Communication is the opposite of knowledge. It is the enemy of ideas because it is fundamental to it to dissolve all contents. The alternative is an approach and a practice based on memory and imagination, in an interested disinterest that does not flee from the world, but makes it move.
Mario Perniola, Contro la Comunicazione, Giulio Einaudi editore s.p.a., 2004
Note: no English translation to date. Freely translated by the artist.
Since the first solo show in 1993, On(e) Painting, held at Galeria Quadrum gallery, one of the most important independent art spaces during the 70’s and 80’s in Lisboa under the leadership of Dulce D’Agro, Joao Felino has been presenting an extensive group of projects in an ongoing research driven by diverse media; works on paper, drawing, collage, painting, photography, sculpture, works based on found objects, video, performance and installation, with a strong emphasis on text based works.
A body of...work strongly rooted on a historical and conceptual framework that takes art also as a problematic category from its creation and presentation to its reception. Group Show at Jack presents, another artist-run space in Lisboa, is the one that best describes and summarizes basically in its title the work process and methodology on the context of art practice from all forms of representation, artistic but also political, social and scientific.
A survey on how an artist working today with photography, for instance, responds to those issues that are specific to photographic processes, even through other media, from the stages of production and execution to those of reception and consumption.
Works that reject the prejudice according to which, the most recent developments in the processes and the practice of photography, painting, sculpture or drawing, and by the same token digital art, would have shrunk or narrowed the specific sphere of each of these media.
On the contrary, they opened up a whole regenerative space, expanding the scope of art production and suggesting new reflective ideas, about the complexity of images and the way they are conceived, produced and disseminated.
movement is the critique of painting is the critique of movement
In the show Faites vos Jeux,... Joao Felino presents a selection of pieces from different periods that, using different mediums, focus on a common idea of identity and authorship.
Questioning the nature of images and the role of the author, Joao Felino embraces — in many ways — his desire for irony and effacement. Contrary to what one might think at a first glance, his work is not a celebration of its creator, but rather a questioning of his role. Blurring the boundaries between the one who conceives and the one who executes, but also the work’s place or context, the artist is focused on the production of a provocative discourse that reorders the different elements, warping established hierarchies and shuffling the “playing cards” of the game that is given for us to see.
Let us look at the piece opening the show. In a corridor that is also a storefront, a stage set in the boundary between gallery and street, a neon sign reproduces Joao Felino’s signature. Normally used in street advertising, here the neon sign was placed in a place of transition, deliberately ambiguous. Likewise, his signature, which is normally a line of dark ink, was replaced by a tube of light, and corresponds to the mechanical reproduction of a unique and personal gesture.
The tone set by this first work dominates the entire show; the works here presented are defined by the dichotomy between a desire for effacement and an expression of being. This is what we see when we look at the other pieces, linked together in small groups.
Let us look at another piece, in which Joao Felino addresses the issue of the permanence of the values that are inherent to all images. In a work that has been ongoing for several years, the artist presents a series of enlarged newspaper pages, modified by the artist and printed on canvas. With a reinterpretation of communication, he changes the scale on which the object’s reading takes place, migrating from an individual handling (the newspaper) into a collective perception (the canvas on the wall). As such, he also changes the meaning of what is offered for us to see, which has now its foundations on a process of managing affinities, very close to Aby Warburg’s notion of “Atlas.”
Pursuing further his questioning of the role of the author, Joao Felino explores the expression of the composition in the moment when what we see moves from the authorial into the editorial, from the act of creating stuff to the act of organizing things with an intention that differs from their original purpose. In fact, what is being questioned here is the transformation produced by this system, and also its possible inversion, when the action is re-contextualized in the pieces being presented at the gallery.
We should note that Joao Felino’s effacement is, first and foremost, an aesthetical action in defense of a political position. It is important to understand that this effacement is not tributary of an idea of censorship, but rather of its opposite: it allows the artist to recapture a logic that underlies the image, bringing it to light in a different way.
Joao Felino is driven by his need to understand the origin of images, and how they “work.” This explains his research in the fields of authorship (with the neon sign), illustration and representation (the newspapers), iconic potential (the flags), and of their informative and singular vocation, as it happens in the case of the other photos in the show.
Objects or surfaces, all his works are exercises of composition (drawing) in which he questions the behavior and the nature of what we see. In a game of attention and irony, the artist questions the one who makes and that which is made, but also the ones who see, name and legitimate.
Sérgio Fazenda Rodrigues, July 2017
Faites vos Jeux,...
Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art
JULY 4 - AUG 25
Atlas, from the newspaper paintings series; Acrylic and digital print on canvas; variable dimensions according with the newsprint; approximately 140 x 100 cm; exhibition view Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisboa; Jul 4 - Sep 4 2017
Entrada actualizada el el 16 sep de 2022
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