5 facts about the Portuguese artist José de Guimarães

5 factos sobre o artista português José de Guimarães

1. Interest in anthropology started as a child
José de Guimarães was born in 1939 in the birthplace of Portugal – Guimarães, where he lived until he was 22, when he moved to Lisbon to continue his studies in engineering, drawing and engraving. From an early age, he dabbled in field work and began to pursue his second job, let's say: that of an ethnologist. Interest in the anthropological side of things occurs early in childhood. The city of Guimarães is a land where archaeological material abounds: Celtic and Roman presence, secular traditions, religious processions and pilgrimages where death and resurrection are celebrated. There is also a whole mystical and symbolic side here that fascinates the artist and that we find in his works, namely in the reference to death. Undoubtedly, the stones of the past have so many shapes and stories to tell.

José de Guimarães | Magazine | P55.ART

2.The nickname is a pseudonym.
José Maria Fernandes Marques decided to adopt, as a pseudonym, the name of his city of origin, after having worked as a geologist, engineer and archaeologist.
“I was born in the city of Guimarães, in Portugal, in 1939, a city that, at that time surrounded by walls and fields, was medieval in geography and concepts. I studied there until the fifth year, at high school, where my free time was spent visiting the few local museums. One of them belonged to an association of archaeologists that, along with the excellent library, had a collection of archaeological finds and took care of the preservation of the archaeological site known as “Citânia de Briteiros”. — José de Guimarães

José de Guimarães | Magazine | P55.ART


3. Art as a manifesto for political and social intervention.
In a time of dictatorship, censorship and colonial war, it transformed José de Guimarães his art in a manifesto of political and social intervention expressed in a code to be deciphered, either to escape the myopia of the censors or to force the public to reflect. As we will see later, in the works of sculpture and painting from the African period prior to April 25, 1974, the Estado Novo regime will be systematically contested and challenged. Fernando de Azevedo considers that the artist's intimacy with letters and numbers and the concomitant taste for the hidden message will facilitate the interest and understanding of José de Guimarães of the symbolic language that you will find in black art. «On the one hand, the schemes apprehended, and in a way saturated, of a European language in which he was beginning to make up a painter's baggage and, to accentuate them in their prevalence, the context turned absurd of his action inserted in the violent imposition and tragic situation in which colonialist despair was involved. On the other hand, the presence of an art that, remaining in a kind of formal and secret timelessness, therefore characterized a legitimate and surprising youth. […] The world of painting by José de Guimarães […] appears in part through the doors that open to it the letters and numbers, now stripped of their graphic coldness, finally incorporated in different states of signage» .

José de Guimarães | Magazine | P55.ART

4.It suppressed the barriers between animal, human and machines
As such, and already mentioned, when crossing animals, machines and men, and when representing these, even in the case of historical characters revered as Heroes of the Homeland, like any other being belonging to their plastic universe, José de Guimarães suppresses barriers, hierarchies and statuses of privilege between human beings, nature and technology, creating a standard of unification of Being whose leveling principle of patricians, plebeians, reptiles and machines is effectively applied to its proposal of miscegenation of peoples and cultures.

5. In his hometown there is an arts center named after him and a collection of African, South American and Asian art.
The International Arts Center José de Guimarães brings together pieces from different times, places and contexts in conjunction with works by contemporary artists, proposing a (re)assembly of art history, as a succession of echoes, and a new design for the museum, as a place for wonder and reflection .The CIAJG collection consists of a set of works by the artist José de Guimarães, as well as African art, pre-Columbian art and ancient Chinese art, selected by the artist. In total, the CIAJG collection comprises 1128 objects, including ceramics, sculpture, drawing, installation, textiles, painting, painting and graphic arts.The objects of African art, pre-Columbian art and ancient Chinese art were acquired by José de Guimarães between the 1980s and 2000 in the European market specializing in artistic, archaeological and ethnographic objects, and loaned to the CIAJG, serving as the basis for its artistic program. The selection of works by José de Guimarães seeks to represent the sixty years of the artist's career in the field of painting, sculpture/installation and graphic arts. Unlike science or anthropology museums, the choice of objects in the CIAJG collection corresponds to the “artist-collector” sensibility of José de Guimarães, which is inspired by them, continually reworking a syncretic vocabulary of cultural references from different parts of the world. More than a heritage repository, submissive to the immobility of historiographic cataloging, the CIAJG seeks to establish crossed and critical perspectives on its collection and make visible the links that were broken between objects, narratives and peoples of origin. One of its missions is to study the collection in the context of its communities and the histories of the collection, placing them more broadly within the history of the circulation of ethnographic objects between Europe and Africa in general, and especially in the 20th and 21st centuries. .

José de Guimarães | Magazine | P55.ART


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