Being well versed in the world of theory, which insists on a definition of art (from philosophy to sociology), this duo exercises their fascination with assuming the pitfalls and trap doors intentionally placed along its meandering trajectory. They stand shoulder to shoulder with this theoretical legacy and its moments of apparition within the exhibition sphere, that is, the pragmatics of presenting a work of art in public.
Aware of the speculative “risks” of their critical actions, Sara & André maintain an open dialogue with the codes that underlie the art world. What this means is that they bring in a reinterpretation by expanding the notion of a work of art, one that revolves around the diversions and collapses that inform a subject in its relationship to what we identify primarily as the artistic domain and the work of its actors. Their artistic endeavour involves a kind of consciously parasitic appropriation that aids them in their ascent towards fame in Portugal’s artistic world. The aim of this declared strategy from the very beginning has been precisely to carve out the most direct path to fame, a claim to fame that we have followed over many years as it becomes transfigured with each new project.
This exhibition by Sara & André at MNAC – MC emerged as another way of citing and paying homage to Julião Sarmento, Portugal’s most internationally acclaimed artist, of whom there is an absolute consensus today in the country in terms of critical reception and historiographical analysis. In offering a reinterpretation of some of Sarmento’s most decisive phases in his oeuvre, Sara & André reiterate the urgency of contemporary questions over authorship and the values associated with it. In citing the work and authorship of an undisputed artist, they run the risk, albeit calculated, of seeing their own authorship become virtually forgotten, a kind of dilemma of legitimation that has always captivated them. Between the fame attained by Julião Sarmento’s own prestige and the easy accusations of plagiarism or lack of originality, Sara & André risk a critical reading in this exhibition that is closely identified with an endeavour associated with their essential task; that is, to provoke a productive instability regarding the borders and characteristics of authorial singularity in the context of contemporary visual arts.