Sigismund Strasse


“To Whom It May Concern: The white paintings came first; my silent piece came later.”

– John Cage; Silence: Lectures and Writings


Sigismund Strasse - Iconology: Voici le temps des assassins, 2018
Iconology: Voici le temps des assassins
, 2018
Mixed media assemblage
113,5×82,5×6 cm

Sigismund Strasse - Not a Georg Baselitz's painting, 2018
Not a Georg Baselitz’s painting
, 2018
Oil on canvas and graphite
110×80 cm

Sigismund Strasse - Fine line, 2017
Fine line
, 2017
Black pigment on canvas, steel nails, cotton line and graphite
60×90 cm

Sigismund Strasse - Self titled I, 2016
Self titled I, 2016
Oil on canvas
90×60 cm

Sigismund Strasse - Self titled, 2015
Self titled
, 2015
Oil on canvas
90×60 cm

Sigismund Strasse - Presentation sketch for Conceptual multiplier, 2013Sigismund Strasse - Presentation sketch for Conceptual multiplier, 2013
Presentation sketch and print example for Conceptual multiplier, 2013

The Conceptual multiplier project consists in the appropriation of downloaded images from a past exhibition that displayed works rarely-shown live to the public. This means that before this exhibition, many of these works could only be perceived through an internet and/or book search and viewed only through a computer screen or a flattened sheet reproduction, which is the same to say that, due to the nature of the artworks and their material and other inherent properties, the viewer can only experience a small part of the work’s real aesthetic values (with the analogy being almost like seeing only a few pixels of the complete picture).

Beginning in the great masters of the Renaissance, this project runs the art timeline since the fifteenth century to Contemporary Art by placing itself in the exact opposite side of hand mastery and technical virtuosity. The starting point of the project is the exhibition titled “Dürer to de Kooning: 100 Master drawings from Munich”, lend by the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich, and shown by Morgan Library and Museum, New York, from October 12, 2012, to January 6, 2013. From this exhibition of 100 works, 25 images were downloaded (the ones that could be identified as part of the exhibition) from numerous sites promoting the event on the web. In addition, the author as selected, through a kind of curatorial practice, 25 other works from the same list of exhibited artists in New York plus 50 other works from modernist to post modern and contemporary artists in order to give a stronger approach to the most recent practices in contemporary art. These downloaded images of drawings, sketches, paintings, engravings and conceptual sentences are to be printed afterwards in fine art paper with a standard size of an A4 paper sheet. All downloaded images are of low quality and low definition so that when they are printed they will gain an abstract pixilated look.

Works are all printed in a high contrast black and white, ignoring their original colors, until they lose their resemblance to the original work and acquire a completely new and abstract presence. The presentation method consists of 4 distinct panels that are hanged over a corkboard (with about 150x100x1 cm), each panel composed of 5×5 printings (making 4 panels of 25 printings each), with each one reflecting a different moment of the project, being: 1- the 25 prints of the works presented in New York; 2- the 25 works from artists that made part of the exhibited artists list in N.Y.; 3- 25 modernist artists selected by the author of the project; 4- 25 works from post modern and contemporary artists selected by the author. The works are not to be identified in the exhibition as to synthesize and secure a closer resemblance to the internet sources (as the images have been downloaded through a search on Google images) where most of the images were not completely identified. In this way, this project creates a sort of narrative about art history since the Modern Era (namely about works on paper) that places itself, on one side, closer to Aby Warburg’s Atlas Mnemosyne, and at the same time, in the opposite side of Warburg’s documental and conceptual sense of art and history research.

To complete the project, a steel stamp is to be ordered for the exhibition to stamp the 100 printings with an identification of the new site where they are to be shown. This identification contains: the name of the project; the name of the author; the name of the exhibition site; the name of the festival; and the date of exhibition. This steel stamp and the printings are the documentation of the exhibition itself and are to be kept by the institution that exhibits them. Every time this project is presented in a new place a new stamp with new info is to be made. This provides an even larger sense of multiplication for the “Conceptual multiplier” project as well as a guarantee for self-documentation. The shape, lettering and color used in the steel stamp and its pressing mark on the printings are to be decided by the institution that exhibits it.

In regard to the copyright duties, the images are available online and therefore available to be downloaded, so they are of free use. If they are not of free use then the author states that they are not copies of the originals due to their lack of quality and low definition that puts them as new abstract works in a post-digital artistic sense. To quote Pablo Picasso: “Good artists copy; great artists steal”. Or, as Fredric Jameson wrote, quoting Brecht, on his essay Brecht and method: “Know thenye spectators, the wisdom of the ancients that things belong to those who use them best and most productively (…)”.


