A Tradição como Aventura

Ernesto de Sousa, A Tradição como Aventura [foldout poster], Lisbon, Galeria Quadrum 


Originally published in English, translated by David Evans. Republished in Oralidade, Futuro da Arte?, São Paulo, Escrituras, 2011 and Ser Moderno em Portugal, Lisbon, Assírio & Alvim, 1998.

Je suis un autre (Rimbaud). Moi, pour moi, c'est trop peu (Maiakovski). Sa découverte, c'est que l'homme n'est pas tout à fait dans l'homme (Freud-Lacan). Le regard n'est plus seulement infini: objet partiel, il s'est transformé en objet perdu (S. Sarduy). A moi. L'histoire d'une de mes folies (Rimbaud).

The nonwork (death) is the definition of life, a commemorative monument, to what I stand for and what I lack. Unforeseeable and incurable yet implicit le manque. Between what I am (plenitude, contentment, joy and the opposite ) and the object of my desire (erotism, mother’s breast, plenitude at last), object (a) utopia, revolution) something is interposed. On the one hand everyhing is for you, that is the principle of pleasure on the other there is the compulsion for the repetitive; recommencement, work, metronimy… the death instinct. I use a life (my own) as a testimony. Readymade.

I love you and desire you and every desire demands eternity or as Zarathustra say: profound eternity, But I know what – you are, what I am, evanescent and ready for liquidaction. All that remains for us is the clearness of our edges. To be discovered. By the implacable analysis of differences (the invention of the word in the assassination of the strictest language). I repeat, I love you in splendour.

To summarize:
The story of my father (so gentle but somewhat far away). My mother’s breasts: "when I see pink I think they mean me".
The story of law. Resistance. Not to do so would be more than I could stand. C’était le temps des assassins.
Cinema. The discovery of the other. Don Roberto and Imagem. Culture, France ("la Grande Chaumière", the Studios). Radio plays that was when I met Redol, a good man).
The other theatre (that was when I met José Rodrigues, Peixinho, Rosa) . And Raul Brandão and Oporto!
My friend Tunhas was dying "Je veux vivre mais pas aujourd’hui". Algés and the Pri meiro Acto: Fluxus and beyond the theatre. I had met Almada Negreiros, I began.
Italy, Russia, Europe, the World.


The passion for painting, that was when I began to manufacture paint. I was finishing a university course in science. The great revolt. Which later turned into a darkroom.

And finally, I saw the Bird of Paradise.
What Alternative?

I began the experiment of appropriation of literary typographical texts in 1977 (Alternative Zero). Exhibition of ORLANDO (Virginia Woolf). Absolute disauthorisation (incognito) and the tautological character (translation, typography). The coincidence of meaning was played out as aesthetic research. Coincidence with the exhibition itself: time, total evanescence and a hecatomb of words. Zero.

This installation here is above all a quadrum (frame plinth, gallery, museum) of two texts. Laing and St. Augustine. Without translation, the texts should be peeped at.

The text of the Confessions was manipulated: changement de genre (key e-vident?): masculine/feminine, God/revolution.

Ex-text, ex-position. The sense of peepingnot as at a peepshow or cliché. Hidden sense: something is missing in the exhibition about what is missing. Ce n’est pas encore ça. Mother’s breast, mandalas. Names, mantras. But, ce n’est pas encore ça. As all of life, the aesthetic, process, the exposition is a work of death. Everything happens, ex. But  how to say it?  like a sunlit side, beginning, still sun, something unforeseeably different absolutely other which is nevertheless on view, right on the surface. Mine, Yours. There is also something missing from this paper. The curriculum and the details. Not because we are against identification. But because we think this kind of thing here, would smack of pleonasm. Particulary because…

…when they ask me what my profession is, what kind of art I do, ("if you want to be the first take care not to be the last") I always think of Machiavelli, Sade, Rimbaud, Lautréamont, Nietzsche, Artaud… some other authors and I only feel like answering with the greatest cynicism and sincerity: I'd like to be a saint. No other profession suits me. And I wouln’t worry about dying for it. But the cross, martyrdom, calvary itself the cause and the movement should have a sense. And that has to be known... knowing demands unknowing, the work a non-work. This exhibition an exhibition. As if it were possible to say: It would have been better never to have been born! L’imprévisible miroir.