Luís Lázaro Matos

15 May 2018
21 Jul 2018
Galeria Madragoa
Rua do Machadinho 45
1200-705 Lisbon

Critic’s Guide to the Best Shows in Lisbon

Luís Lázaro Matos’s solo show at Madragoa presents paintings, drawings and a short film in a phantasmagorical tribute to Ludwig II of Bavaria (1845–86). Known for his extravagant artistic commissions, such as the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, and his admiration for Richard Wagner, the king appeared to have strong repressed homosexual desires, and, unmarried, died mysteriously in Lake Starnberg. For the show, Lázaro Matos has painted a lavish double portrait of the King with one arm as a moray eel, in blue pastels (all variations of Persian blue). Besides the diptych, a painting of a landscape at night, and a film staging a Moray eel telling a fable of sorts, complements the gallery’s downstairs space.

Upstairs, Jean Cocteau-inspired drawings stage a character (the king? the artist?) naked, physically communing with nature and architectural elements in a sexual but tender way. The walls are painted with underwater scenes that include an octopus entangled in seaweed and tagged ‘schwuchtel’ (German slang for ‘faggot’). If the whole narration seems absurd, it is also touching, whimsical and dramatic, as if untethered from the reality at its core.

- Cristina Sanchez-Kozyreva

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