In late September 2018, the Hermitage pavilion in the Catherine Park became a shooting location for La Beauté, a series of works in the ‘Hyper Baroque’ style by Miguel Rodrigues, a student of the Lisbon University Fine Arts School and a very promising Portuguese artist.
The choice of Tsarskoe Selo was not a mere coincidence. ‘I have always loved this palace because Tsarskoe Selo is a prime example of the Baroque style and culture in the world. This place has the power and the magnificence to show that Baroque was indeed an international movement,’ says Miguel Rodrigues.
He continues, ‘As to the Hermitage pavilion, to me it represents an exponent of a Baroque party. A place where the closest friends of the Tsars could gather in absolute luxury and have fun without being disturbed or spied on by someone — even by the servants. All this mystery thanks to a fantastic lift mechanism from the eighteenth century. There is an old yet still contemporary paradox—an escape from everyday life through a party space.’ Apparently, everyone is building their own Hermitage today.
As he notably remarked presenting his gold shining assemblage of plumbing tubes and bent plastic at the Thinking Baroque exhibition in the beautiful Portuguese baroque city of Braga in 2017, ‘We are actually approaching a Hyper Baroque era. We can witness it in the abundance of information, possibilities and technologies, in the full blossom and full acceptance of any ugliness and of any beauty…’
Seeing plastic as his main working medium, Rodriguez believes it is quite possible to create something luxurious from the habitual material.
‘My main goal with this work was to show versatility presented in the identity matrix of the Baroque style and its capacity to interact among different cultures in completely different periods,’ says the young sculptor. ‘This is why I created a contemporary piece, with all my Portuguese Baroque influences and I brought it to this amazing Russian Baroque palace of the eighteenth century. I do believe this blend works perfectly!’
Photos by Cláudio Carvalho above and below courtesy of Miguel Rodrigues (click to enlarge)