That Obscure Object of Desire (1977 France/Spain) aka Cet obscur objet du desir Directed by Luis Bunuel Shown: Carole Bouquet

That Obscure Object of Desire

Mar 17 – May  5, 2018

Curated by Philip Larratt-Smith

Opening (Carpintaria)
Saturday, March 17, 3–6pm

Catalogue launch (Galeria)
Monday, April 9, 5–10pm


Rua Jardim Botânico 971,
Rio de Janeiro



Rua Fradique Coutinho, 1500 - Vila Madalena, São Paulo



Press release (PT)

Press release (EN)

Miroslaw Balka | Tacita Dean | Iran do Espírito Santo | Felix Gonzalez-Torres | Douglas Gordon | Roni Horn | Rivane Neuenschwander | Wolfgang Tillmans

Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel is pleased to present That Obscure Object of Desire, a group show conceived by Philip Larratt-Smith, which takes place simultaneously at the venues Galeria (São Paulo) and Carpintaria (Rio de Janeiro). In keeping with this paired concept, the opening reception will take place at Carpintaria on March 17, with a second event to be held at Galeria on April 9. The exhibition catalogue will be launched in this later event. That Obscure Object of Desire will be open to public from March 17 to May 5, 2018 in both venues.



Curatorial statement


That Obscure Object of Desire explores the intersections between abstraction, perception, desire, and memory through the work of eight artists who share an interest in the morphology of desire: Miroslaw Balka, Tacita Dean, Iran do Espírito Santo, Félix González-Torres, Douglas Gordon, Roni Horn, Rivane Neuenschwander, Wolfgang Tillmans. Desire breeds an unfocussed anxiety, which is no less powerful for lacking a specific object. Sometimes we do not know what we want. Sometimes what we want is unstable and changing, or opaque and elliptical, like a shape that hovers at the edge of one’s field of vision without ever fully coming into focus. Tenuous affinities and minimal differences become all important. Doubt and ambiguity are the coin of the realm.

The exhibition takes its title from Luis Buñuel’s 1977 film of the same name, in which the middle-aged protagonist is repeatedly seduced, frustrated, and abandoned by a mysterious and unpredictable woman. The female lead is played by two actresses of contrasting appearances and temperaments. The sudden slippage between them in alternate scenes serves to reinforce the protagonist’s ambivalence and confusion. My proposal is to take this poetic conceit as the organizing device of the project by staging concurrent exhibitions in the São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro galleries. In this way, like many of the works in the checklist, the exhibition itself, as a curatorial work, will become a paired form. It will be impossible to see the entire exhibition at once, just as there is something in the woman’s nature, the object of desire, that forever eludes the protagonist’s grasp.


Philip Larratt-Smith




Support: Castello di Ama | Aesop | | Stella Artois


Exhibition views

Exhibition views


Related event

Related publication