Sulcos: manual de sobrevivência l Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes

Exposição individual l Solo show
Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes
Rua Barata Salgueiro, 36 1250-044 Lisboa
Tel.: 213 138 510 l l

Sérgio Costa
Sulcos: manual de sobrevivência

Inauguração l quinta feira 09 de janeiro de 2020 l 18.30h

De 9 de Janeiro a 8 de fevereiro de 2020
Segunda a sexta das 12.00h às 19.00h
Sábado das 14.00h às 20.00h
Encerra domingos e feriados

© Pedro Melo

_Hacking into Strata
What does the line of interstice in Sérgio Costa’s painting series “Strata” think it is?Is the interstice just a geological necessary byproduct of the tension of movement and fixation and thus a plane of consistency? Can we construct strata (stratification de- and re-stratification) as a valid model not just for a geopictorical view but also a geo- attentional view derived from Costa’s work? I don’t think so. Strata articulate an >interstice modality< of a) territorializing as non-discursive (visible) and b) discursive (sayable), coding. Are the interstice lines of Sérgio Costa’s Strata this empty infinite horror vacui of a search for a central chamber, the central onion peel? That means do we by contemplating strata fall into a void, a clueless “eternal pause” (Heiner Müller) or an earthless infinite ocean where the land has broken up behind us as in Nietzsche’s infinity: Beware! Strata #1 is missing! No original painting, no original layer of the world can be presented in the strata doubles. In Sérgio Costa’s>Strata< series we are not dealing with a collection of representative depictions or illustrations of scientific sedimentary rock samples, in which the principle of original horizontality holds. Instead, Costa´s work shows how the de- stratifying assembling machine of stratification questions horizontality as a principle of composition and systematic tectonics (e.g. stratification of knowledge construction) not only of the image in itself but also of thinking in general as strata of orientation and its orientation of the non-stratified. Sérgio Costa in his painting series “Strata” from Strata#2(2008)-Strata#14 (2011) applies the following principles: 
[1] Costa stratifies by taking photos of stratified Calcium rock formations and sedimented stone layers at the Algarve region around Tavira 
[2] He de-stratifies the quality of the image by forcing the contrast to extremes of pure black areas and then marks the dark areas (I call this attentional contrast stratification that is also a diagrammatization process). This is achieved by photocopying processes of photos taken to push contrast levels 
[3] Creation of the First Map/grid de- stratifying and geometrization of the painting plane 
[4] Plane of painting (second map composed of two image strata. First working on the shadows and within a limited parameter of colour modulation of four colour qualities: only a) sepia, b) cobalt blue, c) raw umber brownish, d) titan white (that gains a higher opacity than zinc white). 
[4.1] The recent works Strata, however, shift these principles and aim specifically at a variation of the fourth principle of Strata by adding different monochromatic colour variations into the Strata series as in the examples S#29 (Cobalt Blue Monochrome); S#34 (Cold Grey Monochrome); S#36 (Cassel Earth Monochrome); S#38 (Lamp Black Monochrome). 
In a first phase of monochromatic strata spectrum differentiation (#28 to #32) (except #28 which is in under pictorial experimentation and observation) he started to work on the photographic recording of long stratification processes. In these painting experiments, he composes through digital editing, resulting in a series of cracks, gaps and interstitial lines, which suggest a structure and its vertical implementation — starting with the monochromatic Strata (#16 and #17) and the dimensionality of perception experimentations in his anaglyphic strata paintings (#19-#21). Still, this time the opposite spatial principle lies at the core, not a strengthening of a 3-dimensional painting space perception, but a focus on a flat 2D surface ontology of a plane of immanence in which the importance given to registering the contrast and colour differences in terms of a more realistic approximation to an object of the physical world is highly reduced. The premise of the work would be a higher concentration on drawing and immanent planarity, allowing repeating exercises in describing a surface, the painting gestures suggest constellations of forms that stand out from backgrounds less than in the Strata before and the shift away from contrast rich photorealism aesthetics towards reflection of the image editing process but with means of canvas, paint and the gesture of tainting into one color and mood. This selection processes now proceed without the distraction of the use of a colour logic, as one colour is simply predominant and its fine differences are based on monochromatic adumbrations. There is, however, colour in this first set, not for characterizing perceptive structures but as a transforming element to blur outlines of less saturated contrasts to create a painted map with tenuous greys and even intense overflows of chromatic saturation.

