AIRBAG Rafa Silvares

Press release

Peres Projects is pleased to present AIRBAG, Rafa Silvares’ (b. 1984 in Santos, BR) second solo exhibition at the gallery.


A hum of optical vibrations oscillates this exhibition, comparable to that of a hushed auditorium awaiting the start of a performance. Framing each scene vertically, the objects within Silvares’ compositions are linked by their shared colour palette and the contrast in colour transitions. In a departure from his previous work, this new series discusses the interaction between stages of form, where abstraction versus figuration and organic shapes battle angular structures in a discursive debate. Revelling the tension between these two polarised components, Silvares positions himself as the conductor and referee in mediating the friction they permeate, whilst harmoniously diffusing them against one another.


In these scenes, ubiquitous objects are inanimately depicted in a moment of action, alive and busy. Movement fluctuates around the canvas taking the eye with it, bouncing off curves and sliding down alloys in an exploration of activity and labour. Touching on themes of exertion and mechanical bodywork, objects are caught in a continual state of kinesics, autonomous to their owner and trapped. In confining these objects in eternal production, Silvares utilises their form to discuss various mental states. The depiction of strong discharge suggests an emotional release, and the repetition of reflective surfaces simulates recurring anxiety and discomfort. Reminiscent of Jacques Tati’s, 1967 ‘Playtime’, Silvares, creates a universe for his objects to question the absurdity of everyday life and find comical moments in the mundane.


As a result of screen processing and information sharing, the absence of human exertion in these compositions is disturbingly common. Dependent and yet detached from human contact, the objects patiently wait for viewer activation. Much like the continuous stream of short clipped videos accessible on social media platforms, Silvares’ objects stimulate the senses, hypnotize the vision and await interaction. Although these objects are self-governed and free-spirited, the desire for observation is embodied through their eye-catching colour palette and blazing shapes, evocative of graphical adverts popular in the 1980s. This exaggerated style produces a desirable aesthetic and masks the darker strands behind a consumerist society, distracting viewers into repetitive transactions and contributing to the cyclical fuelling of the economic machine.


An airbag is released during impact to minimalise fatalities. On cue, with a bulging expansion of air, a flexible fabric bag becomes animated and full of vitality. Much like Love Fever (2022), climactic moments of detonation are depicted in an outburst of bright visceral substance, leaking, oozing and filling the outer pictorial field. Giving the exhibition its title, these energy-absorbing surfaces, act as a metaphor for the unknown body and expose the anthropoid workings of our mechanical appliances. From distinctive household objects to more hybrid compressors and machinery, these catalysts, are a deus ex machina: set up to question the functionality and theatricality of the ordinary object.


Words by Brooke Wilson


This is Rafa Silvares’ second solo exhibition at the gallery. In addition, Silvares has exhibited in a number of international exhibitions including Mystic Sauna, AM Gallery, Sao Paulo, Exercise, Jaqueline Martins Gallery, Sao Paulo, Pivô Art Research, Pivô, Sao Paulo, Dizzy World, Paper Box, New York, So Confused LOL, Beo_Project, Belgrade and Cover, São Paulo Museum of Modern Art (MAM-SP), Sao Paulo. Silvares earned degrees in Fine Arts from Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado, Sao Paulo and in Language and Literature from FFLCH University of São Paulo.

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