Pedro Valdez Cardoso donates work to the CAM

Donated by the artist Pedro Valdez Cardoso, the installation 'Livro de Actos' [Book of Acts] is now part of the CAM Collection.
11 aug 2021

Livro de Actos [Book of Acts] was exhibited in the keep of Sines Castle in 2006, being intimately related to the historical and cultural dimension of the place. The pieces in the installation present our imaginations with a mixture of warriors and weapons, playful spirit and sacred art. Lined up against the wall, they are ghostly and frightening, but at the same time dynamic, appealing and gleaming… They can be viewed as a cemetery, a showcase, a parade, a repository or a collection of relics and ornaments.

As Sandra Vieira Jürgens[1], wrote at the time, they are like ‘standards that show eclectic combinations of diverse objects: a spade, a bucket, oars, bones, candles, cans of beer, skulls, mops, shovels, weapons, trunks, treasure…’ Standards convey collective values, group cohesion, they symbolise power over a real or intangible territory. But something risible is revealed where we see stilts instead of legs, boots instead of feet, stumps without body or muscle.


Pedro Valdez Cardoso, 'Livro de Actos' (detail), 2006. Inv. 21E1934. Photo: Nuno Moreira Inácio
Pedro Valdez Cardoso, 'Livro de Actos' (detail), 2006. Inv. 21E1934. Photo: Nuno Moreira Inácio


In an interview with Arte Capital in January 2015[2], the artist said that being restricted to one single industrial material in a group of works eliminates the individuality of each piece and allows for a uniform reading of installations or complex pieces. It is a habitual procedure in his work. In this case, sheet aluminium covering and silver insulating tape give the group a generally reflective and scenographic quality. But the diverting effects of its appearance coexist with the unsettling discovery of the details.


Pedro Valdez Cardoso, 'Livro de Actos' (detail), 2006. Inv. 21E1934. Photo: Nuno Moreira Inácio
Pedro Valdez Cardoso, 'Livro de Actos' (detail), 2006. Inv. 21E1934. Photo: Nuno Moreira Inácio


As Sérgio A. Fazenda Rodrigues[3] said in a text written in 2016, the artist combines ‘popular and erudite culture, street and museum culture, remote and contemporary culture’ and ‘the sculptures (…) reveal a hybrid nature, where ancestral references and those of tribal origin (for example, the mask or the totem) are juxtaposed with urban references, from a present time (like graffiti or decorative arts).’

Lastly, the title Os Actos dos Apóstolos [The Acts of the Apostles], also known as Livro de Actos [Book of Acts] or Livro de Actos dos Apóstolos [Book of Acts of the Apostles], places the work in a religious sphere that it doesn’t ‘respect,’ in that it also evokes a vague sense of a carnival parade and a flash of thoughtlessness. Backs against the wall and (in)animate, the figures in the group suggest a feeling of helplessness and deception at our desire to meet them.


Leonor Nazaré


[1] Sandra Vieira Jürgens, ‘Pedro Valdez Cardoso. Livro dos Actos’, 28 January 2006. Text available at: 

[2] Pedro Valdez Cardoso interviewed by Victor Pinto da Fonseca, ‘Snapshot. No atelier de…’, ArteCApital, 2015. Interview available at:

[3] Sérgio A. Fazenda Rodrigues, Press release of the exhibition Pedro Valdez Cardoso. Margens. Galeria Caroline Pagès: 24 September and 19 November 2016. Available at:

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