“José de Guimarães narrates the myths of our western culture as a child. Namely Portuguese culture, although it deviates from its epic or tragic use. Stories that are proposed to us, converted into codes full of humor that invite us to think about the games of the world. so think José de Guimarães or your paintings. Of what is forever inaccessible or dispersed, he retains a sense of the stories whose fragments remain in our memory.” — Eduardo Lourenço, philosopher
Through the plastic arts,José de Guimarães creates a synthesis between African and European cultures with the creation of an ideographic “alphabet”, inspired by African forms and symbols. This was the starting point for the development of a universe and a language, which has been debugging over time. The application of the José de Guimarães goes from one relógio to a giant sculpture for a roundabout, from glasses to the metro station. Discover here the various ways of creating José de Guimarães.
Drawing is a structural movement throughout the work ofJosé de Guimarães. It mirrors an intense daily activity of transforming reality and is expressed in multiple techniques. From calligraphy to childlike lines, on cardboard or paper, using different techniques and materials, drawing has a regenerating role in his work.
Along your route,José de Guimarães always goes beyond the conventional in the use of printmaking techniques: “Most of my prints are prints with very small print runs, often they are proofs, I would almost say unique ones, because my editions are editions made by me, they are editions experimental. "from the beginning,José de Guimarães was autonomous in terms of printing means, starting with having acquired a scrap metal, with which he printed his first woodcut, by the roller press acquired at GRAVURA, which he always accompanied and still uses today, and by setting up a workshop in serigraphy, when in 1977 he won a scholarship from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation for two years to study photography and serigraphy. Examples of this are the aluminum engravings he made in Angola, due to the scarcity of conventional materials, zinc and copper. Aware of the inadequacy of aluminum because it is very soft, and therefore difficult to control its bite in the acid vat, instead of giving up, the artist insisted on its use by creating several engravings in this material, aware of the unique expressive potential that this particularity of aluminum. In the creative process ofJosé de Guimarães engraving is a structural component in experimentation. It thus constitutes a driving force in his evolution as an artist, leading him to an evolutionary process throughout his work. He bet on the variation of possibilities in terms of printing, making unorthodox print runs in which, from the same matrix, he experimented with various types of inking and a chromatic variety. Thus, he obtained unique works and a wider range of formal solutions from the matrices, as opposed to the repetition of identical images obtained in the conventional print. Engraving is used by the artist as an autonomous form of artistic expression, and never in a subsidiary way in relation to other forms of plastic expression.
Paintings, like other media, are loaded with symbolism. He started to exhibit in the middle of the war, in the middle of the theater of operations, the works were codified, because at the time it was the possible language. Besides, he did a lot of this work while still at an almost intuitional stage “I intuited things, predicted things, but I still didn't understand very well”. ForJosé de Guimarães, the colors he uses are colors that come from the beginning of his work; eventually from Africa of the extremely colorful popular festivals in northern Portugal, where he was born. He especially remembers the processions and pilgrimages where there were huge floors filled with little mirrors of light. Really the celebration colors are usually showy colors. The processions, the flags, the banners: there is an outpouring of color to celebrate important things. Deep down there is an exuberance, an overflow. In a way, the colors help with a certain celebration. According to Nuno Faria: “In the context of the heterogeneous work ofJosé de Guimarães, painting emerges as the main continent, the territory from which everything starts and where everything arrives. It is an immense production, plural in formats and supports, marked by the various incursions that the artist has made in the most distant regions of the world. A porous production, open to experimentation, in which one can clearly discern the different achievements, influences, maturation processes, formal reinvention, the proliferation of materials, the construction of an imaginary populated by bestiaries and marked by the succession of different ideographic alphabets.”
The two-dimensional sculptures ofJosé de Guimarães they are mostly shapes, nested within each other, and can be self-sustaining in space. In fact, his pieces look like sheets of paper fitted together, even in the large sculptures, built in cement and reinforced concrete, they are still two-dimensional art. Even the sculptures by José Guimarães, on more conventional supports, ensure the basic principle of three-dimensionality and bring out the artist's entire universe and boldness. These are sculptural works consisting of painting on a cut-out cardboard support and supported on a base, and can therefore be considered hybrid works between painting and sculpture. The artist himself stated: “What I do does not fit into strict designations.” Until today,José de Guimarães he doesn't know if he makes sculptures. The art historian José-Augusto França calls them Picto-sculptures, because one of their characteristics is that they are slender, as if they lacked the third dimension.
It was in the metro that he began to draw attention to his public works. in fact forJosé de Guimarães: it is important that public art be a humanistic art, an art in which people feel involved and cannot be a repulsive art, which is often the case. In public art, it has demonstrated its personality, without losing its mark! “Public artwork is complicated. It involves dealing with institutions and depends on political decisions, official budgets, these are slow things", declaresJosé de Guimarães, detailing: "The sculpture of Parque das Nações took, for example, seven years, and the Carnide station five. When the pieces are designed and then inaugurated, the artistic language evolves. Despite the imposed limitations, the artist is satisfied. of making structures and public art and says that people respect this art: "The metro stations in Lisbon have almost no 'graffiti'. After Carnide began to add neon to his public works. This element, with the vibrant and sensual lines of his lighting design and the ferocious appeal of mass culture, is integrated into the artist's vocabulary, highlighting his colors and shapes, is widely used in public art.