Geneviève Moll1991

Written for the exhibition
Manuel Amado, peintures récentes / Manuel Amado, recent paintings Mouvances Galerie D’Art, Paris, 1991
Even the cicadas have stopped singing. It is that time in the afternoon when the monstrous heat finally collapses upon itself. There is something like a silence of the sun, a pause in its dense throbbing. Everything lies in wait. On the beach, the striped canvas cabins will once again host ‘the laughter of ticklish girls.’ In the houses, behind closed doors, damp bodies, languishing on unfamiliar beds, finally feel the touch of a yet uncertain coolness. On the streets and deserted paths, the still trees whisper slightly.   

There is nothing and no-one, apart from those armchairs that wait, those shadows that remodel the precise lines of the architectures, those colours that, through the intense actions of the sun, have become as if newly invented.  

There is nothing and no-one, apart from the immobile painter who surrealises the landscape, watching over the world abandoned by men.  

Nothing too eccentric, however: a flight of stairs broken by the light as if it were water, the shadow of a tree cast upon a wall with a closed door, the dazzling entrance to a lushly verdant country house…   

And interiors. Interiors disclosed by a light that comes from outside. 

And always no-one. No-one, apart from the voyeur-like presence of the gazing painter. 

We can imagine Manuel Amado there, in that corridor, at the foot of those stairs, like when he was a child, in his grandmother’s stately Lisbon residence, an immense house, with many silent rooms, whose sleep was not disturbed by the multitude of children (his brothers, and the cousins from Porto), despite their noisy games in the long corridors. We can glimpse, in the painter, the immobile child, looking out for a noise, a light touch, a sign of presence, during the summer bouts of hide-and-seek.  

Today, Manuel Amado, at the foot of the stairs, paints. Only his eyes of water move. With an economy of gestures that lends precision to his brush, he paints those shadowy walls transfigured by light, these landscapes, these objects, these signs of the world about to emerge from the silence. He makes them speak of something other than themselves: of confuse naptime dreams, of time suspended by the heat, of their indifference to the men who created, built and decorated them.   

For years, Amado did no more than stammer his vision of the world. He began painting very early, probably at sixteen. He did it during the vacations and weekends, when his father, the leader of an amateur theatre company, allowed him some free time. For Manuel was a part of all the shows. He was also an actor, and he loved treading the boards. Besides that, he was a devourer of books. And time for painting was taken from whatever was left: nearly the smallest share.   

Adulthood comes. He studies architecture, becomes an architect, works and, little by little, finds more and more time for painting. In addition to that, his brushwork has become nimbler and sharper. He masters his technique and his vision of the world. He abandons everything. He paints.   

Nowadays, he is almost like Basho, the Japanese poet, who could say the world in the three lines of a haiku. Each one of Basho’s haiku is completely different form the others, but each one of them conveys the essence of the world. 

Each one of Amado’s paintings is completely different from the others, but they all express the joy of a world that has finally been seen.