Sigismund Strasse - Anemic pathologies of painting, 2012Sigismund Strasse - Anemic pathologies of painting, 2012
Anemic pathologies of painting
, 2012
Enameled steel, cotton string, wood springs,and oil on canvases
Variable dimensions

Sigismund Strasse - Sem título/sans titre/senza titolo/ohne titel/untitled, 2012
Sem título/sans titre/senza titolo/ohne titel/untitled
, 2012
Mixed media installation
Variable dimensions

This work consists in a drying rack, whose structure may vary according to space, set in the middle of the exhibition space and composed of various cotton strings sustained by a metal structure. The cotton lines are filled with prints hanged with wood springs. The prints are made resorting to different techniques used to create bi-dimensional multiples. All prints have the expression “visual art” inscribed in black capitols, alternating between written languages, types of paper and canvas or dimensions of the support. The idioms used are: Portuguese, French, Italian, German and English, with the possibility of adding other languages to the visual discourse. The work is presented as being an artistic performance where the artist stages the hanging of prints, one by one, until the totality of the drying rack is filled and the work is completely materialized.

All techniques used are representative to the art fields to each they belong: printmaking and painting are represented by etchings, stencils, paintings and ink stampings; photography is represented by Word prints (corresponding to digital print works); sculpture is present in the drying rack structure (sometimes as readymade); and installation is represented as the work itself with the possibility of multiplying and extending the work to the infinite. All multiples (as bi-dimensional print works) are triplicated by a copy machine, therefore, creating multiples of multiples. The triplications are not representative of any artistic technique; instead, they represent the repetitive act that does not aim for the creation of something new. The work, as an installation, is multiplied as many times needed in order to occupy all the available space and containing only a few original works between the hundreds of copies displayed in the drying rack lines.

All multiples are dated, numbered and signed by the author, using pseudonyms, with these technical and artistic validations not being subjected to any kind of rules.


Sigismund Strasse - Trêsmetrospordois (Threemetresbytwo), 2012
Trêsmetrospordois (Threemetresbytwo)
, 2012
Painted rope, steel nails and adhesive tape
300x200x8 cm

Sigismund Strasse - My results don't make a story yet, 2012
My results don’t make a story yet
, 2012

This installation is based in the hyperbolization of the work Advanced Expressions of Abstract Representations, also from 2012, with this installation being made in several steps. It is fundamental to be able to close the exhibition space for one or two weeks in order to produce the installation inside. The exhibition space is closed and its windows covered with paper (taken from magazines or journals) as if the space was being remodelled, assuming this preparatory side of the work as being already one of the composing parts of the installation. This means that before the work is presented in its totality, in fact, it is already being presented as a fragment of itself.

In first place, after closing the exhibition space, canvases of different sizes are placed along the walls and black “fictitious abstract paintings” (as being manipulated for a final result) are performed over those canvases. These so called fictitious abstract paintings will be made as to extrapolate the limits of the canvases in order for some of the paint to remain on the wall after canvases are removed and therefore leaving the painting marks as if they were a sort of “painted frames”. After these painting marks are set on the wall, the canvases are taken off of the wall and a stencil composed of letters in italic will be painted directly on the wall where the canvases were. After this process is complete, the exhibition space is completely painted in white as to cover the marks made before.

After the exhibition space is painted white, new canvases sheets of different sizes will be again placed on the wall and new abstract extrapolating paintings will be performed over them and leaving their consequential marks directly on the walls. After canvases are again taken off of the wall, a new stencil will be added to each new painted frame produced. Again, the exhibition is painted in white as to cover both the old and new paintings performed in it. This complete process is repeated a third and fourth time in order to create a pictorial stratum that is accumulated on the walls of the exhibition space. After the last series of canvases sheets is taken off, the exhibition space is not repainted in white, instead, these last marks (these last “frames” and correspondent stencils) will be assumed as definitive in this installation.

The last step of the work is to place shelves inside all the walls painted frames (both the ones which are completely visible and those which are less visible due to the white paint over them). These shelves will all be painted in white as to minimize their visual presence inside the frames. Only the last series of marks on the wall will possess a black shelf instead of a white one. The correspondent canvas will them be placed over all shelves, both the new and the older ones. All canvases are rolled up and tied with a string before being placed over the shelves.

The title of the project is an expression taken from the second chapter, called Hypothesis and imagination, of the book The Strange Case of the Spotted Mice and Other Classic Essays on Science, by Peter Brian Medawar.


Sigismund Strasse - Devir: pintura (Devir: painting), 2012
Devir: pintura (Becoming: painting)
, 2012
Gilded woodframe, steel and plaster
74x64x5,5 cm (Work destroyed)

Sigismund Strasse -
Young girl with straw hat
, 2011
Oil paint over unknown reproduction
68×45 cm

Sigismund Strasse - A visual placebo, 2011Sigismund Strasse - A visual placebo, 2011
A visual placebo
, 2011
Enameled steel and glass
150x50x50 cm

Sigismund Strasse - Reflexões sobre o desenho (Reflexions upon drawing), 2011Sigismund Strasse - Reflexões sobre o desenho (Reflexions upon drawing), 2011
Reflexões sobre o desenho (Reflexions upon drawing)
, 2011
Glass, fine art paper and graphite (title/signature)
76×56,5×1 cm