Sufoco – White Dust [Suffocation – White Dust]
Botelho's recent imagery is not an iconography of violence, but rather an essay on the diversity of psychological outbursts that come with it, given the painter's proneness to capture figures in the peak of an expressive torment. Loyal to this kind of human figuration, Manuel Botelho has nevertheless chosen painting, instead of the drawing he had mainly been using in the last years. On a white canvas covered with irregular brushstrokes and marks of a simulated hesitation in the movements of drawing, bringing to mind some of Julião Sarmento's images, a tragic figure comes into space, contorting in suffocation (sufoco).
The anonymous arm that bursts into the canvas pointing something, has already became a signature style – one so often sees in his work either a microphone or a gun aimed at the centre, that the symbolic uses of these devices seem to be voluntarily confused by the artist.
In his constant satire to an intrusion of media in the private life, the microphone has acquired the status of a confessional for public execution and humiliation. And, indeed, the composition Suffocation – White Dust is altogether similar to the self-representations drawn by Manuel Botelho in 2001, after the televised images of Luís Militão being interviewed on his condemnation for murdering six Portuguese tourists in Fortaleza, Brazil.
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