Super-Ego (Das Über-Ich)

Heracles Contemporary Tasks


A contemporary reinterpretation of the 12 Labors of Heracles, the mythological Greek hero who spent twelve years serving Eurystheus while performing what were to be impossible tasks. According to ancient Greek historians, the works by Heracles where first described in a lost epic poem, the Heraclea, by Peisander, dating back as to 600 bCE.

In this reinterpretation, the territories where labors are to be performed are extended worldwide and the figure of the mythological hero is replaced by the figure of the artist (not the artist himself as the author, but the Artist as an avant-garde collective figure), establishing a parallel between eras, as a metaphorical correspondence between the verbal presupposition (action) and the original mythological task. The creation of a contemporary myth set upon the aegis of anti-heroism.

Works are adapted and related to the mythological labors through concepts and syllogisms, analogies, metaphors, anaphors, allegories and others figures of speech. Since all twelve labors are previously known by the artist and because it is a contemporary reinterpretation, the series presentation does not require the works to be presented in their correct order. Therefore, all works are to be materialized according to their relevance or adaptability to available contexts and opportunities.


# 01 Slay the Nemean Lion
Tractatus Logico-Cubicus (after L. Wittgenstein), (2011)

“(#color) abstract form”
This proposal takes form from the quote of Michelangelo Buonarroti in his sonnets, “The marble not yet carved can hold the form of every thought the greatest artist has” (Sonnet 15, translated by Elizabeth Jennings), meaning that the sculpture already is confined within the block and being the act of sculpting the act of taking away. This is very close to Duchamp’s idea of the readymade if we skip the part of accomplishing form through skilled work. With this in mind, this project sets in a nomination of the work itself, which means that the work is not to be achieved through form by sculpting the marble. Instead, I propose to choose a block of polished marble and nominate it as “White abstraction form”.

This so called “(color) abstraction form” is only completed when lying over a white marble plinth constituted of a three parts body with the title of the work inscribed in the middle section. The plinth’s configuration and dimensions can be seen in sketch (though they may vary and become gradually bigger). This plinth is what is to be materialized by sculpture so to speak as it needs to have the title carved in it (as the nominated block of marble is a nominated readymade), which is a way to put emphasis on something that through art history is looked as a mere displaying dispositive for sculptures (with “The endless column”, by Brancusi, being probably the most subversive and notable exception) and appropriate it into the work.

Model and project sketch, 2011.

# 02 Slay the Lernaean Hydra
Les Statues Meurent Aussi (after Chris Marker/Alain Resnais), 2001/2017

Les statues meurent aussi (after Chris Marker/Alan Resnais), 2001/2017
Head of a limestone public sculpture, books on sculpture, bronze globe and documentation
Variable dimensions

# 03 Capture the Golden Hind of Artemis
Praxis: Monument for a Social Dissertation, (2012)

# 04 Capture the Erymanthian Boar
The Fourth-Wall, (2014)

# 05 Clean the Augean Stables in a Day
(The Untitled), (2012)

The task presented here is developed under the form of an installation using solar pannels installed over air-conditioned systems, with the latter being energy supplied by the first. Each air-conditioned system has its own solar pannel installed on top of it. the installation is composed of a minimun of 15 ready to use devices ideally installed in an arid zone (preferably a desert).

The project is set on the evident and constant desire that the human being has shown in regard to controlling nature, the environment, and the whole surrounding as well as its own human physical impossibilities without the ingenuity and technological devices created to aid in such efforts. Therefore, (The untitled) is a way of referring to the human nature itself by addressing the impossible, with no efforts or sacrifices, that is the need to cool down the planet and refrain climate change through the use of an ironic and subversive pseudo-solution.

Model, 2012.

