Sara & André – O Colecionador de Belas Artes at Galeria Quadrum
At Galeria Quadrum we can visit Sara & André’s latest project, O Colecionador de Belas Artes. The artist duo continues the work in circuit, dialoguing with the art system and its actors.
I would say that Sara & André’s plastic and visual work is as important as the communicating thread that unravels the agents of their proposals. Although it is a work marked by the sheer force of the idea, concept and contact, it is at the intersection with the presentation – in this case, 27 similarly shaped paintings – that the duo’s work becomes effective.
O Colecionador de Belas Artes is the outcome of contact established with private collectors in Portugal and their archives. Following the choice of some works by the collectors, it was possible to make the paintings that we can find at Galeria Quadrum.
I highlight three points in Sara & André’s proposal.
The first is about the citation work in the way the exhibition is thought out. The project is a direct dialogue with António Areal’s work. In 1971, Areal presented 15 paintings at Galeria São Mamede. In them we could find an anonymous silhouette, similar to the one in Sara & André’s paintings. As in the paintings exhibited at Quadrum, Areal presented the collector carrying a work in the foreground, and in the background, we could see other pieces, just like in Sara & André’s paintings.
The artists recapture Areal’s proposal. They simultaneously dialogue with the collectors, their collections, but also with the artists. The citation, and the use of works by other actors for the construction of their work, shows the importance of that which is invisible and does not have a tangible body – I would say that it is the force of association, a kind of game contaminated by humour, or a non-formula made with these components in well-balanced doses, producing in the spectator an element that I call familiar shock. Something that leads to the second point I emphasise, related to the notion of forgrery. By dialoguing with the work of other artists, representing it with means similar to the original in the case of painting, this familiar effect finds room to call forth laughter and humour in that authorised forgery. In the case of O Colecionador de Belas Artes, the notion of forgery, quotation or appropriation is at stake in the works’ formal aspect. This is appropriation upped a thousandfold. Sara & André not only activate other artists’ work, but they painted and mounted the 27 paintings with means equal to Areal’s in 1971.
At the time, Areal’s proposal was to destabilize concepts, in particular the concept of authenticity. Another reading of Areal’s work has to do with the mercantile character of the artistic object. The collector and the spectator are agents who legitimize the work as merchandise. Even if umbilically, this hypothesis is in Sara & André’s update, it seems that the duo’s aim was to affirm and empower the collector’s attitude, something that leads to the third point.
By being a work in circuit, reminiscent of previous ones, the most recent Curated Curators I, II e III, at Zaratan Arte Contemporânea, (2017), but also Exercício de Estilo, at MNAC (2014), or Inquérito a 263 Artistas, a Contemporâneaspecial edition (2021), the mapping of the artistic territory and respective stakeholders in Portuguese contemporary art is informal, as we can read in the first pages of the book that resulted from the Curated Curators project. For Colecionador de Belas Artes, Sara & André explored aspects such as collectors’ motivations, what legitimizes a collection, or the collectors’ contribution to the development of discourses on works of art. Something that can be understood as a curatorial work – completing a collection, thinking and choosing works for a particular exhibition. In other words, creating. Either way, there seems to be a balance between intuition, reflection and negotiation. Finding what is missing or sometimes hopelessly lost.
The exhibition, O Colecionador de Belas Artes, by Sara & André can be visited at the Quadrum Gallery until June 19.
 Enamel, oil, graphite, India ink, pigmented ink, watercolour, coloured pencil, ballpoint pen, water-based marker and alcohol-based marker on platex mounted on wood, 170 x 60 cm and 170 x 80 cm
 “The escape from the visual stimulus of techniques in artistic and deeply aesthetic theories took our issue of authors (of a few authors) to the level of ethical intervention – a practical morality, a living sociability. The aestheticians of the escape are just that – not of the fact, but, above all, of the idea of the fact: they make works which are not stimulating from the standpoint of the perceived shock, but which disturb cultural concepts and precepts”, António Areal, “Notas de Evidência Aleatória” em Areal – Pinturas e Desenhos na Galeria São Mamede, Lisbon, 1971
 See, Uma breve história da curadoria, Lisbon: Documenta, 2019