Roads to Whatever — Works from the CAM Collection


De 30 de Setembro a 17 de Novembro 2011
Piso -1 do Edifício Central da Sede
Curadoria: Leonor Nazaré


The title for this exhibition, is also the name of the colloquia on health, development and well-being in adolescence, organized by the Gulbenkian Foundation, to be held on 25th and 26th October, 2011.


Associated with the Health Forum, this exhibition offers an alternative space for reflection, induced and enabled by artworks, in a different manner from that of any other human activity, bringing upon it precious added values.


The enigma of the meanings attributable to existence and the manners in which they are searched for, or abandoned, during adolescence, the paths and aimlessness, the restlessness, the fantasy and excess, or the signs of anchoring are the themes that punctuate the journey through the artworks that is proposed here.


Issues such identity and its neurobiological, cultural and psychological determination, interpreted within a wider scope, also define the reference points for this reading.



Are you safe when you are dreaming?” We ignore if the disquiet suggested by this question regards sleep and the unconsciousness in which it takes place or daydreaming and the fragility of its open borders.

The metaphor for labyrinth, for pathways, lack of direction and finding direction along a journey are inevitable in a semantic constellation such as the one evoked here.


Throughout the exhibition, several artworks reinforce the idea of search, and of the indecisive meanders or momentarily anguish which this process of searching induces. It is the case of images such as that of the endless corridor, whose end is out of reach or only seen as a vanishing point and solitary passage in Nuno Cera’s Smog #15; or of the sequence of continuously shutting doors in Cristina Mateus’s video, which refuses the presence of a studio whose empty drawing table insists in pointing our creative pause or impossibility.


The video document of a group of homeless people, made during 1997/99, is at the origin of a set of sculptures which includes Noé Sendas’s The Rest is Silence II. The mannequins, fashioned at the scale of the artist himself, dressed as real people, never show their hands, hidden in their pockets, or their faces, covered with hair or a cloth. The mystery of these characters is only partially clarified: we become aware of their twinned condition, their turned backs, the incommunicability, the silence and solitude of two beings that are very close. Irresolute division and duality are powerful images of what adolescence may represent. While anguishing, this work is not only a hypothesis of enclosure – though it can also be the liberating conscience of the options presented. Sometimes, from difficult coexistence, the strength of a choice is born.


Paula Rego’s painting represents another form of “noise” and visual stridency, disorder in movement, in which screaming and fright, laughter and acrobatics, fearlessness and unconsciousness, dance, wind and some elastic figures (ghosts and clowns, girls and androgenic and animalesque beings) mutually contaminate each other. The Vivian Girls as Windmills forms part of Paula Rego’s series of paintings entitled Vivian Girls, dated 1984, and inspired by The Realms of the Unreal, by Henry Darger, a narrative of fantasy and fear, as are many of those inhabited by Paula Rego’s characters.


It is within the pop heritage that the two works by Teresa Magalhães should be read: the couple confidently walking and the mother pushing the baby pram that we see before us as demiurges who observe a portion of anonymity in the crowd. The family and love matrix is conveyed through an image of modernity and lightness marked by the dress and agility of the bodies.


This is also the tonality conferred by Bruno Pacheco to his drawings, entitled Whatever (from 2003-2004), a happy coincidence with the title of this exhibition, in an eclectic, luminous and dynamic diversity of snapshots: youths, clothes, body fetishes, sports, parties, animals, angels, girls… But their freshness of a gaze captivated by reality is an illusion. In fact, they are created from images gathered from the media, and depend in a large part from a reproductive intermediation that renders this cumulative compilation almost dispassionate, in spite of the thematic circumscriptions detected here.


During the period when Teresa Magalhães made her cutout figures, and when many Portuguese artists express some sort of pop inspired neo-figuration, Sérgio Pombo creates his feminine figures (in the water and at the beach), as well as the sculpted figure he presents in four separate pieces (face, stomach, knees and feet), partial objects easily associated with narratives of fetish and seduction.


Ana Jotta’s towel rack (and we are now in the 1990’s) keeps us in this area in which the trivia of everyday gestures are transformed into appeals to our lack of attention. In this case, the child’s discovery of sexual difference, embodied by two small mice, suggesting an animated movie, is embroidered in the blue cloth towel in series that suggest the imaginary rhythm of each pull on the piece. Its malicious derision and playful option in the marking of events, whatever their relative importance, are processes that are usual in the construction of an artwork that surprises itself in constant detours and in proclaimed whims.



Artists shown in the exhibition: