Ernesto de Sousa, Exercises of Poetic Communication with Other Aesthetic Operators

José de Almada Negreiros, Oficina Arara, Pedro Barateiro, Isabel Carvalho, Salomé Lamas, Hanne Lippard, Sarah Margnetti, Franklin Vilas Boas Neto, Rosa Ramalho, Nils Alix-Tabeling, Treffen in Guincho*, Nora Turato, Ricardo Valentim

Ernesto website
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* Filipe André Alves, Hugo Canoilas, Clothilde, Vasco Futscher, Sophia Hörmann, Fernando Mesquita, Thea Möller, Nikolai Nekh, Sofia Montanha, Pedro Diniz Reis, Maddison Rowe, Andreia Santana and Anna Schachinger

Opening – Saturday, 27.11

3pm – Galeria Quadrum
My body, this paper, this fire
performance by Pedro Barateiro
with João dos Santos Martins

5pm – Galeria Avenida da Índia
Nós Não Estamos Algures
poetry reading

Ernesto de Sousa (1921–1988) was a major and multifaceted figure from the Portuguese avant-garde, artist, poet, critic, essayist, curator, editor, filmmaker and a promoter of experimental ideas and artistic expressions. This exhibition, organized on the centenary of his birth, seeks to pay tribute to his kaleidoscopic vision of art through an intergenerational, transhistorical dialogic approach with his work and his archives.

Reflecting questions of hierarchy, authorship, and the complexity of framing, encapsulating or dividing within the multiple and complementary practices of Ernesto de Sousa – whose motto “Your Body is My Body, My Body is Your Body” serves as a poetic manifesto –, this exhibition presents the different aspects of his oeuvre (visual, poetical and theoretical), and his outstanding inventiveness of concepts. The works, the archives and the texts will be addressed through the re-reading, the alliteration, the displacement, the activation by the punctual interventions of contemporary Portuguese and international artists as many ‘aesthetic operators’.

The project revisits the first solo exhibition in Portugal of the artist’s work held at Galeria Quadrum in 1978, A Tradição como Aventura [Tradition as Adventure], at the same place forty-three years later, alongside a selection of works and interactive, collective and curatorial projects spanning the period from the 1960s to the 1980s on display at Galeria Avenida da India. This dual exhibition brings key concepts from Ernesto de Sousa’s sympoetic, non-linear, oxymoronic thought and his counternarratives against the dualisms of thinking and being, reflecting to numerous contemporary concerns relating to notions of pluriversality and decolonial imaginary.

The past as an experience of the future (A Tradição como Aventura), the question of gender and binarisms (Changement de genre), the relationship to the photographic image and the text (in a polyphony of languages), the notions of eroticism and revolution as dissident and transgressive forces (Revolution My Body), and an interest in the periphery, the orality and a fragmented aesthetics are all elements of Ernesto de Sousa’s work that reveal his open, critical and innovative conception of the world.

Inspired by and borrowing the subtitle from the collective mixed media work Nós Não Estamos Algures, Exercicios sobre a poesia communicaçao [We Are Not Somewhere, Exercises of Poetic Communication], presented at the Clube de Teatro de Algés in December 1969, the title and the format of this exhibition aim to challenge the usual dynamics and linearity of the retrospective and monographic exhibition. In a transformative and anachronistic exercise, artworks, documents, sound pieces, texts, readings, performances, and screenings are presented in analogy with the labyrinthic production of Ernesto de Sousa, offering a convivial, liminal, inclusive experience: “La rencontre et la connaissance mutuelle, la recherche d’un accord.”1

1 Ernesto de Sousa, in the Statement Letter of Alternativa Zero from 1977, in French in the original.Translation: “The Encounter and the mutual understanding, the search for consent”.

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