Since 1993, Gonçalo Pena (b. 1967) has created a vast collection of drawings with a huge mesh of cross-references and suppositions that all revolve around the human figure.
Within this immense collection, religion, history and ancient mythology are intertwined with political philosophy and social issues, creating an authentic cultural conundrum with the references that are hidden behind each image.
Published on the occasion of his solo exhibition “Viagem Macaca (Monkey Trip)” at the Galeria Graça Brandão in Lisbon and at ZERO in Milan, Monkey Trip brings together over 250 graphic works. These have been selected by the duo of artists-turned-editors João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva from two decades of Pena’s work, with drawings in graphite, coloured pencil, pen and ink, and watercolour. The illustrations in the book appear in an apparently unitary and logical order, which forms a sharp contrast with the immense variety of techniques, themes and subjects.
The publication also contains two essays in which the two editors each focus on a theme selected from those in the collection. The first reinterprets the myth of Adam and Eve from a symbolic and anthropological perspective, while the second traces out a revolutionary memory based on the encounter between sexual experience and ideological development.