_On Remnant Drawings
Costa started with a roll of paper 10 meters by 1.6 meters, which he unrolls about 2 meters at a time in the conditions of the studio. Objects, cloths and papers are placed on the surface, covering it entirely and being removed after applying the black spray. The “cloud” of spray, very thin and diffuse, always ends up finding a path between the objects, to the surface of the paper, creating very subtle stains and indicative of this process of presence and removal. The Remnant Drawing series continues the works in the exhibition “Ground” (2015) - spray on paper. In the exhibition >Ground< (2015), Sérgio Costa revisits the still and remaining topic of the lived experience/the fall-out of the rest of lived bodies, corpses of what we were, a trace of cloud, of snow-like body-lines, the being a sexual body and its adumbrations of sexuality, though only atmospheric spray cloud of lines of scattered embodiment of grounding, a oxytocin-induced remedy attraction of a deserted ground in which we become leaving lines that properly desire a grounding onto an atmospheric body, always already a vapor and temporary decay and despite being remnant rests of lines, contours and shadows, never fully at rest. Any form for the un-formable that only spreads, cloud, sprayed haze, temporally rapidly decaying, aggregating image noise, to enable to be touched by the unknown, irresistible frequency of recurring motifs. Any futile attempt to force the cloud and stain into another intended form by diffusion would result in the immediate collapse of the entire oscillation, the interruption of our lifeline. These remnant lines that show open projective vectors, of enhanced conditions of meeting of self and other, in which no finite grounding is possible, no extracting of a concentrated notion of anything, nor the possibility of pushing the atmosphere of grounding into a single lived space is given, no show and last call for a singular physiology take-off and landing, no possibility of forcing us onto a single central stratum or identity, nor horizon line of thought in sight of an individual body, but bodily nebulae, unable to recognize itself as a ground: in hacking the movement of the cloud outfall to the paper sheets, Costa reaches out for the atmospheric skin of the other, the other margin of a projective vector, that is suspended by the matter behavior of mixed air and paint an homeless-radiant fall-out on paper, a memory-dissolution machine of our continuous desire to arrive at a ground, a fundamental uncertainty, even a clarity of longing for a ground, though the observation and next linage of truthful auto-operation, is infinitely suspended in the air: >Ground< under-, over-, and ungrounded Space outer space, corpse outer corpse, sex outer sex, groundlessness outer groundlessness... The premise of the Remnant Drawings are rests, relics of this desire for grounding, reactivated to act on a large format surface involving a body in the process. More incisive stains populated some sheets, others more tenuous, others almost imperceptible, fragile, incomplete, alive. 
We, remnants, unsold and unsellable small pieces of cloth, left to contemplate or to discard, after the rest of the cloth of the world has been sold.

