AINORI Gallery


AINORI Gallery



As Mieke Bal argued in Traveling Concepts in the Humanities (2002), there are journey-like transdisciplinary abilities to concepts – meaning we can observe “​​concepts not so much as firmly established univocal terms but as dynamic in themselves” (Bal, 2002: 11). We could argue that the same can be said regarding the title selected for Paula López-Bravo’s most recent solo show: F U G A C I T Y. As a term voyaging from chemical thermodynamics, fugacity refers to a property of a real gas related to pressure which expresses the tendency to escape. But, as I have learned, while researching a topic so distant from the arts, we can force the term to travel and apply it to life. To a degree, we, as humans, experience a sort of daily desire for fugacity – a longing for escapissment from “adjusted pressures” – but, above all, we know that life, like gas, is a fleeting element. It is this point that the sensitive pieces the artist showcases here wish to convey. After all, as we speak, time is fleeting and we are still alive.

As Seneca claimed in On the Shortness of Life, “it is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it” (1997: 1). The show presents itself in a sort of stoic approach as the artist understands that, while we do not have control over what affects us, we can control how we are affected by situations. This can be observed in the paintings which surround us now. We notice people walking, swimming, dancing, all surrounded by hazy colors – a fading of life as we walk through it, however colorful and bright if we know how to embrace it. “Why do we complain about nature? She has acted kindly: life is long if you know how to use it. But one man is gripped by insatiable greed, another by a laborious dedication to useless tasks. One man is soaked in wine, another sluggish with idleness” (Seneca, 1997: 2). López-Bravo here talks to us about constant changes and how, similarly to life, we do not remain static but are in a neverending state of evolving. The artist paints everyday situations, such as a mass of people walking, as well as extraordinary events, but all paintings are framed within the same sentiment – that although life is fleeting, we are still alive. By making peace with a world which never stops shifting and by letting go of our will to control it, our surroundings start to shine in a colorful gas around us. Overall, what Paula López-Bravo wishes for us to take on our travels and throughout our lives is to live it in full fugacity, always.


Maria de Brito Matias, April, 2022.