Uma vida inteira, by Nuno Sousa Vieira

Uma vida inteira by Nuno Sousa Vieira is an extensive exercise in spatial construction and deconstruction, where the body is a pivotal element of this uninterrupted game composed of forms and perceptions. This game makes us aware of the many lives experienced by an artist’s object and of the many that it may still have – a door that became a chair, a private “exhibition room that became a public installation, a series of windows removed from their original spot to give way to colour compositions.

By retrieving the “tautological model”, and its articulation with “the sometimes familiar appearance of some objects marked by loss and abandonment”, underlined by the exhibition curator, Ana Rito, Sousa Vieira’s works always have that double trait of being absolutely new and, at the same time, establishing a connection – vague, tenuous – with the memory of their original identity. These pieces result from a recombination, recomposition and recovery of different elements, materialities, places, identities.

The place is always the same – the artist’s studio. At most, the work is always about the same – the artist’s silent and meticulous practice, his positioning in the world, his worldview towards what surrounds him… basically, his life. The studio, in the old SIMALA factory, is in every object, angle, reference – an inexhaustible field of research and experimentation, where industrial archaeology is part of the process. Art happens in the deviations of what he collects, the angularities he adds, the displacements, cuts and clippings of matter.

And it also happens through the dialogue with the spectator – the body that interrogates, alienates and questions the pieces, in a gradual conversation, marked by uncertain cadences and rhythms, but no less curious or intelligent for that. The light always has different gradations for each person and the clarity of the forms sometimes awaits an always subjective time. It is with this spectator that the artist wants to meet, even if it happens on a dark night, even if they are blind. It is not by chance that the exhibition ends in an almost dark room, lit with the symbolic simplicity of an oil lamp. In this meeting spot, around a modest flame, in a studio without electricity and water, only the most archaic lighting methods work when the sun goes down, allowing to build and to be built, to transform and to be transformed.

There is a latent performative side to all his exhibitions. Uma vida inteira was no exception. Bodies orbit the magnetism of the scale of the pieces, demand action, movement, in a spectator-artist tandem.

It is not an anthological exhibition – far from it – but Uma vida inteira has all the formal, material, and conceptual lexicon that Sousa Vieira has developed – and all the accuracy and control of construction that are characteristic of his work.

Uma vida inteira is at BAG – Banco das Artes Galeria, Leiria, until November 10.

José Rui Pardal Pina (n. 1988) has a master's degree in architecture from I.S.T. in 2012. In 2016 he joined the Postgraduate Course in Art Curation at FCSH-UNL and began to collaborate in the Umbigo magazine.

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