LISBON.- Museu Berardo Modern and Contemporary Art - Lisbon, presents Pancho Guedes - Vitruvius Mozambicanus, on view through August 16, 2009. Autobiography is, in architecture, a diffi cult art. It is not by chance that Pancho Guedes (b. 1925, Lisbon) placed his own attempt to describe his art under the auspices of Vitruvius (Roman writer, architect and engineer, author of De Architectura, known today as The Ten Books on Architecture), whose wish was that, besides gaining mastery of the different techniques, the architect might also become a writer. What is of particular interest to Guedes in his reference to the work of Vitruvius is the description of the world and the description of himself: I have worked in many styles simultaneously. I dismissed any sort of chronology long ago. I have instead classifi ed my architectural inventions into a number of families and filed them into a more or less definitive catalogue of twenty-fi ve architectures.
Pancho Guedes exhibition brings together his prodigious, surprisingly varied and original oeuvre of drawings, paintings and sculptures and shows how these contributed to the forms, ideas and spirit of the many different and personal architectures he created. His connection with Africa and, above all, with Mozambique allowed Pancho to liberate himself from the constraints and restrictive ideas that dominate the mainstream of the art world.
Panchos architectures range from extravagantly opulent and personal explorations of space and form (in which the visual arts blend and merge with one another without discernable boundaries) to austere, sparse buildings designed to meet demanding and stringent fi nancial conditions. In every case the resulting creations are in no way diminished by the circumstances that bring them to life. All his works are imbued with distinct individual souls that speak and smile proudly even when diminished through age and rough use. Pancho continues to draw, improve and make models of his buildings long ago completed. Relationships with the ongoing life of his many works is freed from narrow purpose and they find their way more easily into sculpture, paintings drawings and exaggerated conversations.