Magazine article Artforum International

Albuquerque Mendes

Magazine article Artforum International

Albuquerque Mendes

Article excerpt

GALERIA CANVAS & CO.

Albuquerque Mendes came to painting after having been involved with performance since the mid '70s. Combining the vivid, expressive colors of traditional Portuguese folk art with aspects of conceptual artmaking, his work can be seen as a model of resistance to the banal realism that has dominated Portuguese art in recent years. His work engages essential aspects of recent Portuguese culture; at the same time, it is rooted in more general European traditions and the memory of a strong popular and folk culture - a mix of influences that is perhaps the reason for Mendes' successful reception in Brazil. Among European artists, one can also find affinities to the work of Arnulf Rainer or Hermann Nitsch, whether in Mendes' obsessive thematicization of the Crucifixion, or in the way his work is inscribed in a tragic consciousness of his own body as a site of expiation.

In his recent installation "No Jardim das Oliveiras" (In The Garden of Gethsemane, 1997), Mendes once again presented a self-portrait. But while his previous self-portraits appeared to be linked to the Crucifixion - the artist's own image blurring into that of Christ - here the cross disappeared, to be replaced by a tree. …

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