_On Hacking: the fragmentation of the image in 5x5cm squares
If you hack something, you might not only invade the privacy of a data system but as well enact unusual or improvised alterations to equipment or processes. Hacking can be a method to cut something with rough strokes or take it apart, hack it into pieces, barehanded or by the help of tools. Hacking restructures the technical and artistic use that has not been thought about while inventing a technical or artistic object, such as the spay clouds that the remnant drawings bare witness. 
Often hacking implies some violence and ab-use as well as re-use of the part of something that is left when the other parts are gone independent if we work on an original idea, form or technology by using a sharp tool such as an axe or knife. In this sense, even the iconoclastic slob attacks with a knife on “Who’s afraid of red, yellow and blue” can be seen as the diagrammatic introduction of a line of orientation after the total loss or destruction of what was there in the first place. 
In Costa, the fragmentation of image that emerge from the leftover elements as rudimentary deviations on a path from myth to logos and back to uncanny zones of perception, attended in 5x5cm squares, remind us not only on the format of Portuguese tiles- just that here we are confronted with black, white and greyness, no tourist attraction but sedimented spray clouds dust that stays after the hordes of tourists went away in Lisbon at the dock. Costas 200x5cm that are recomposed possession-less things to 1-meter square scraps in Sérgio Costas 2020 works are based on discarded sheets, the rests of a paper session in a playground of colour contrast lines and cuts. They transmit a lingering dark disturbance: Pulverized, hacked, cut thought flour, rests, and light crumbs easy to blow off your hand. Dust that lies on the gleaming edge of great works. A small reflecting cloud rises, particles glistening darkly in the falling evening sun. 
These remnant pieces of paper were repeatedly cut and at a certain moment stoped to be discarded. They were stripped of their halo, their obvious sublime and surprise effect. The transcendent aura has gone for good. Something of a map of ghost towns is installed in these works, such as the area of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster or Chernobyl, where no one is anywhere near who could be fascinated with the novelty occupied by technical new artefacts and art techniques or the sudden electronic eruption of public attention: the artwork has disappeared, only leftover recursive fragmentation of the paper sheets that gain a new sublime in what rests us, an uncanny notion of undefined but highly ordered sprayed greyness between black and white grey mathematized zones of outside of time, hoarded in time-banks and rematerialized as if being digital dust in which no sun shines nor a day breaks or a new world goes under, or even originates. 
Hacking into what rests after the image is hacked, until we are defined as hackable beings,  until this hacking process halts and stops to be an image or at least ceases to be of the original and habitual interest when the paper is already so small that a pre-programmed suggestion of the intentionality of a specific indication, mark or gesture, fades. 
Sérgio Costa created a 5x5cm square module paper hacking machine. 
Grouped according to a shade of grey, sometimes as dark way beyond the Suprematist “Zero of Form” in Malevich’s black square, and its dark history of what it was that it overpainted with black taint. A joke? A reference to something higher or much lower, the sublime of trash? 
Sometimes as light enters an image, as sedimentation and erosion of material residuals crack open fissures and unintended craters and lines of flight appear in Earth Works in the tradition of Smithson appear, we question ourselves and how do we observe how do we approach an image, how we have to transport the image out of its artistic frame, how to escape the Academy or the Society of Fine Arts, and its stratification of how to produce art works? 
As the grounding in the white of the paper becomes a hacking machine it starts to only contain information of particular value about aesthetic qualities, a play of greyscale, bluescales in a hinge of an almost not even noticeable game of colour bifurcations, rather sedimentations. The politics of reassembling these smaller fragments, not to replace any original, but through the creation of an informational collection grouped from the different shades of grey reminds on the resolution of tiny pixels that recompose a new image, entering statistical orders and ordered networks of darker to lighter and from left to right. What however these squares lack is the dimension of big-data structures of the many and they would in this sense only gain an image sujet in the moment of sufficient distance and highest resolution. But Costas works is a low-resolution work on the human perceptional scale. The inherent lack of distance and completeness of these pre-images or informational inceptions of an image are by no means a defect but their advantage, as they make us aware that we are part of these squares, grey and shadowy, ordinated by orientations such as greyscales or left to right. Strange squares, zones of gaps perception, we observers lie -the more we watch, the more at the centre of the 200x5cm2 work. We, humans, are these hackable squares re-composable, reusable, the remnants after an image fall-out, we are the given in the square the image after the image data companies and statistical Markov chains clear up their overcrowded clouds after the shortcuts are installed and the politics fixed, we the spray, the noise, we the fall-out of digital dust without dawn, all grey projected light, no darkness of a slow cinema, no time image: Just a click and finger movement away and a spray of electronic breeze, and the algorithmic Deus ex Maquina, the generated image, the epistemic line appears as a body shadow, a deviation by the material that resists the direct information of colour, then we are hacked in our perception, then recomposed in our reflection and might be partitioned in our life into 5cmx5cm squares of Strata and their remnant detection  that rests upon us.

