Saved by the creative process Posted by Picasa

My hat Posted by Picasa

Ballet by Billy Elliot Posted by Picasa

Round corner Posted by Picasa

Catch it! - the context of a sound Posted by Picasa

Set_1_P1_Style_1 Posted by Picasa

Hermeneutics style 2 Posted by Picasa

Hermeneutics style 1 Posted by Picasa

Cooper and his ambitions Posted by Picasa

Under pressure Posted by Picasa

Equilibrium Posted by Picasa

Entornado Posted by Picasa

How to see an instalation... Posted by Picasa

POMO tradition . MF Posted by Picasa

detail of replica Posted by Picasa

Eclectic Reflections on Language and Art

This text intends to be an abbreviation of thoughts and feelings I’ve been developing for the past few months concerning the importance of the various languages and texts that influenced my fine art practice.

1664. Anyone who now intends to write or argue bout about art ought to have some idea of what philposophyhas achieved and continues to achieve in our day.
Goethe, On Art and Art History - Maxisms and Reflections, page136

I do not intend to write a purely philosophical or academic text because I want to step outside the limits of language. That is precisely where I believe my creative process occurs and where I intend my work to be placed: just outside the intelligible. This does not mean that I won’t make references to Ricouer’s combination of both phenomenology and hermeneutics, Wittgenstein’s thoughts about the limits of language, Cultural Materialism or even Nietszche and Plato’s decisive work. If I had time I would also like to investigate thinkers who’s theories I ignore such as Heideger and many other (mostly reflective artists) referenced in books such as the Art in Theory 1900-2000 but for now I intend to leave it for later.

Science also plays a crucial role in my creativity because of my previous studies in medicine and biological engineering but I’ll try to avoid this topic in this text and simply mention it, if relevant, as another system of signs and methods of thought.

I’m also aware of the art & language movement happening in the second half of the XXth century and how important it was in Coventry University. However my research intends to go through a reflective aproach on my individual past and interactions with language, literature, systems of thought and artists I’ve been exploring other then describe what others did before in the “Fine Art conceptual sphere”.
Before I start I would just like to explain that the reflections written on this text include questioning the process that is happening this precise moment: How does the research and the fact that I’m using language to express some of my ideas influence my practice?


Art is not about ideas. Ideas are good for writers. An artwork will not endure if it is made to be understood.
Pedro Cabrita Reis, Modern Painters Nov. 2005, page 89

Cabrita Reis is one of the artists that is frequently mentioned in the discussions I have with Craig Cooper while making collaborative[1] work. We have been to a private view in Camden Art Center this year and even though I partially agree (because art is not just about ideas) I still found this quote a non-sense because during his presentation in Camden he explained ideas and meanings in the work he was exhibiting.
Susan Sontag’s essay Against Interpretation played a crucial role in the process of clarification of my opinion and Coopers divergences in what concerns interpretation. During these discussions I realized that on one hand we agree about all the practical issues and political and philosophical ideals we want to express, on the other hand we think and feel differently about the meanings we want to explain to the observers/tutors/public, the importance of language in the interpretative process and how distructive or creative interpretation is. For me interpretation isn’t as distructive as Sontag wants us to believe:

In a culture whose already classical dilemma is the hipertrophy of the intelect at the expense of energy and sensual capability, interpretation is the revenge of the intelect upon art.
Susan Sontag, Againt intepretation – A Susan Sontag Reader, page 98

For me interpretation is the “other half” of the creative process, as a consequence of that it becomes crucial to influence it and to ensure the observer even if confused has the right expectations about the work in what respects to depth and vastness of meanings and references.
Before these healthy arguments I read Wittgenstein’s Tractus Logicus Philusophicus and I was aware of the limitations of language but still my intuition asked me not to to stop talking and writing as much as possible about it. But some text kept haunting me:
4.116 Everything that can be thought at all can be thought clearly.
Everything that can be put into words can be put clearly.

6.421 It is clear that ethics cannot be put into words. Ethics istranscendental. (Ethics and aesthetics are one and the same.)

