithful to nature. They argued that the line was confined to closed groups, considering form the most important element of all. On the other hand, the second group, drawing inspiration from the works of Nicolas Poussin, asserted that thought preceded action and that the use of lines to represent form was the essential skill of painting, with color being merely decorative. In the end, color emerged victorious, an expression of emotion over rationality, ultimately making painting, and consequently art, more accessible to people outside the Academy. A crucial step in opening up this artistic universe.

A Controversial Affair revisits this dispute, bringing it into the present day. The artists create urban-inspired works that reflect the harmony and conflict between line and color. Since most of these artists began their practice on the streets with graffiti, they possess an inherent understanding of the importance of line. The use of color signifies the evolution of these practices, taking them into different formats, dimensions, and spaces. Thus, the artistic journeys of these creators are also reflected in the exhibition’s theme, echoing the idea of accessibility in the art world, which remains a controversial topic to this day.

In the end, it will be the audience that decides the winner in an interactive process where visitors are invited to leave their mark on the exhibition by choosing the side that resonates most with them.

YEAR 2023
COUNTRY Portugal

10th November - 30th December 2023


Underdogs Gallery, Rua Fernando Palha, Armazém 56, 1950-132, Lisbon (Portugal)
Free entrance



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