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run the risk

house-museum abel salazar

Porto l Portugal | 2022


This exhibition has as its starting point my encounter with the Church of São Martinho de Cedofeita, a solid and concise Romanic temple in solid stone, with a single nave built in the sixth century. This confluence, marks my arrival, as an artist coming from a remote symbolic commonly called the Brazilian Goias hinterland, in elsewhere lands, of a new experience of displacement in the scales between the subjective and the historical, of the clash between my body and the body of history metaphorically embodied by the temple. Of a body that gives its testimony as it struggles against the absolute of architecture and questions itself: what can the body do when it is thrown against an inscrutable rock forged by the "cold fire" of time? What can the body do against the real?


 From these questions arose the performance "Correr o Risco" [Run the risk], which is about running around while scratching in the middle, with red chalk, the Church of Cedofeita in Porto. The idea is to take the act of scratching as a creative method, in its effect of erasure. The risk seeks to erase the architecture, this materialized body of time, and in the same blow to inscribe itself in it. Erasure is a rewriting that, by overwriting itself, acts as a palimpsest by superimposing temporal records. Thus, to erase is also to re-signify the object. It is to turn the scratch-erasure into the trace-residue of writing that inserts me in the time and space of this site.


As a reflection, the trace marks my displacement between the location of Portuguese history and my region: the mythical Brazilian backlands, that ancient alterity of progress that helped form the imaginary of the Brazilian nation as a place of incompleteness. That is, the representative paradox of living in multiple temporalities, inhabiting a there-not-there so characteristic of borders, drifting between the past and the future, the archaic and the modern, and that allows us to inquire what is the place of the subject in its relationship with space/present time. We also propose to think Eduard Glissant’s concept "poetics of relations" as an experience and extension of identities in relation to the other from the wandering and the drift, as a method of deconstruction and reconstruction of these identities.


The result is an artistic practice that has, as an exercise of utopian resistance, the power to produce tensions between symbolic and social mediation structures and the inscrutable real that never conforms to these structures of recognition. For surrealists, it is from the gap between the structures of mediation and reality that sur-reality emerges, a fracture from which emerge the possibilities of creation and transformation of new ways of being in the world. As George Bataille would say, it is only under the risk of equivocation and its own failure that art can become a barrier to the homogenization of the world. The act of erasure is tracing drifts in search of new escape routes that allow us to redesign new landscapes and forms of life.

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