Manuel Casimiro: Nonexistent Mountains

Manuel Casimiro: Nonexistent Mountains

Fundação Casa de Mateus

Manuel Casimiro, Montanha Inexistente (Nonexistent Mountain), 2020. 78 x 109 cm. Courtesy of M.C.

May 15, 2024
Manuel Casimiro
Nonexistent Mountains
May 25–July 25, 2024
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Fundação Casa de Mateus
5000-291 Vila Real
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Manuel Casimiro in his own words: “Climbing a mountain requires effort that also leads to reflection, effort and reflection being two important foundations of life and art.”

“Climbing a mountain helps us realise that we are also part of Nature, understand the intrinsic value of all the elements of the world we live in, and aim for the emergence of what Nietzsche termed going beyond man. In our everyday language, we also associate the top, the mountain’s peak, its highest point, the summit, with the elevation of human behaviour.”

In these landscape paintings of mine, and not only in these, repetition highlights the difference and a coalescence where the present is associated with the past and the future in the Lyotardian sense of his postmodern understanding. As in other situations of my already long journey, it all breathes a provocation and challenge to each one’s thought in confronting postulates as being definitive. Here, space/time suit each other. The present that passes preserves the memory of the past, and the present that passes is already the future. It is a fixed plan, but it leads to movement when it reinvents itself in the proper field of the act of thinking, of painting.”

Biographical highlights
Manuel Casimiro, painter, sculptor, and photographer, was born in Porto in 1941. In 1976, he received a scholarship from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in France, and his absence from the country lasted for about twenty years.

In 1978, he lived in New York. Artists’ Postcards chose one of his works to integrate a collection of postcards by various authors, namely Robert Motherwell, Duane Michals, and David Hockney. The Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York has shown this project, which travelled to Tokyo, London, Paris, and Berlin.

Sales of his works during his American stay allowed him to travel later through the Nordic countries, Germany, France and Italy, where he spent frequent seasons, especially in Venice, where he met and photographed Peggy Guggenheim.

In 1986, he participated in the “Peindre Photographer” project in Nice with Christian Boltanski, Louis James, Annette Messager, and Robert Rauschenberg.

Manuel Casimiro was a guest artist at Salamanca European Capital of Culture in 2002. In 2000, the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporânea acquired some copies of the artwork A Cidade (The City). A Cidade is also part of the Berardo Museum collection, in which museum, in 2008/2009, the artist individually exhibited Caprichos (The Whims), about which the museum edited a book with texts by him and by French writer Michel Butor.

In 2004, he wrote a critical and ironic text about the art system to accompany his exhibition Chocolate. This text is part of a series of his writings gathered in the book Nem Antigo Nem Moderno (Not Antic Not Modern), published in 2005.

In 2006, Manuel Casimiro exhibited in the Italian city of Bari Os Fantasmas do Rei D. Sebastião (The Ghosts of King Sebastian), an exhibition first presented in 1988 at the National Museum of Soares dos Reis in Porto.

In 2014, he exhibited Pintar a Ideia (To Paint the Idea) in Macau, China, at Galeria Tap Seac, which edited a voluminous catalogue.

In 2019, Isabel Gomes curated the first exhibition dedicated to Casimro’s photographic work at the Museu Vieira da Silva in Lisbon and directed a film about the artist’s life and work. 

Jean-Hubert Martin, curator of Magiciens de la Terre (Paris 1989), organized the first retrospective of Manuel Casimiro in 1996/97 at the Fundação de Serralves, publishing a catalogue with more than two dozen critical texts on Casimiro’s work.

So far, more than forty authors have written about Manuel Casimiro, namely Bernardo Pinto de Almeida, Christine Buci-Glucksman, Danièle Cohn, Elisa Resegotti, Fernando Pernes, Giulio Giorello, Isabel Gomes, Jean-François Lyotard, Jean-Hubert Martin, João Fernandes, Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield, José Augusto França, Luis Molinuevo, Michel Butor, Paulo Cunha e Silva, Pierre Restany, and Vincent Descombes.

Casimiro’s artworks in public collections: Museu de Serralves, Porto; Gulbenkian Centro de Arte Moderna, Lisboa; Museu Berardo, Lisboa; Museu Souza Cardoso, Amarante; MEIAC, Badajoz; CGAC, Santiago de Compostela; Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, Nice; Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris.

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May 15, 2024

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