Pedro Cabrita Reis’ “The Three Graces”, now on display in Paris, is made of cork!

Cork from Corticeira Amorim was chosen by the artist, Pedro Cabrita Reis, to create his most recent international project: “The Three Graces”, a tribute to the remarkable work of classical antiquity, now on display in the Tuileries Garden, in Paris. Integrated within the 2022 France-Portugal Season, the multifaceted Portuguese artist was invited by Laurence des Cars, President of the Louvre Museum. His original work consists of three monumental autonomous elements, entirely made of cork, using a new reference specially designed for this purpose by Amorim Cork Composites – Corticeira Amorim’s Composite Cork Business Unit. Each sculpture, which was painted in a delicate shade of ivory white at the end of the creative process, weighs approximately 500 kilos, is about 4.50 meters high and is supported on an iron base, weighing 400 kilos. The total implantation has a 9-metre diameter.

The three anthropomorphic figures, which evoke deconstructed human forms, were concluded in Corticeira Amorim’s premises, which were transformed into Pedro Cabrita Reis’ ideal studio for a few weeks. The work began many months ago, based on multiple notes, a countless number of drawings and models based on religious statues purchased in souvenir shops. Once the models conceived by the artist were found, the objects were then scanned, transformed into a computer drawing and a robotic arm began to carve the cork blocks in a segmented manner. The sculptural triad finally took shape with the assistance of cutting-edge technology from a startup based in the University of Porto’s business incubator. Pedro Cabrita Reis marked the plane cuts in each volume and used the same cork blocks in their raw state to reinforce the disarticulation of each body.

Speaking about his use of this genuinely Portuguese raw material in this first creative adventure in the world’s most important museum, the Portuguese artist commented: “I really enjoyed making these works in cork, and I’m absolutely sure that this isn’t the last time that I will be using this material in my work”. He added: “Cork is a natural and sustainable product”. In relation to Corticeira Amorim’s involvement in the process, Pedro Cabrita Reis stated that “Amorim immediately demonstrated absolute availability and enthusiasm. For this new project they built a set of circumstances, of material logistics, of discussion about the structure. Amorim was an open, active and committed partner”.

Corticeira Amorim’s Chairman and CEO, António Rios de Amorim explains that the company has embraced its association with the project “The Three Graces”: “One of the best formulae for positioning cork as a raw material of excellence is its permanent connection to the creative, artistic and cultural universe. We’re talking about architecture, design, sculpture, drawing, decoration or any other paradigm of imaginative composition. This is reinforced when we add to this certainty the possibility of combining our efforts with artists such as Pedro Cabrita Reis, since our project’s success is thereby immediately guaranteed”.

In Greek mythology, the Three Graces – Euphrosyne (joy), Aglaia (elegance and splendour) and Thalia (youth and abundance) – are the goddesses of beauty. They are usually represented naked, standing, and gracefully embraced, “The Three Graces” are often chosen as symbols of seduction, concord, gratitude, creativity and fecundity. They have been recurringly portrayed in the history of art in the most diverse disciplines. Depiction of Euphrosyne, Aglaia and Thalia declined from the 19th century onwards, and is today often reduced to mere feminist representations. The 2022 France-Portugal Season, running between February and October 2022, aims to deepen the relationship between the two countries, based on a set of programmes, projects and activities spanning various fields.