João Onofre, Catriona Sings..., 2003, [still]
João Onofre, Catriona Sings..., 2003, [still]


entry: General Conditions

Nothing will go Wrong

João Onofre

Curatorship: Pedro Lapa
In João Onofre's videos the performing act always takes place in front of a fixed camera. The appropriation of various genres consigned to different performances is taken into consideration in its structures, codes and rhetoric, but is also deferred by the superimposing of an absurd, uncanny project. The performers are never familiar with all the devices, causing ten­sion and displacement that inscribes the act in an exterior order. At the end of each video the performers relax and release themselves from the frame­work in a fade out.
These genres' purposes are consequently affected. The performance in Onofre's work intensifies the interval between the stability that any genre assumes within a cultural system and the becoming to which it is submit­ted. A group of young models recite a humanist cliche, a traditional choir, trained in religious music, sings The Robots by Kraftwerk and a pair of magi­cians levitating in the artist's studio, not only inscribe irony with regard to specific historical pretensions, but also subvert the devices of the respective genre. In their awkwardness they emit signs of what might be termed as their exteriority. It is in the combination of these very diverse contexts that João Onofre's videos critically approach the relationship between the genre and representation. The strain manifested by the unease of the performers inscribes the tension that links an order to the construction of reality. The effort of the performing act functions as a metaphor for the cohesion and disparity of elements that make up the video. One of the initial purposes of video resided in its ability to record a performing act. By Onofre's videos provide a new way of looking at the acts by the devolution of this dimension.

Pedro Lapa
Director of the Chiado Museum