                                                  Alexander Gerner, Lisboa, janeiro de 2020

STRATA Geophilosophical notes on Sérgio Costa


Alexander Gerner
Strata Geophilosophical notes on Sérgio Costa
BoD: Norderstedt, 2016
ISBN 978-3-8370-7500-7

The book is available on or BoD

Sérgio Costa © 2016

Ground l MU.SA Lab Arte

Exposição individual l Solo show

Trabalhos sobre papel l Works on paper

MU.SA Lab ArteMuseu das Artes de Sintra
19.09 - 18.11.2015

Sérgio Costa © 2015

A superfície [ground_fond] tal como surge numa extensividade homogénea é em si uma projecção de algo ‘mais fundo’ [profond]: apenas este último pode ser chamado Ungrund ou sem fundo [groundless]. A lei de figura e fundo nunca se sustenta para objectos que se distinguem de um fundo neutro ou de um fundo de outros objectos a menos que o próprio objecto estabeleça uma relação com a sua própria profundidade. A relação entre figura e fundo é apenas uma relação plana extrínseca que pressupõe uma relação interna, volumosa entre superfícies e a profundidade que as envolve.

Deleuze, Gilles (1994). Difference and repetition. New York: Columbia University Press

No projecto “Ground” a dispersão de tinta através da técnica de “spray” sobre papel descobre a extensividade como um acidente inseparável da própria matéria da pintura. O excesso de tinta que se dispersou para além da área pintada revela uma continuidade simultânea entre os objectos, um evento que se desdobra através do próprio processo de construção; superfícies em extensão que embora posteriormente dissociadas, mantêm uma relação estrutural.

Subtrair a figura enquanto “fundo” do fundo introduz um espaço de passagem, um esvaziamento que cria ressonância. Tal como uma dobra é sempre dobrada no interior de uma dobra, esta exerce uma torção sobre a superfície, presume um interior e um exterior, superfície e fundo. A acção de dobrar_desdobrar manifesta de cada vez e simultaneamente um diferencial que caracteriza uma ocorrência em termos de contracção_dilatação, envolvimento_desenvolvimento, tensão_distensão.

O suporte de papel é o fundo (ground) que indicia o processo de preparação da pintura. Um espaço que se revela através de processos de interferência, acções conjuntas, circuitos, ocorrências, níveis e limiares, passagens e distribuições de intensidades. Embora a superfície da pintura na sua integridade, seja fundamentalmente restritiva - espaço das hesitações, incapacidades, da insolência dos materiais; a sua supressão dá lugar a uma outra hegemonia, uma descontinuidade numa série de interdependências, camada após camada, que o processo artístico encobre e descobre.

Sérgio Costa
set 2015

Sampling strata I Galeria Bangbang

Solo show

Galeria BangbangLisboa
22.05 - 25.07.2015

© Galeria Bangbang

Notes on >fucking hazziness<. Sérgio Costa’s  “Strata- Sampling Puzzles” (2015) [1]
Alexander Gerner[2]
I Working-Images as Observational Program Sérgio Costa is not observing any kind of biological microcosm by a microscope, nor does he take up the telescope and observes nebulae -Nebula for Latin >cloud<:  a name used for any nebulous, that is, diffuse astronomical object. Nevertheless, nebula and gullies can be found in Sergio Costa’s recent painting works, in which materials (hand-molded clay-things, different types of painted textiles, cracks of painting layers) are confronted in an observational program[3] called >Strata< in which a variety of oil paintings, and material try-outs are presented in a systematic way. In the Sampling Puzzles exhibit, strata show an intimate conceptual relation to “working images”[4] (Nasim 2010) as experimental praxis. In the case of Costa’s strata, the molds, gullies on the different canvas materials are conducted as experiments of >working images< in the artist lab between science and art. These working images interact with scientific instruments of observation, but as well with descriptions/depictions of other images (in the case of Costa with images of explosions/ volcanic eruptions; Strata#23-#27), maps, oil paintings, etchings, drawings and sampled paint/media experiments (Gullies), molds and crack-samplers.
II Experiments in matter behavior Strata Sampling Puzzles –e.g. gullies- appear as  experimentation in matter behavior and deal with >entrainments< on different media. In physical geography >entrainment< is a process in which surface sediments are incorporated into a fluid flow (air, water, ice). Geological Entrainment is inherent in the operation of erosion. In Costa´s >gullies< the diluted oil paint is poured on different textile supports (“veludo”=velvet andcetim”=satin) taking advantage of their different textures, while minimizing subsequent interventions. The ink proceeds similarly to formation of water in the ground or dust, particles and gases in the formation of nebulae. Subsequently the fabric is mounted on wooden grids of small formats.

