Eduardo Lourenço Imageless Mirror 2000

Written for the exhibition
Journey around an abandoned station Galeria Antiks Design, Lisbon, 2000

A door must be either open or shut. The title of Musset’s comedy does not apply to these doors, pure signs in a painting with no more perspective than the one it offers to the viewer. Without being walls, these spaces, open to those who look at them, expectant and impassive at once, nonetheless close upon themselves. They are pictorial figures. Even their clear allusions to real spaces, static platforms, nearby quays, do not bring them into the realm of signification. They are painted with no intention to deceive or play with reality. Their appearance mingles with their reality: that surprising verification of an absent enigma is what defines Manuel Amado’s paradoxical painting. 

What is strange is that this poetics, which is either within or beyond silence, inscribes itself in locations suggestive of traffic, of a journey, a platform or quay waiting for virtual travellers. 
But not even that brings it close, even by contrast, to anything that is somehow evocative of passion, human life or dream, in its romantic or romanesque sense.  And yet these paintings are not merely decorative. The pleasure they give to the viewer is of the same kind and quality as the one given by a certain kind of hyper-realistic but refined painting, devoid of any sociological aura. 

It is a game played by appearance and its representation, in which nobody stands between the mirrors that only feed on that game of which each painting is both an element and the totality.  
Claudel said that painting is the consummate art of silence. Manuel Amado’s painting is pleonastically silent. I do not know his tastes. I do not know whether he is sensitive or not to the cultural seductions which the West calls Zen metaphysics, and is actually no metaphysics at all. His spatial music is something that takes us far away from the discursive, hyper-significant tradition that from Romanticism to Expressionism, or Neo-Expressionism, has been one of the West’s most fertile legacies.

Consciously or not, Manuel Amado’s painting has analogies with that world that intends to signify more than our absence as the imagined owners of what we see or sees us. It is a soothing, calming painting, with no god inside. It is, and this is its only explicit ambition, the icon of itself. We could look at it as the height of ingenuousness, or of provocation.    
To each their own, as in a Pirandello comedy or drama.

The viewer’s eye cannot evade the responsibility of judging itself in the work it sees. The eye is the work’s mirror.