With Gisella Gellini in Brera

November, 19, 2013. A special session indeed. Gisella Gellini from Politecnico di Milano invited me for this talk in Academia di Brera, on art and communication. My good friend artist Marco Brianza on my side, that was cool! Topic: «The Temple and the Device: the rhetorics of display and the economy of passions».

19 de Novembro, 2013. Uma sessão certamente especial. Gisella Gellini do Politecnico di Milano convidou-me para esta conferência na Accademia di Brera sobre arte e comunicação. O meu bom amigo, o artista Marco Brianza, ao meu lado, isso é que foi! Assunto: «O Templo e o Dispositivo: a retórica do display e a economia das paixões».


UALG! (With) Xana.

Just dis/recovered this nicely boring video of my talk at UALG, in the South edge of Portugal. One of my usual lullabies (presentations of the book ‘Arte na Cidade’), to the ‘music’ of great master-artists Xana, Pedro Cabral Santo and Tiago Baptista. Third of the Talks ‘Ciclo de Artes Visuais’. The event invited artists, curators and thinkers to share their path, debate possibilities and choices, showing work they realized and transformed them. It all happened the 16th of december, 2014. Courtesy CIAC.

Acabo de re-descobrir esta chatíssima palestra na UALG, a Sul. Terceira palestra do Ciclo de Artes Visuais, no anfiteatro 0.4 do Complexo Pedagógico do Campus da Penha. Uma das minhas usuais cantilenas de apresentação do livro ‘Arte na Cidade’ (Círculo de Leitores/Temas e Debates, 2014), ao som dos mestres-artistas Xana, Pedro Cabral Santo e Tiago Baptista. O evento convidou artistas, curadores e teóricos a apresentar os seus percursos, discutir possibilidades e escolhas, mostrando o trabalho que realizaram e que os transformou nos artistas que são hoje. Aconteceu tudo a 16 de Dezembro de 2014. Cortesia CIAC.

First Floor, turn left, meet Val

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Believe it or not, we met exactly ten years ago, in Venice, in front of Joana Vasconcelos’ unavoidable stainless steel pan shoe. I was loudly crying out something like ‘Art should be spiritual…’. She mercilessly interrupted me and the debate went on until morning. She’s doing a hell of a job in Zimbabwe, where she found love and a true cultural mission. An educator and a researcher, one of her passions is to support emerging and contemporary art. Valerie is the co-founder (in 2009) of First Floor Gallery in Harare, Zimbabwe’s first contemporary emerging artist run initiative, where she is the Director of Education and International Projects. This time we arranged to meet at Ivory Coast Pavilion, where were were welcomed by the warm intensity of the wonderful work of Koko Bi. See you soon, Val! Glad to meet, Koko Bi!




The dilemma of Orestis

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Congrats, curator Orestis Andreadakis [in the photo] an artist George Drivas!  The narrative video installation ‘Laboratory of Dilemmas’ was indeed a very good surprise in the Greek Pavilion in the Giardini, presenting and connecting key-aspects of two distant worlds: the words of Ancient tragedy and the image of Contemporary Cinema. The impact was certainly heightened by the mesmerizing (and after all, surprising) presence of one of my divas, Charlotte Rampling, but no less enchanting is how the debate develops on the screen, bringing Aeschylus’ Iketides (Suppliant Women, 464-463 b.c) – the first literary text in history that raises the issue of a persecuted group of people seeking for asylum (!) – back to life in the most pertinent of moments: the refugee crisis. Ironic. Brilliant. Tragic.

Green Bate Bola


Nicola Green is an English portrait artist who rose to prominence in the late 1990s, earning international acclaim for her keen ability to draw out the essence of her subject, whether observing an individual or exploring wider social and cultural issues. She seeks to reveal human stories by creating her finished work from extensive primary material. It was a pleasure to meet her at the critically-acclaimed Diaspora Pavilion in Venice. As an artist and a mentor of the project, she warmly explained to me her experiments with pattern, collage and repetition, colour and composition rendering the final form. Important to note: «In the last ten years she started to apply her own interests and experience in her work to embrace social themes of identity, faith, power and leadership.» Her gorgeous works under the title ‘Bate Bola’ are good examples of such kind of move.

Eunice, Filipe & Co.


Beautifully ‘framed’ by two artists who finally met. Eunice Artur and Filipe Garcia. At the launching of  the very first Portuguese Emerging Art catalogue by  EMERGE, an innovative project by Daniela Ambrósio and Jorge Reis (with Ana Sécio). You may read my text for the occasion here. But far more exciting is to run to the bookshops and acknowledge the radically beautiful work of Artur and Garcia, as well as of others who manage to share their inner world in a most assertive way.

In the book, sculptor Simeon Nelson puts it in a gorgeous way: «Becoming an artist is learning to be both empirical and rational, developing through rigorous exercise acute observational powers and prodigious internal structuring systems that are needed for critical and responsible creative practice. Its is necessary to see the whole in the fragment and the fragmentary nature of the whole. Artists need to stand-under-things and cast the net of their senses over things. We need to operate from a radical empathy, seeing themselves as part of the world we are reformulating in their work. An authentic voice arises from this engagement, from developing good creative habits that engender a sense of constant wonder and rigorous questioning. Voltaire said “celebrate those who seek the truth, fear those who find it”.»



