Jorge Borges de Macedo1990

Written for the exhibition:
Manuel Amado Painting / Manuel Amado, Pintura - Galeria Nasoni, Oporto, 1990
I have always seen in Manuel Amado two attitudes that almost magically become fixed in his paintings.

The first is the capture of the immanent globality of things. And if he needs to divide, organise, order, adjust, distribute, signify, subjecting them to the spatial and practical positions where they exist, nothing makes this certainty of the essential disappear. It is he who breathes and speaks, in form and colour, in the transparent light and gives us "the mystery and the balance between heaven and earth".

The other is the message, always latent and diverse, that comes from his paintings and is transmitted to the atmosphere that he creates around him and makes us feel or perceive it: the sober tranquillity of a landscape that invites us to share it; the isolated strength of a trunk that represents an always sufficient nature, in its expression; the deserted waiting that precedes the human occupation of space; or the unspeakable longing of an absence, mixed with the certainty of arrival, only imagined.

To the duality solitude – hope; light – tranquillity; space – possible; he adds another intention: to point out the absurdity of the incomplete. There being space, there being light, there being form, the objects exist and moreover convey something important about what is beyond us: the being that finds expression is worthwhile. It is indeed the main thing.

These two ideas- the globality achieved and the viable meaning it always has - are the essential point.

Without haste and without time, they are achieved by the artist, with the purification that refines the image and with it conquers meaning. He transfers it to the essential, without ceasing to appear common, and gently imposes that message with which he surrounds the painting. What I can say is that I do not know any painting by Manuel Amado that, in its thematic variety and in the different states of mind that it conveys to us, does not do so without those two dimensions - if one may say so - being deeply united, becoming a single piece.

In the linear modality through which they live, his paintings can never coincide since no feeling is fixed in the same way in regard to the object he chooses to evoke in it. How many anxieties, how much hope, how much tenderness suspended in an empty chair, in an awning in the sun, in a open door to the "might-be"!

The non-arbitrary hour that his paintings represent does not stop time, nor does it compress it: they catch it in the "only moment" and surround it with assisted waiting.

Manuel Amado's paintings point to the exact moment, as if it never passed instantaneously. But, on the contrary, as if one were watching it pass: the infinite depth of the transitory!
One feels like talking quietly in front of Manuel Amado's paintings so as not to anger the gods of the place or not bring to the door or the window - if there is a door or a window -  the young mother who does not want noise for her baby. And yet, the tense and reflective silence, the immense and happy melancholy, the gratitude to the visitors who studied the ways not to tire him with useless or uncontrolled gestures.

The psychic density of Manuel Amado's paintings is so alive and direct that colours define lines and angles, with the singular discipline of being there just for that. Light. Colour. Tranquillity. Shadow. Landscapes of things only because men exist to see and grasp them in their meaningful unity.

The characteristic of the work of art which I think of, and mostly identify myself with, when I see a painting by Manuel Amado, is certainly that which Virginia Woolf calls "aloofness”, a kind of reality created and suspended over us by the artist in his painting and which, in its deliberate and artificial solitude, speaks to us and lovingly reassures us, without perversity.