# 06 Slay the Stymphalian Birds
Cultural Hegemony (after A. Gramsci), (2012)

Three parts that work as one compose this installation and performative act. The first part consists in amplifying and copying the signatures of numerous artists into canvases. The artists will be selected by their high quotation in the art market, the repetitive visual nature of their work (or, even if not from the beginning they are now working in an extremely visual, almost decorative, and institutional way) and the ratios between those two and the actual artistic pertinence of the artwork. Still, even if this is the criterion used, not all artists will be selected by these preconceptions. The second part of the installation is to enlarge and copy my signature into a canvas of the same size but that will be presented, side by side with the others, with light bowls pointed to it and two half naked female models next to it as if they were presenting a “new deluxe item”. The third part consists in setting a copy machine, in the centre of the exhibition room, taking copies from a paper with my signature on it.

Canvases size is 150×100 cm and each one will present the signature of a different artist, being that some of the signatures will have a subversive effect in the installation as they are from artists whose work does not fit in among the others. The models will only be part of the installation in the vernissage and finissage. The copy machine is programmed to take as many copies as it can and only stops if there’s no paper left in the machine or if any technical error occurs. From four to four hours, more paper is added to feed the machine and a new programme is set. The copied paper with the artist signature grows on the ground as there is no side table in the machine, thus, providing the observer the chance of “contemplating contempt” by walking over the artist signature.

The sentence used as the title for this project was taken from the Italian marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci and it is used to define (in a very short sentence) the relation between culture and power under capitalism.

Model and installation view without the centre work, plus sketch for the centre work, 2012.

# 07 Capture the Cretan Bull
The (Great) Great Cube, 2012

This project consists in a sectioned lapidation of a rocky mountain, that was previously explored as a stone quarry, until it acquires the shape of a cube. This mountain is located in Portugal, in the EN8, between the villages of Amoreira and Sobral da Lagoa, in the council of Caldas da Rainha. The measures of the cube are determined by the maximum measures allowed by the rocky mountain, which means that being the mountain 29 meters above the sea level and its top elevation 79 meters above sea level it is necessary to adapt the cube shape into the massive rock, therefore, conditioning the edges of the cube to somewhere between 35/40 meters length. The sectioned lapidation takes in account the complete separation of the cube from the rest of the rocky massive in about 2 meters in each side. This space between rocky sections allows the observer to walk around the cube, thus, giving the viewer the opportunity to experience his body as being somehow physically and metaphysically crushed between the massive sections, scales and matter.

Super-Ego (Das Über-Ich) -
The (great) great cube, 2012.
Model, sketches and documentation.
Variable dimensions

# 08 Steal the Mares of Diomedes
Afrontamentos I
BlondeA non-sterile painting, (2012)

Afrontamentos II
It wasn’t art before it was design… It isn’t design now it is art, (2012)

Afrontamentos III
FuriousL’esprit de l’escalier, (2012)

Afrontamentos IV
, 2012
Super-Ego (Das Über-Ich) - Super-Ego (Das Über-Ich) - Super-Ego (Das Über-Ich) - Super-Ego (Das Über-Ich) -
Exercices de style, or… Copia: Foundations of the abundant style (after Desiderius Erasmus), 2012
Chinese ink on printed fine art paper
19 sheets with 21×29,5 cm

# 09 Obtain the Girddle of Hippolyta
WTF! – Work Towards Fairness! (An homage to Aristides de Sousa Mendes), 2012/2016

Super-Ego (Das Über-Ich) -
WTF! – Work Towards Fairness! (an homage to Aristides de Sousa Mendes), 2012/16
Aluminium box, acrylic glass, wires, blacklight, EU flag and body fluids
120x60x12 cm

# 10 Obtain the Cattle of Geryon
Il Gattopardo (after G.Tomasi di Lampedusa), 2013

Instructions to seduce the masses. Do as follow.