6.522 There are, indeed, things that cannot be put into words. They make themselves manifest. They are what is mystical.
Wittgenstein, Logicus tractus Philosophicus

Could it be that talking about my intentions as a practitioner was a simple tautology? It’s a risk and it might get the practitioner is trouble every now and then but if we don’t talk and write about our creations to a certain extent we will never be able to induce what is the best consequence possible of the creative process:

162. It used to happen, and still does, that I dislike a work of art because I’m not up to appreciating it; but if I sense some merit there, I try to get at it and this often leads to the happiest discoveries: new qualities are revealed to me in these things, new capacities in myself.
Goethe, Maxisms and Reflections, page 19

How can this happen in the observer if an artist or someone knoledgable about his work state a few things about the work? If it truly is “avant la lettre” very few, if any will be ready for it. It’s a universal fact that without anything else feeding the observer in such a situation he will lose any interest on further investigation just because he dislikes it (taste is usually stongly connected to how usually someone interacts with something). If it’s new people have to find alternative ways to engage with it: one of the many possible ones and probably the most effective is the intelect and the power language has over it.

200. No one can control what is really creative, and everybody just has to let it go its own way.
Goethe, Maxisms and Reflections, page23

[1] Work jointly, esp. In a literary or artistic production. – Oxford English Reference Dictionary
I thought it was relevant to find the exact meaning of this word because until recently used to say cooperative work instead of collaborative. Cooperate means to work or act together (as well as three other meanings) according to the same dictionary. This means that it is less specific then collaboration.

Free style writing

My way of thinking about my own work usually comes to me as a list of words. Sometimes titles for future work, some other times topics for future reflection. I believe I never wrote any of those lists without using one or two words which are exclusive to the Portuguese language… But the funniest thing is that most of my artistic vocabulary is English and it’s often hard for me to find the right word for a certain technique used in sculpture or print in my native language.

The relevance of this initial statement has to do with the awareness and experience I have in what concerns language and its consequences.
The whole sense of the book might be summed up thefollowing words: what can be said at all can be said clearly, and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence. 4.116 Everything that can be thought at all can be thought clearly.
Everything that can be put into words can be put clearly.
6.421 It is clear that ethics cannot be put into words. Ethics istranscendental. (Ethics and aesthetics are one and the same.)
6.522 There are, indeed, things that cannot be put into words. They makethemselves manifest. They are what is mystical. 6.53 The correct method in philosophy would really be the following: to saynothing except what can be said, i.e. propositions of natural science--i.e.something that has nothing to do with philosophy -- and then, wheneversomeone else wanted to say something metaphysical, to demonstrate to himthat he had failed to give a meaning to certain signs in his propositions.Although it would not be satisfying to the other person--he would not havethe feeling that we were teaching him philosophy--this method would be theonly strictly correct one.

According to Wittgenstein all philosophical problems are semantic. This idea can be applied to the interaction between people being limited to a set of insufficient and subjective meanings as well as the limitations “the use of words for an internal speech” represents for our own thoughts. To illustrate this idea I can think outside the box of words and try to allude to numerous concepts and feelings that are closer to smells, irrational sounds, organic and physiological (fever like) perceptions and events that are absolutely impossible to describe with words even though many try to (just like I did). It is as difficult as remembering pain. Coming back to the topic of language: "what one can’t say clearly" is an open challenge and could become a constant and “endless” fight for any practitioner (that is a big part of my work and my reflection). Wittgenstein in the Tractus Philosophicus states that “one can only say what can be said clearly” so that everything else can be defined as the complementary group of an imaginary Vern diagram (parallel connection to Parmenides: “About the being one can only say it is”). It’s a rather rigid attitude that makes perfect sense according to the XXth century philosopher’s mathematical academic past. Many would agree that this “unclear gap” of what can’t be said clearly is the one where the contemporary creative practitioner wants to place his effort and work. What can be said clearly is stated and written down by scientists and philosophers. Artists can make work that states things clearly, ambiguously or even that doesn’t state much more then what the work is as an object. Being the unclear the area presenting more alternatives it automatically becomes the one where most artists place their theoretical frame (possibly because artists enjoy freedom and depend on it for their creative processes). When artists are clear they often get in trouble because they are simply illustrating their ideas. When they are unclear people ask them questions to try to understand what was made not to be understood. And finally when the work doesn’t state much more then what it is, people don’t perceive the irony targeting Plato and his cave and believe the “artist is taking the piss”. Well they first thought that about the urinal and now it only doesn’t happen more frequently because of the definition most people use for Art – everything ever called art.
3.343 Definitions are rules for translating from one language into another.Any correct sign-language must be translatable into any other in accordancewith such rules: it is this that they all have in common.

