Vasco Araujo (ENG)
Vasco Araujo is a contemporary Portuguese artist well known for its works in media, noted for its subtle use of installation, video and photography while exploring the themes of community, political identities and cultural stereotypes. He also focuses on the complexity of personality and identity. What is fascinating about works of Araujo, is that he combines natural with artificial. Wigs, films and porcelain are artist’s favorite means to create the medium to convey the concept and meaning. He also combines text, music and visuals and says the work of art is the synthesis of material, poetic and visual elements.
Araújo was born in 1975 in Lisbon. He has a degree in sculpture and later on he studied Advanced course in Fine-Art at Maumaus, the school of fine arts and photography. Araujo has organised solo and group exhibitions in various European cities, including Italy, Spain, Hugary and Germany. Moreover, he presented his works in Australia and United States.
The fact, that Araujo has a music background as he is an opera singer as well, influences his work very much. For instance, the video Girl of the Golden West, which received its international recognition while it was displayed in the 2005 Venice Biennale, retells the plot of a famous 1910 opera by Giacomo Puccini, but the difference is that the story is set in the American West at the second part of 19th century. Araujo draws the comparison between the struggle for power discussed in the opera of Puccni and the aspiration for power in American history. The narrator comments on justice and injustice, talks about major problems of human rights and human relations. What is essential in this work is the idea that once we change our way of seeing, suddenly new facts, words and things are born.
Another great example is video named Duettino where a man impersonates two characters; the text is taken from a well-known opera Don Giovanni, a duet between Giovanni and Zerlina. The anonymous man expresses a mixture of feelings such as loneliness, deep passion and great sorrow.
Far de Donna, tells the story of the boy who discovers that he is a singer on the same day that his mother suddenly loses her voice. The story reflects the Oedipian image, by which Araujo seeks to emphaisize the human nature and show that generally it has not changed throughout time, in a sense that we still are afraid of the same thigs and suffer from the sores and commit the same crimes and injustice.
The recent exhibition presented in the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, United Kingdom, named About Being Different, explores the feelings of outsider in the community and its steoretyps. The video was inspired by by Benjamin Britten’s Opera Peter Grimes, which tells the story of a fisherman who was victimized by people of his village. What interest author, is the discovery of mechanisms that causes exclusion.
In critically acclaimed video named Eco, Araujo looks at the relations between different elements, people and thigs. He maintains that there are no facts, only interpreretations. As he states,” All of reality is a performance: this reality is one performance, but there is another, there are many others… Hence we are constantly acting, we are constantly performing; here, now, we are representing something, but when we go out onto the street, we represent something else.”
Video Eco 2008