III Vapor of the events  Costa in his long term strata series is interested in showing the differences, strategies and time lags, of an >Aesthetics of appearing<[5](Martin Seel 2005) in experience: First, the >neptunic< longtime development is difficult to be experienced escaping human experiential limitations, and the meditation of which is thematic in earlier paintings (Strata #2-22) on rock stratification. Costa’s strata series (2014/2015) develops another mode of experience though: the intimacy of the small and medium scale gullies experiments and the meditation on volcanic explosive cloud strata (Strata #23-27). In these explosive events we become reminded on our temporal and rhythmical absolute experiential thresholds such as the 30ms of temporal order threshold of experience, in which events appear to be happening in distinguishable temporal orders and not simultaneous, or the fusion threshold of 2-3ms in which events are distinguished as two and not as one event, need the retardandis of painting as a form of observing the too fast phenomena, the too nebulous, the explosive, that escapes our experience otherwise. Costa in this Strata-Sampling Puzzles exhibition searches for “key events[6](Waldenfels 2007, 42) a) attentional >scenic events< and >dramatic events< (Waldenfels 2007, 42) the eruptive “vulcanic” fast events in contrast to b) geophilosophic longtime-events, the “neptunic” (slow and steadily evolving) experience: What if we would live more than 500 years?  Maybe then even the neptunic experience of earth’s kinetics of strata that Sérgio Costa Strata series hinges on would become part of our daily experience. This vulcanic experience that Costa pain(t)s seems to have a matrix, a black hole from which all emerges or is sucked into.

IV Explosive geo-sampling What matters in vapor-becomings- “this isn´t yet a duskscape” is that Vapors hints towards transformations of matter, not just in their strata of aggregation, but of bodily form in general.  With Jean-Luc Nancy[7] we can say: „If we wish to keep the word matter, then we should say that it´s the impenetrability of what is form – in other words, relation, sensing oneself, being sensed, and sensing something as if from the outside“.  We experience strata even in its vaporous blurred form as if from the outside, we are never located inside strata, the knowledge strata, the sensing strata, the social strata being sensed, the material strata: we are already puzzled by a multiplicity of layers and relations, but always from the outside, by their uncertainty in hazziness without the one clear strata appearing for us in experience: >this isn´t yet a duskscape<. The vulcano explosions contrasting the slow artistic process of Costas delicate oil paintings, remind us on the foggy atmospheres created by the 19th century painter J.M.W. Turner- a mix of a Victorian steamboat in which steam immerses the painting in mist, sea-motion and a lightscape from the harbour („Snow storm. Of a Habours mouth“ 1842)- but, in Costa’s Strata #23-#27 (2014/2015) we are deprived of anthropocentric reference of ports and boats, nor do they refer to anthropcenical responsability in global domicides[8]; on the contrary, >Strata< confront us by natural hazzards and evaporating life: blurred thoughts on >fucking hazziness<! Vulcano Explosions… Just yesterday on the 23rd of April 2015 while writing this text -two days before the Nepal earthquake in which thousands are killed-, the >Calbuco< Vulcano eruption in Chile interrupts me, thinking as far as a 20 km radar of evacuation: breaks, cracks and ruptures, the fragility of our existence, its necessity for our experience.... Sérgio Costa’s >Strata< ask us two questions: Are we prepared for >vulcanic< events? How are we able to experience long-time change?

