António Barros: REAL THINGS
Opening December 6, 4pm / until January 11, 2015
“The true use for the imaginative faculty of modern times is to give ultimate vivification to facts, to science, and to common lives, endowing them with the glows and glories and final illustriousness which belong to every real thing, and to real things only. Without that ultimate vivification – which the port or other artist alone can give – reality would seem incomplete , and science, democracy, and life itself, finally in vain.” Walt Whitman
António Barros was born in Funchal in 1953. He studied at the Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal, and at the Facultat de Belles Arts, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain. In the 1970s he worked with Wolf Vostell, Alberto Carneiro, and José Ernesto de Sousa. He organized several exhibitions and performance cycles, including Projectos & Progestos (1979-83, Coimbra). Since the late 1970s he participated in numerous collective exhibitions, and held several individual exhibitions. His artistic work is represented in the collections of the Serralves Museum, the Museum Vostell Malpartida in Cáceres, and the Contemporary Art Museum of Funchal.
The work of António Barros alignes itself in both the Portuguese Experimental Poetry and the international Fluxus movement. His intermedia works articulate the plastic dimension of objects, collages and installations, subjecting it to a metaphoric renaming operation of the referents, and to the exploration of the graphic visuality of the word. Among the different genres of visual poetry, his object-poems stand out. It is through a poetics of the found object that his work is fully integrated in the Portuguese Experimental Poetry. Through interventions involving the interaction between words and objects, these object-poems feed on the tension between the social semantics of the word and its correspondent referential function of naming.
The object is split between its function and the symbolic significance that defines it in social semiotics. Through the feedback between this re- signification of the object and the graphic objectification of the word, the object-poems become capable of creating layers of meaning, thus alluding to both individual and social experience. In these objects we find a deep sense of the political dimension of social relations, and an ironic criticism to the restoration of power structures in the post-revolutionary Portugal.