In sculptures made out of an array of discarded factory materials and old office furniture, the Portuguese artist Nuno Sousa Vieira confronts opposites: consumption and usefulness versus refuse and obsolescence; the mass-produced versus the handmade; function over form versus form over function. Sousa Vieira renders utilitarian materials useless, while referencing their former functions and investing them with new life as sculptural works. Utilitarian objects are repurposed and recycled into poetic, deconstructed geometric forms which subvert yet still refer to their original functional forms and milieus. The transformed objects, devoid of original purpose, often are placed within their original “useful” environments, highlighting the transgressional aspect of their transformations.
“The media daily bombs us with images of ruin and large scale human and urban devastation. The idea of ruin interests me but not its aestheticization or displacement into a sheltered context, be it the exhibition or the comfortable screening in front of our sofas. What interests and concerns me is to recuperate and understand how we can use that physical and symbolic material without causing more waste, re-edifying it, raising it from its ashes. In this context, I choose objects developed for human use like tables, chairs, typewriters, or architecture and construction materials – doors, windows or floor pavement. I consider them raw materials for my sculptures. Although these objects are capable of being used, they were abandoned when the factory shut down. What I want is to get them reintroduced at a visible level. In my practice I replicate industrial procedures because, in my studio as in the factory, the process starts by thinking and experimenting the context – the work space.”
Vieira’s studio is located within an abandoned industrial building in Lisbon, a location filled with items for “relocation and reintegration into a platform of discussion and visibility within the art sphere.”
“The objects I have been developing have an address, Plásticos SIMALA, S.A., Estrada dos Pousos, Pousos, 2410 Leiria, Portugal, and that is the place where they can fully reach their meaningfulness. The elements intervened come from an industrial structure which is now my studio and this is where, along with their fellow objects, that they find their measure and fitting. That space is doomed to disappearance because urban developed so predicted but there is, on my part, an attempt to save and inscribe that place on the map of my artistic practice. On the other hand, this place allows me to achieve an awareness of issues and situations paralleled in our daily lives, such as ruin and abandon. What interests me is not an “aesthetisation” of each one of them but their relocation and reintegration into a platform of discussion and visibility within the art sphere.”
Vieira trained at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Lisbon University, where he obtained a master’s degree in Painting and studied for a doctorate. Nuno Sousa Vieira has had a multidisciplinary international career and includes in his projects drawing, sculpture, and the installation of objects he finds.
An interview with Vieira, originally published in Juliet magazine, can be found here.
Nuno Sousa Vieira was born in Leiria (Portugal), in 1971. He currently lives and works between Leiria and Lisbon (Portugal). http://www.nunosousavieira.com/
Galerie Emmanuel Herve, Paris
Drawing Room, Madrid, Feb 2018
João Silvério, notes for exhibition at Empty Cube, Lisbon