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SILVESTRE PESTANA: A COUNTERCYCLICAL ARTIST
from 17 DEC 2017 to 15 APR 2018
Silvestre Pestana (1949, Funchal, Madeira) — a visual artist, poet and performer — has developed a unique oeuvre in the Portuguese artistic panorama since the 1960s. Following 'Technoform', the first major exhibition dedicated to his work held at the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in 2016, we are delighted to present a new exhibition based on Pestana’s works that were subsequently acquired for the Serralves Collection.

Since the late 1970s, Pestana has been a key figure in Porto's independent art scene. This exhibition covers various key moments in the artist's career: the period associated with the Portuguese Experimental Poetry collective PO.EX. in the 1960s, which addressed poetry as a visual discourse and a means of antifascist resistance; the works produced during his exile in Stockholm, Sweden, between 1969 and 1974, where he began to develop performances and interventions in the public space and came into contact with environmental and ecological movements, Land Art and sound, visual, and performance-based experimentalism; his return to Portugal after the fall of the Estado Novo regime in 1974, when he reinforced his pioneering role in video and performance art in Portugal; the use of neon as a new system of body animation and language; and the introduction of new technologies into his artistic practice through critical interpretation of how such technologies mediate our bodies and have become instruments of political and social control.

Pestana does not limit himself to exploring the functions of the various media that he uses in his work. He goes further: the artist seeks to use these media to create new art forms and enunciate a new language, in a process of permanent intellectual upheaval and constant questioning and political commitment ('At every step the right medium, the right instrument for each moment in time, the right way to objectify each item of knowledge'). An example of resistance and integrity against capitalist models of the contemporary art market and unilateral and domesticated art, as advocated by French philosopher Guy Debord and the Situationist movement, which Pestana recognizes as a major influence in his work.

Production: Fundação de Serralves – Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto
Related Activities
  • LocationNúcleo de Arte Oliva, S. João da Madeira
  • Days 17 DEC 2017 - 15 APR 2018

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Rua D. João de Castro, 210
4150-417 Porto Portugal
41º 9'35.40"N
8º39'35.35ºW
Serralves