Dealing with languages made me think about language. But my limited experience with languages other then Portuguese forced me to read and use English as much as possible in my work and the bilingual experience took over my perception. I was finally aware of the translation and transmutation process occurring every time we use words.

91. Anyone who doesn’t know foreign languages knows nothing of his own.
Goethe, Maxims and Reflections, page 12

I was forced to be conscious of that kind of phenomena because this even changed the language I used in my dreams. It became as frequent to dream in English as it did to dream in Portuguese. The truth is that I can’t really feel how deep and relevant this is for the present or the future of my creativity... Strangely enough it is becoming more and more obvious that I have to be fair to my origins and native language and start using Portuguese… Maybe even the other European cultures I related to such as the Spanish, French and Italian in titles and text included in my work.

This barrier that language presents to the artist is obviously a tool as well. But it becomes quite obvious that the interpretation and information required by the observer of a certain work uses this external world of words. At his point it becomes crucial to question the importance of that same information: title, words said and written about the work by the artist and even critics.

Susan Sontag and the question of references

There are few possible perspectives on arts progression:
-you can believe that just like in the “old times” students must learn the way of a great master and work in order to keep a certain standard. The “status quo” becomes a swamp where corps die and decompose. The paradigm kills creativity and very few residues of the word art survive to this cultural slaughter. I felt this happening intellectually during the middle ages with Aristotle and strictly artistically in a few post- renascence periods.
-The other approach states that art improves constantly. The future is always better then the past and revolution is the word that feeds the creative process. The everyday experience of the individual becomes the subject matter of his own work. Going against the current state of things is usually the motivation of the artist that perceives himself as a premature voice calling others to the “new attitude”.

I don’t believe either of these two are a fair description of the way I believe art evolves. For me it’s about the people you interact with. It’s about your “target” (exactly like it is in advertising) and the way you mess around with those few minds that are ready to “hear, see or feel” whatever you have to give them.


One day I would love to teach passionate students. The main reason why I want to do it is because I believe the art teaching I had in Portuguese Public Schools was so bad it would probably be beneficial to stop having those modules. At least teenagers wouldn’t change to worse then what they were before. Usually what happens is that the art students that aren’t really that good, clever or intense find a simple way to earn some money by teaching in secondary schools. And I can only add to this: “poor kids”… every time that happens one more generation of children start believing art is something to do with drawing, portraits, landscapes and nothing more... Why don’t they try sculpture? Why don’t they try canvas? Why aren’t they shown slides with installations and contemporary work? Well this is an extreme example but it is real in many other countries. Even here in England in Universities tutors struggle. How can they teach people to be creative? Unfortunately the revolutionary and subversive attitude isn’t the most popular amongst tutors and as a consequence people are taught about being creative by being shown examples of work done by creative people and connecting their own work aesthetically with those artists. Sometimes they even keep the subject matter and every now and then there isn’t a subject matter and only a visual resemblance with someone famous. Isn’t this degrading progressively the quality of the work developed by those students? Does that raise the average to a certain standard? Is the number of creative minds improving over all? Or is it true that being normal, being mentally ill, being a genius or being a divergent mind is just a statistic statement? Emotionally we tend to believe it isn’t but I believe many scientists and psychiatrists would confirm that idea.