Belissimamente ’emoldurado’ por dois criadores que finalmente se conheceram. A Eunice Artur e o Filipe Garcia. Por ocasião do lançamento do primeiríssimo catálogo da EMERGE – Portuguese Emerging Art, inovador projecto de Daniela Ambrósio e Jorge Reis (com Ana Sécio). Pode ler-se o meu texto para a ocasião aqui. Mas melhor será conhecer o quanto antes o labor radicalmente belo de Artur e Garcia, bem como de outros que assim procuraram tornar o seu mundo interior mais partilhado, no mais assertivo dos modos. É nesse sentido que vai o texto do escultor inglês Simeon Nelson, que mais acima se reproduz.




Mário, Sara & André

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A primeira vez que participo numa exposição como artista desde… hmm, eu depois digo. Uma ideia de Sara & André, como só podia. Bela experiência, a destes reis da autoreferencialidade, aqui multiplicada por um mirífico jogo de espelhos. Na Zaratan, Curated Curators (I) é a primeira de um tríptico de exposições. Conta com obras, entre outros – vejam lá – de João Silvério, Natxo Checa, Sandro Resende, Sara Antónia Matos, Maria do Mar Fazenda… uma mancheia de referências da curadoria. Aproveitei para fazer uma espécie de redenção dos meus tempos de Belas Artes, contando a história de como um quadro desprezado e dado por perdido durante décadas acabou recuperado numa original decoração de um apartamento… AirbnB. Uma aventura.


Fotografia de Bruno Lopes / Photo by Bruno Lopes


The first time I participate in an exhibition as an artist since… forget it, I’ll tell later. An idea by Sara & André. Obviously. And what an experience, by the kings of selfreferenciality, here multiplied by a mirific game of mirrors. At Zaratan, Curated Curators (I) is  the first of a triptych. Participants are, among others – now check this out! – de João Silvério, Natxo Checa, Sandro Resende, Sara Antónia Matos, Maria do Mar Fazenda… a handful of great curators. I seized the occasion, managing to engage in a sort of redemptive process recalling my times at Fine Arts School. In fact, my work is a story. The one of how a despised painting, which I considered lost and had forgotten for decades, ended up being recuperated, staring in the living room of a newly renovated and decorated apartment. Airbnb style. An adventure.


Stefan Kornacki GO HOME!


I saw art’s future and its name is Stefan Kornacki. Now NOT kiddin’… The way Stefan Kornacki is interpreting the tradition of text art in urban space in his Inscription Project is extraordinary in its mix of documentation work and theatrical mise en scène. Here, the exhibition is not afraid of becoming spectacle, it becomes fully performance, spatialized aphoristic wit. The craft of a performatic ethos, now showing in Toruń, Poland, birthplace of another genius, Kopernik. At CSW in Torun, the spectator is immersed in some kind of fin de siècle mournful AND exhilarating atmosphere. A precocious master he is, and I am very very proud to have curated him for Skyway in 2009 and 2010, for Objet Trouvé and Cosmic Underground in 2012, Lumina in 2015, LightCraft in 2016. I remember our 18 hours travel with Stefan to Tallinn, to meet Indrek Leht and prepare his participation in the VI Disainöö 2011, and in this longest of travels (in a time I was afraid of flying) what was shaped were the parameters of a rare and intense, albeit prickly curator-artist dialogic. Anyway. Only somebody so full in love with the past AND ‘things to come’ could do this kinda thing and get away with it. Stefan Kornacki, you know what? GO HOME!



Da natureza das coisas

Isto foi quase nove meses antes de ‘A Natureza das Coisas’ na Travessa da Ermida, uma poderosa exposição que exemplifica bem o rigor intelectual e humano do Valter. Ficou, e bem, na Ermida que lhe deu acolhimento! Mas vamos à foto. Estamos aqui na galhofa (típico!) com o Jorge Feijão, a minutos (sim, quase chegámos atrasados) do intenso dia de conferências do urbano.criação.interface que decorria nesse sábado no Museu José Malhoa. Na accrochage colectiva que acompanhava o evento, de seu nome Matriz Malhoa, Feijão participou com a sua arte da subtileza e da discrição. Impressiva aretê.
Tudo muito bonito, claro, mas importante, importante, digam lá se não são estes luminosos, cúmplices e ensolarados sorrisos, à porta do Antero?

BlackOutBomba | Mumbai

«Entre a ilusão e o vazio há um caminho de verdade.» This is the phrase, in Portuguese (!), which appears written all along the Bandra East Skywalk, for the fifth edition of the BlackOutBomba Festival, held between 23 and 25 December in Mumbai. Translation: «Between illusion and emptiness there is a path of truth». What inspired me to send this text for Shazeb Arif’s challenging urban festival of statements, appropriately framed by the slogan ‘Don’t React’ was to try to make a synthesis – in one single phrase – of my own recent experience of India and Nepal. Hope it also tells something about me and all these few years of curatorial work.

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