[1] Excerpt from the book: Gerner, A. (upcoming). Strata. Geophilosophical notes on Sérgio Costa
[2] Alexander Gerner is a researcher at the CFCUL (University of Lisbon). His research is supported by a FCT Post-doc grant: SFRH/BPD/90360/2012
[3] Nasim, O. (2014). Observing by Hand. Sketching the Nebulae in the Ninteenth Century. Chicago: Chicago University Press
[4] Nasim, O. (2010). “Observation, Working images and procedure: The ´Great Spiral in Lord Rosse´s astronomical record books and beyond,” BJHS 43 (3), 353-389
[5] Seel, M. (2005). Aesthetics of Appearing. Stanford: Stanford University Press
[6] Waldenfels, B. (2007).”The Power of Events”. In: Bernhard Waldenfels. The Question of the Other. Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 37-51
[7] Nancy, J.-L. (2008). „On the Soul“. In:  Jean-Luc Nancy. Corpus. Translated by Richard A. Rand. New York: Fordham University Press, 127
[8] Porteous, D.J. & Smith, S.E. (2001). Domicide. The Global Destruction of Home. Montreal: Mc Gill Queens University Press

Galeria Bangbang

Alevander Gerner

Sérgio Costa

Strata l Galeria Carlos Carvalho

Solo show

Galeria Carlos Carvalho, Lisboa
15.05 to 14.06.2014

Exhibition view, © Galeria Carlos Carvalho

Thinking the non-stratified with Sergio Costa’s >Strata<

By following a Minerva’s flight of wonder in Costa’s experimental >strata< series, we follow a form of artistic experimentation on strata as archive of captured nature in which we are invited to deviate from geological principles such as >original horizontality< in which sedimentary rock strata are supposed to form in horizontal positions. >Strata< question horizontally layered archives of reality. In Sérgio Costa’s series Strata we are given a new diagramming strategy of art not only by the means of painting but as well by changes of dimension in strata experiments from 2012 onwards introducing a fragmentary map principle in Strata #15 and an anaglyphic principle in Strata #19, #20, #21 as shown first in the Geological Museum of Lisbon (5th of April to 3rd of May 2014) and now in his exhibition – linked to the shortlist of the Arte Laguna prize [Venice 2014] in May-June 2014 at the gallery Carlos Carvalho. Arte Contemporânea in Lisbon (14.5-4.6.2014), Portugal.


Strata come at least in a pair, in a double bound or in multiple layers. One stratum therefore serves the others as a “substratum”(Deleuze/ Guattari, A thousand Plateaus) -and one might add- as double pinchers of a lobster (Deleuze/ Guattari’s image of strata) or as earthly rock layers, or atmospheric strata as well the stratified peel of an onion. Strata-layers can be rigid or twisted, elastic or tense; in any case strata move, can be moved and are not timeless, but on the contrary, even that we as humans might observe them as relatively stabile, strata are already part of a time lag and a local shift, as are strata of experiences, or as we call them here: attentional strata that Sergio Costa develops.

Strata appear not necessarily as rock layers and stratification does not equal horizontal petrifaction, but >strata< can - as in the image sujet of Sérgio Costa’s paintings- show up as layers of rock- not only densified by pressure, and broken up- refolded or transformed into maps, smoke, clay and even exhumed dust of decaying proto-objects.


Strata appear as layers of two images on the two sides of an interstice line. The interstice line often orients us in Sergio Costa’s Strata paintings, and as such lets us discover his work as maps of unknown or anonymous materials in the observation of which we gain a certain complicity and that we in a first necessary “disillusive moment” identify with rock. However, Costa’s work is a meditations on the virtualization of our (visible) and touchable supposedly stable and firm reality. It is therefore not merely a matter of deciding, whether the Strata-maps are indexical or related with a material object (the territory of the painting) or whether it is the “territory itself”, index sui, pointing at itself. The getting visible of strata grids becomes a technique and strategy of orientation in Strata #15, #17, #18 a series of three Strata oil paintings that come close to the former principle of Costa’s work on “Sampling puzzles” in order to create maps to orient in an ungrounded world.