Because the origins of my work are usually feelings and trans-mutated ideas I believe the assemblage is becoming the core of work I want to develop academically. All other media becomes too intimate to present to people that want me to talk about your work. Being a set of more or less disperse elements and objects the installation (sometimes even the sculpture) deny their own individuality, the collective overcomes the singular. The space between the elements becomes as relevant to the work as everything else used in the assemblage. This tends to make collaboration more natural and pleasure full.

Why do you think randomness and intuition are so important?

Why do you think randomness and intuition are so important? Because I need to deny reason and the origins of my intensions? No strategy is the best strategy for someone creative. Is it?
Since it is basically being applied to the art world since the 60s and 70s with POMO and Po- POMO why would I bother outlining the connections I want people to feel? If I told them about all these other masters and hidden meanings I would be narrowing the field of interaction they can enjoy when they embrace my work?
It the work dead once it is exhibited?

Is it political?

It has to do with anarchy and criticisms to the extreme left wing (because I’m against the governmental planning) and capitalism (because it questions the quality of the “democratic” system we live in).

Is my work formal?

Definitions of Post - POMO

The last art movement worthy of that name was modernism. But POMO (Post-modernism) and Po-POMO are a real phenomena that probably corresponds to a block of ideas mankind has been suffering from. There are no new strong political ideals, no major scientific innovations (technological there were quite a few but technology is just an application of previous scientific knowledge), no major thinkers, no major changes… Only terrorism is shaking our world with a coward attitude that inflicts fear in the consumerist lambs that run after each other with no idea where they are running to.

Art is just reflecting this. The gap between what is happening with the art works and the public was never as vast as it is now, leading to a detachment between both parts public and art. Or at least we would expect a much stronger connection in this “global society based on information”.

My questions on public art (Mural and football stadium)

After an astonishing XXth century artistic and cultural explosion (probably based on the first and second world wars and even the cold war) everyone was expecting something even better for the last few decades. The fact is that major artistic and scientific events come from societies that are competing and have to prove something to some other “equals”. After the Berlin wall collapsed this started to become more and more irrelevant. TV, stereos, computer games and other technologies like these made sure the best brains where lost in many autistic ways to achieve pleasure and had almost no ideals built into them. As their personalities formed the empty media filled their dreams with sexual objects, fake pleasure and inconsequent behaviour masturbating their brains out and making the people with intellectual and cultural potential quite uninteresting in general. Well what I feel is that we were expecting the intellectual community to flourish with all these megabytes and Gigabytes going around the world all the time. But the fact is that we didn’t improve much and the people that are enthusiastic about art, philosophy and science are basically the same or at least are found in similar percentages

After this naive overview of the century it makes sense to me to develop a speech that aims to achieve a level of sophistication compatible with the desire I have to bend the boundaries of language and creative writing. Bering in mind the meatphysics book by Jake Chapman I realize I can use error an unreadable “text” as a big part of my poetical and intuitive representation of disturbing feelings. I used it in transparencies I overlapped with photographs in the past but I would love to use it for reflective practice.

Rebuilding the semiology of existence, phenomenology of the object and the transmutation of strategy.  Posted by Picasa

What's this??? Posted by Picasa

Sculptural expressionism: Dear me... Posted by Picasa


I decided to have a bit of creative fun today. Since the uni is closed on saturdays I used the living room downstairs as a temporary studio. It's just paper, charcoal, pens, gouache, watercolours and a bit of acrylic to make me dream about the potential and simplicity of traditional media. Returning to paper made me feel as if I was going back in time and back home. I want my origins to be the main content of this series of 2D work. Probably because I feel exactly the same things about paper and contemporary Portugal I think I won't use canvas for a while (I'll go back to my favorite 2 D media after the 17th of December).  Posted by Picasa

It's just a sketch to intensify the pleasure of searching for ways to combine the written word with drawing and painting. Stess relief. This will probably be destroied if it doesn't change dramatically very soon. Posted by Picasa

