artist / participant

press release

I-20 will open in fall 2001 with two video works by Portuguese artist João Onofre. This will be his first solo exhibition.

In Casting, 2000, Onofre assembled a group of young Lisbon advertising models. In a round-robin they all audition with the final words from the Rosselini movie Stromboli, which were uttered by Ingrid Bergman as she tried to cross over a live volcano in Italy, “Che io abbia la forza, la convinzione et il coraggio.” (“That I would have the strength, the conviction and the courage.”)

The models step out from the group and face a fixed camera to deliver the Italian line from the 1950 neo-realistic film. They are casual and collected, their interpretations at odds with the world that this dense, humanistic statement stands for. Afterwards they step back and join the other participants awaiting their turn.

For Instrumental Version, 2001, Onofre, working individually with each member of a chamber choir as well as the conductor and his two assistants, created a score by which digital and electronic sounds were adapted for the human voice. In this interpretation of “The Robots,” from Kraftwerk’s 1978 album, “Man Machine,” the choir performs the sounds from one of the most influential themes of electronic music.

Both Casting and Instrumental Version incorporate a grouping of people who individually perform repetitive actions that in the end unite them as a group. They look back to a composition from the ‘70s, and to a landmark work of the ‘50s. The models and singers in both groups try to give their best performances within the strict confines of what was imposed upon them.

Onofre’s group exhibitions include: Performing Bodies at the Tate Modern in London; the 2001 Venice Biennale; the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon; and Situation 0 at the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts in San Francisco. His work has also been shown at the Intermedia Gallery, Glasgow; the Entwistle Gallery, London; and Sweet and Low, curated by Kenny Schachter, at Rove, New York. Upcoming solo shows include the Israel Museum in Jerusalem in 2002.

João Onofre was born in Lisbon in 1976. He graduated from the University of Fine Art, Lisbon, and received his MFA at Goldsmith’s College, London.

An illustrated catalogue (No.15), with a text by Pedro Lapa, director of the Chiado Museum in Lisbon, will be available. Pressetext

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Joao Onofre