VALENCIA.- The internationally renowned artists Nelson Leirner and Albuquerque Mendes are presenting a joint work that establishes a dialogue between two related cultures, two ways of understanding the transcendence of life. This experience, originating from an exchange of letters between the two artists, has culminated in a grand project which includes over a hundred works. Miniature figures, wooden boats, portraits of saints, paintings and drawings all question the meaning, governing principles and impact of rituals in the installations that feature in the show
What Camino de Santos proposes is a kind of visual tapestry woven by four hands, containing a series of "intersecting stories". The linking theme of this cross-cultivation of stories is the idea of the parade, the demonstration or the procession, which in turn establishes an interplay of contrasts between the sacred and the profane. Both Nelson Leirner and Albuquerque Mendes question the meaning and impact of rituals and ceremonies, even turning them inside out and showing the side of them that we do not normally see.
The catalogue that accompanies the exhibition contains texts by José Jiménez and Bernardo Pinto de Almeida and an interview with Nelson Leirner and Albuquerque Mendes conducted by Isabel Durán.
Nelson Leirner (São Paulo, 1932) and Albuquerque Mendes (Trancoso, Portugal, 1953) are exhibiting their first joint project, combining proposals "of pagan and believer", which sets Mendes's idealistic, romantic focus alongside the more sceptical, pagan Leirner.
Nelson Leirner and Albuquerque Mendes are two artists who illuminate our experience. In their artwork they travel and journey along paths of feelings and meanings, setting out from different origins and approaches but finally coming together in a meeting. A visual and poetic meeting that also allows us, the others who are present, to recognize ourselves in it. Paths flowing together as a demonstration of the circularity of the world.
In this show they jointly present a single work, Camino de Santos (Road of Saints), which might also be called "The One in the Other". It is the outcome of a dialogue between two artists who consider themselves brothers on the creative plane, despite the very different work they produce and the fact that they live in two different continents, Europe and America.
As a poetic and conceptual background we can cite the words of Arthur Rimbaud: "je est un autre": "I is someone else", prompting us to think perhaps of a show conceived quite radically as a game of mirrors, a setting forth of things in common, allowing us to see elements establishing a fertile flow of communication and exchange (works of art, human communication, friendship) between Nelson Leirner and Albuquerque Mendes.
The show, organized by Casa de América and the Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales (SECC) in collaboration with the IVAM, forms part of the programme of activities designed by these institutions to record the bicentenary of the movements that aimed at the independence of the Latin-American Republics. The exhibition, which has already been presented at Casa de América in Madrid, as part of Festival VivAmérica, and at the Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo (MEIAC) in Badajoz, will remain at the Institut Valencià d'Art Modern until 26 April.