Archeopterix - there is always something good when I return to paper Posted by Picasa


Reflective again

The practitioner’s eclecticism and other thoughts

1 – Introduction

1.1 - Before Coventry

Plasticina, clay, watercolour, gouache, concrete, balsa wood, small sculptural models, furniture, architecture, great masters, museums, travelling (in Spain, Paris, London, Moscow, St. Petersburg), the fear of the artistic block, bad teachers, the destruction of my work, science, creative writing, order and chaos, philosophy, drawing, Portuguese literature, the Viana clan, the philosophy lessons, the genetics lab work, med school, psychoanalysis and psychology, biological engineering, maths, alternative cinema, waking life, inter-rails and David, presentations, physics, painting, and my first exhibition, the BS application mistakes and achievements.

1.2 - First and second year

Sculpture, the umbrella, England, Mandy and other tutors, Mike, Ian Hays, art theory and my ignorance, London exhibitions (weather project, state of play, Robert Frank, Turner Prize, El Greco, Saatchi…), etching, the found object, Post modernism and the English American painter, photography, Photoshop, drawing and the life model, Thom, Craig cooper, Mathew Dalgleish, Basquiat, Duchamp, Maeda, voID exhibition, curating, advertising, the private views, the non-productive media, Germany and Holland car trip, Britain car trip, New York (thoughts about Gleize, Marineti and the futurist in general), the return to painting every summer…

1.3 – Painted murals

The impulse, the scale, the subject matter, the personal experience in science, the wish to share visual pleasure (ideas, experience and pay a tribute to some very old friends), the unorthodox studio, the sacrifice, the night, the music, the collage of science and geography magazines, the organic and the technological. The planning of the second one, the studios, the envy, projection process, the potential of screen-print, the business involved, the found imagery, the fulfilled and unfulfilled promises and the money an artist should charge (my situation and Cressida’s), the tutorial(s) with Jim Noble.

1.4 – Third Year

One month earlier, the collaborative work, “what does it do?”, giving other students a challenge, tutorials on pleasure, individuality, Craig’s crisis, the method for reflecting about my practice, the tutorials with Simon, Graham and the group tutorials, visiting tutors, exhibitions and their goals, the blog, the creative chaos in my bedroom, studio and mind, emotional stability, craziness and girlfriends, confidence, the epiphany, the vision of each exhibition, the feeling of each project, the true contents of the work developed, the influences, indiferance-indi ference- indifferences repeated, meeting Paula Rego (?), Cremaster at last, the body-food-physical exercise and the denial of Mallow’s pyramid... all the contents, influences and references of my work and it’s analysis by myself.

1.5 - MA

the MA application and the open days, goldsmith, Saint Martins, Royal college, Chelsea, Slade, the exhibition Bonus, funding, community, teaching, dreams, if it goes well, if it goes wrong, the power of distance, the professional opportunities, the other students level, the need to continue researching and sharing my experience with a community of students, scholars and foreign culture.

1.6 - My reflections in the present day (26/11/2005)

Eclecticism the power of the intellect and language (a triptych)

In the studio work I’ve been developing I have been dealing with a wide spread field of issues and questions.

In my conceptual, computer, 2D work the set of worries are completely different.

In order to synthesise all these searches I’ve engaged with I had to find the topics that would generally inform both physical and mental practice(s?)

1.6.1 – Eclecticism

Deep vs. vast
Renaicence (?) an organic primordial soup?
Mental Synthesis and emotional enzymes


Semantics, semiotics, hermeneutics, New History, the book, the illustration


The cliché, the installation, the sculpture and power of the collective, talking, essays, mystery, how finished should a work be? (pristine vs. rough, to able the observer to finish it, to be able to adapt to a gallery or venue)…

Collaborative vs. Cooperative


Do outro lado da construcao Posted by Picasa

A constru��o Posted by Picasa

Where is the fan to inflate my sales? Posted by Picasa

Nonsense Posted by Picasa