The work of Alexandre Estrela (b. 1971) was first shown to the public at the beginning of the 1990s in group exhibitions like Artstrike (1991), Independent Worm Saloon (1994) and Wallmate (1995), among many others, that brought together some of the most significant artists of a new generation. Taking the conceptual practices of the 1970s as its starting point and developing them at a moment of radical technological change, this generation reconfigured the artistic subject and radically altered the horizon of Portuguese art.
While some of the artists of this generation oriented their work towards a political nature discursivity, Alexandre Estrela rejected the narrative dimension so recurrent in contemporary art practice. Working with perception, appropriation and the structural, his artistic subjects reveal the very fissures, dislocations and differences in these categories which through them make the predictable and the unpredictable, the immediate and the non-mediate, the irreversible and the reversible converge in the figure of the uncanny who returns familiar and disturbing. His works produced in the technological context of information promote a continuous dislocation between aesthetic forms and categories, on the one hand, and the possibilities traditionally consigned to the media with which he works, on the other. In this interplay of dislocations, both aspects contaminate each other and produce infinite re-connections to each of these polarities, as if forms and media were continuously engaging and re-engaging in a network. Thus, when watching Alexandre Estrela’s videos, we always ask what? instead of who? as his images depend on this network of connections produced by the inscription and the interval. This exhibition is Alexandre Estrela’s first large show. It brings together a sizeable collection of works that have been produced especially for this exhibition, alongside some older work from his huge oeuvre that fit within the concept governing the show: science as fiction, or science fiction like a protension of the artistic gesture.
Director of the Museu do Chiado – Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea