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Fósseis – Fragmentos Pós-Arqueológicos by João Dias, at Quinta da Cruz – Centro de Arte Contemporânea de Viseu

With a background in painting, João Dias presents sculptural objects, where sculpture goes beyond its limits, alongside painting, archaeology and the new technologies of three-dimensional printing. “In this exhibition, I develop a new “language”, where I use concepts such as painting, sculpture and archaeology openly, like someone who uses a brush to paint a picture in a free and emotional manner” – claims the text that supports the exhibition.

In Fósseis – Fragmentos Pós-Arqueológicos, João Dias presents fragments of archaeological sites in the municipality of Viseu, whose historical-archaeological relevance aroused special interest. The artist usually collects samples of the surrounding natural environment, being interested in the specificities of each, either the formal aspect or the natural condition. He attempts to acknowledge the ecosystem around him to recognise himself as a human being, maintaining or reestablishing his connection with the natural world.

These samples’ sculptures are elaborated through three-dimensional impressions, later covered with cement or painted, as contemporary sculptural interpretations of these natural fragments.

For the exhibition, João Dias creates an immersive environment, poorly lit, where the pieces stand out on pedestals, illuminated by spotlights and LED lights with red tone, contrasting with the walls painted in the complementary colour: blue. The scale of the openings giving access to the different galleries is reduced, so that the visitor bends down to enter the various spaces, entering a cavernous, sheltering environment or the origin of the world – in this case, the natural world – where, according to João Dias, are “the last pieces of representation of the natural world, the last fossils of the earth”.

In the last exhibition room, several procedural elements indicate how the sculptures were executed and their origin. A map marks the location of the several sites where the samples were collected. There are sketches, books and photographs, as well as various objects that represent attempts at pieces and the very tools with which they were executed. All these elements will be part of a book on the exhibition about to be released.

This exhibition is also at Jardins da Casa do Miradouro, in the centre of Viseu, headquarters of the city’s archaeology centre.

Fósseis – Fragmentos Pós-Arqueológicos is a journey to the origins of the natural world from which human beings have progressively distanced themselves and whose need for reconnection is essential. The exhibition is at Quinta da Cruz – Centro de Arte Contemporânea de Viseu and can be seen until 30 November 2021.

Joana Duarte (Lisbon, 1988), architect and curator, lives and works in Lisbon. She concluded her master in architecture at Faculdade de Arquitectura of Universidade de Lisboa in 2011, she attended the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands and did her professional internship in Shanghai, China. She collaborated with several national and international architects and artists developing a practice between architecture and art. In 2018 she founds her own studio, concludes the postgraduate degree in curatorial studies at Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas of Universidade Nova de Lisboa and starts collaborating with Umbigo magazine.

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