Super-Ego (Das Über-Ich) -
Il Gattopardo (after G.Tomasi di Lampedusa), 2013
Typewriter text on fine art paper
21×29,5 cm

Instruções para sedução das massas. Fazer como segue. (Original)

“Começando com a descrição da instalação e terminando com o título da mesma (de chicote na mão!), este projecto está concebido para ser exibido num espaço fechado e amplo (galeria ou outro) com medidas mínimas de 7×7 metros. A instalação usa materiais muito simples: alcatifa vermelha e gravilha para colocar em todo o piso da sala (gravilha mesmo, grossa, não areia para gatos mas gravilha, como aquela que vemos no exterior dos circos em volta das jaulas das feras já domadas, uma correspondência à nossa (es)fera artística, cultural, social, política, etc.) + cerca de 15/20 gatos à solta pelo espaço (gatos mesmo, animais vivos, “felinos” castrados ou o que for! emprestados, dados ou alugados, não importa desde que lá estejam) + 5/6 estruturas/apoios para os tigres fazerem pose (imagem em anexo) + uma cortina vermelha, semelhante às dos circos, para “ocultar” o espectáculo ao ser colocada na entrada da instalação (um pedido às costureiras de Portugal porque também somos muito “Joana Vasconcelos”!) + como não poderia deixar de ser (visto que se trata de uma instalação), a tão badalada participação do observador dentro da própria obra e que alterará a percepção de todo o espaço (mais um dos grandes clichés dos básicos que ocupam o “espaço” que iremos (des)ocupar!) e que, nesta instalação, são mais baratas do que homens (e aqui quem brinca com as nossas “baratas” somos mesmo nós!) + para terminar em beleza, o título, como uma flecha apontada em todas as direcções, sem tendenciosidades pois essas serão criadas pela interpretação de cada um: Como um circo, mas sem feras… ou se as há, não se distingue um tigre de um gato.”

Em virtude da utilização de animais vivos, a instalação está idealmente concebida para ser exibida por um período não superior a dois dias.

“No que diz respeito ao teatro brechtiano, o célebre distanciamento não será senão como que o sinal externo dessa metamorfose: o espectador deverá distanciar-se do espectáculo para deixar de ser espectador, não deverá perder-se nele para poder perdê-lo e encontrar-se, não deverá cegar-se para poder começar a ver, não deverá ficar dentro para poder ir para fora, pois lá fora é que é dia, como diria Luís Veiga Leitão. Vemos, por aqui, que, para Brecht, não é o espectador que deve ter os olhos postos no espectáculo: é o espectáculo que tem os olhos postos no espectador. E não é só o espectáculo que leva a tragédia aos homens: «são os homens que levam a tragédia ao espectáculo» (R. Barthes, in suplemento literário de France Observateur, 8/1/1954).”
– in, prefácio Poemas Bertolt Brecht, Arnaldo Saraiva, Editorial Presença, pág. 14/15

# 11 Steal the Apples of Hesperides
The Merchant of Venice (after William Shakespeare), 2012

The merchant of Venice is an installation and performance composed by an improvised market post selling rubble by kilograms.

The art merchant was an installation and performance that ran for 6 hours in the daily market of Caldas da Rainha, Portugal, in May 2012. The work was composed by a market post that was shown during day time while the market was still ongoing. This particular post was selling art… by kilograms. Abstract art, figurative art and conceptual art, each one with its own price but all of them exactly of the same material: fragments of a single limestone block. The spectator/consumer chooses a fragment, the merchant weights the work of art and the artist signs the work by carving its specific info plus the weight of the work that was bought.

In this reinterpretation of the work, called The merchant of Venice (after W. Shakespeare), the limestone was replaced by rubble (composed of different materials applied in constructions). Also, a container full of rubble, similar to those found on construction sites, is added to the installation providing an extensive stock to be sold by kilo. The so called product is not identified as in The art merchant; here it’s just rubble (artistic, social, political or other). The role of the compulsive merchant is not to be performed by the author. Instead, it is to be interpreted by a local actor to be contracted to play the role in this installation whenever and wherever it is shown.

Needless to say, this work is conceived to be exhibited in the exterior (ideally in a market square along with other trading posts).

Super-Ego (Das Über-Ich) -
Fragment of The Merchant of Venice (after W. Shakespeare), Alcobaça’s Biennial of Experimental Art, 2015.
Performance and mixed-media installation.
Variable dimensions.

# 12 Capture and Bring Back Cerberus
Aletheia! Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form (after Harald Szeeman), 2009/Ongoing