In its majority the oil on canvas/linen >Strata< paintings are composed of at least two strata or layers that we perceptually unify habitually at first sight- the exception hereby are >Strata< #5 and anaglyphic Strata #19, #20, #21 that seem to convey a unity of the image, however one has to remember that the >Strata [#1]< is missing and as such a first strata or grounding of reality in Sergio Costa confronts us with the anti-foundationalist multiplicity of >strata< and his artistic strategy of destratification. Therefore the line in between the two layers of the image are sometimes more (#2, #6, #8-11, #13-14, #16) sometimes less (#3, #4, #7, #12) visible interstice lines between two parts depicting stratified calcium formations on the oil painting, leading us to a geo-philosophical reflection on strata in the tradition of Nietzsche, Foucault, Deleuze or recently Negarestani.
Strata#15 de-stratify not only the rest of the painting series before and after number 15. This means: >Strata #15< shows other strata not only as rests of maps, but Strata#15 also shifts our attention towards the fact that strata in the sense of Sérgio Costa are foremost maps, and as such would be better studied - not in the science of geography or geology- but “in painting” -as Deleuze famously claimed in his small and precious text “What Children say”. Strata #15 is an excellent way to study painting as map-making- a temporarily orienting strategy in time, space and affective intensity- and all of it still in the making.
The closer one gets to Costa’s >Strata< the more the process view of painting as map-creation becomes visible, the more far the observer distances herself from the >Strata<, the more virtual the surface of Costa’s art in general becomes. >Strata 15< is also the place where Costa’s >strata< are openly stratified formations and map at the same time, ruler and pencil, hand and thought, breath and rhythm., all on the surface. Thus >Strata< #15 invites us to go beyond the possibilities we always imagined things to be in their historical stratified forms and methods- and in relation to our lives. Sergio Cost’s >Strata< ask us:
How do we orient in between and above strata?
How do we orient ourselves in between and above what we always thought was stable, fixed, grounded, or based on scientific facts and principles?
There is another important new dimension in this series of >Strata< from 2013-2014 starting with underdetermined proto-amorphous things: The forming of mesh of clay and the drying of the wet mesh through which its porosity appears in Strata #20 and #21, exhibited in a showcase before we had entered the exhibition space at the Geological Museum. And even after transporting these frail underdetermined things into the realm of painting, in which we can see them as paradoxes (simultaneously a proto-brain slice or/and a slice of petrified toasted bread) our imagination while observing these >things< is unlimited in a trivial matching game of similarity. The concreteness of these sub-(jectival) objects brings us further due to its contextual embeddings and transport into the realm of a museum space, the geological museum, in the building of the Portuguese Academy of Sciences. Strata of Sergio Costa turn into a “real counterpart”, a virtual syncope of petrified objects, first conceptually exhibited in the Lisbon Museum of Geology in the building of the Portuguese Academy of Sciences, an artistic principle of ungrounding and virtualization of the material Museum space and its displayed objects, and the putting into question of scientific grounding or the “un-changeability” of scientific laws and orthodox orders.
In >Strata< #20 and #21 the porosity that is an openness of craters and valleys unlike its geological counterpart of sedimentation can be put into perspective as artistic strategy opposed to an geological sedimentation principle of stratification. Costa´s >Strata< exhume the fixity of our habitual perception of things and thus strata as rock layers start decomposing, while not even the most hard rock on which religions belief to be build, escapes this virtualizing principle of de-stratification or ungrounding. By the introduction of new anaglyphic works of strata, Sergio Costa can now be seen in 3D, without any need to go to a multiplex cinema- the cinematic anaglyphic mode in 2014 reached the geological museum, it catapults the observer to a nature 2.0. The more the observer seems to recover in this optical illusion the “original” 3D structure of the object in study, in a “regrounding” of reality, the more he tries to root them on a platonic plane, the more >strata< virtualize and ungrounds.
Lisbon, 17 of April 2014

from the upcoming book:
Alexander Gerner (2014). Strata. Sérgio Costa. Books on Demand: Norderstedt
Alexander Gerner is a German researcher in philosophy based in Lisbon. He is member of the CFCUL at the University of Lisbon with his project
His work is supported by a Post-Doc grant by the FCT foundation: SFRH/BPD/90360/2012