FBAUP, Oporto, May 26, 2011.
Open class by Isabel Alves, CEMES coordinator.
"... What is important is to begin"
On the pretext of the work and life of Ernesto de Sousa (1921-1988), an essential character in a culture which we situate in a universe without constricting divisions or, in his own words, oblivious to a "comforting center," an eclectic audience gathered under a common denominator: an avid expectation.
In the auditorium of the south pavilion, curdled from the required dimness, this yearning was fully rewarded by an uninterrupt and luminous unraveling of memories that bear witness to a still recent past, but that are also living documents of poignant actuality. Generators, here and now, of the same emotion that shook the deadlock of a present state – their time – calling for the unavoidable need of thinking a becoming. A future that is continued, that is still open, but which doesn't excuse the past, especially the primal one, and "tradition".
Impressive images, swiper-slides, photographs and short videos mediated by the short interventions of Isabel Alves' paused voice, who for twenty-three years shared life and "party" with Ernesto de Sousa. Only the necessary comments, so that no harm was done to its evocative power or to the meanings and feelings that came through it and that each one extracted in their own way.
Ernesto de Sousa, the "aesthetic operator" as he called himself, the "blaster" and "cultural militant" as he was called, respectively, by Álvaro Lapa and Eduardo Prado Coelho, his partners in the "adventure" of "being modern in Portugal". An impressive group of other such travelers, deep in the same restlessness, gathered around his enthusiasm: the nationals, Alberto Carneiro, Almada Negreiros, Ângelo de Sousa, Carlos Gentil-Homem, Dulce Drago, Fernando Calhau, Fernando Pernes, Helena Almeida, Jorge Peixinho, Julião Sarmento, Melo e Castro; the internationals, Ben Vautier, Beuys, Bruno Munari, Filliou, Orlan, René Berger, Vostell and many others. Ernesto de Sousa, José Ernesto amongst his friends, disruptive, multidisciplinary artist, author of Dom Roberto, 1962, a film awarded at the Cannes Film Festival, commissioner, mentor of the iconic Alternativa Zero, Lisbon, 1977, teacher, essayist, critic, member of the AICA, rehabilitating to erudition despised expressions such as the popular art of Rosa Ramalho and Franklin, also foreseeing the power of a virtual network with Aldeia Global, 1987, an unfinished project which he undertook already wounded by the physical ruin which curtailed his biological life. A herald of the transversality of knowledge, Ernesto de Sousa was above all a Man, a devotee of friendship, life and LOVE, a word which he used without shame. A man who didn't want to be noticed, "to see the world without being seen in it".
In the same discreet and delicate manner, the remarkable figure of Isabel Alves ran this "open class" positioning herself where she always wanted to be. Behind a weave of memories, an archive of documental proofs of which she is the guardian, a lot of them still unpublished, awaiting to become public and the interest of institutions. She is also to be made part of this history because she deserves it. On this day Isabel was, and still is, in her own way, an agitator as well. Our thanks for sharing. (Maria de Lurdes Cardoso)