Who is José de Guimarães?
José de Guimarães, the artist who took the name of the city where he was born as a pseudonym (his full name is José Maria Fernandes Marques), became one of the main Portuguese plastic artists, whose career expanded beyond borders in a truly admirable way – in other words, José de Guimarães is one of the rare Portuguese artists whose international career is more important than the national one. His artistic vocation came in 1967, when he went to work as a military engineer. The first steps in the art world were inspired by the artistic manifestations of African culture and Pop Art. Other influences range from Rubens' baroque style to Klee and Kandinsky's abstractionism. Painter, sculptor, collector and amateur anthropologist, he created a style of his own, from the alphabet created to the works that represent José de Guimarães' great fascination for non-Western cultures - among them Angola, Mexico and Japan, and for the creations of Man . For several decades, José de Guimarães has crossed non-verbal relationships in his works. In each figure, symbol, texture and color, there are very specific characteristics that create a creative reading about their art and African, Chinese and Mesoamerican civilizations. Discover five fantastic works that explain the career of José de Guimarães.
5 WORKS OF ART
Inspired by the adventures of Portuguese navigators and the life of the poet Luís de Camões, José de Guimarães created 16 lithographs. Each tells a story or represents an indispensable figure in the history of Portugal, from the first king of Portugal, D.Afonso Henriques, to the love story of D.Inês.
drawings in the sand
This series reflects the influence of African art, mainly the culture of the Chiocos in the Northeast of Angola, in the works of the Portuguese artist. These works appear in his imagination through the influence of drawings traced on the floor during conversations, synthetic ideograms of mental and symbolic schemes.
In this Hong Kong series, the influence of Chinese aesthetics and Chinese calligraphy is noticeable. The artist himself said: «My first contact with Japan was due to a mere professional relationship, and almost simultaneously I was contacted by the Goethe Institut of Osaka to build kites (...) my interest in Asian culture , namely Japanese and Chinese, started when I started my first contacts with the Orient in 1988. From then on I started to introduce elements and archetypes of these cultures in my own work (...) I started to become interested in Chinese poetry from the dynasties Tang and Song and by Hokusai (especially his erotic art), with significant importance in the Hong Kong series»
Nuno Faria wrote in the catalog for the exhibition "Negreiros e Guaranis - José de Guimarães" about Negreiros works: “Based on the author's extraordinary collection of primitive African art, certainly one of the most relevant in the Portuguese panorama, what he proposes is to reactivate these links , these connections, a radical alterity that establishes itself in the relationship between the spectator and the works in dialogue.” (...) With this apparently simple operation of displacement, a connection is established between the negative and the positive, the form and its emptiness, which opens a space for the materialization of absence through presence and vice versa, enabling the representation in absentia or in negative, the principle of alterity. (…) This geometry of the encounter, in shaky balance, proposes a metaphor, a semantic transport: distance and proximity are abstract and cultural notions that we are able to transpose or deconstruct through the empirical exercise of contact with things, of the experience of the world . It is this movement of approximation, this groping sometimes without distance, without mediation of vision, that constitutes José de Guimarães' modus operandi, his intervention ethics.”
African Alphabet, 1970-1974
Between 1970 and 1974, the Angolan period was spent in which a new language was acquired, influenced by ideographic thinking, typical of African tribal culture. The African Alphabet series appears as “learning a language based on cosmogonic richness, on a permanent reinvention of the founding myth and not reified or mediated by the word (...) Learning African art, in its primitive, ritualistic and initiatory form , the artist took what is vocabulary, the basis of all his work, whose grammar, operating through the articulation of recurrent fragments in combinatorial possibilities, refers to the ideographic language of an oral matrix culture that operates by transmission and direct exchange , objective and metaphorical. The ideograms, the use of the symbol, the clear shape, usually translated into negative through the use of the silhouette, became, more than an important form of recognition, the possibility of overcoming a dialectical and rhetorical view of the world.”