Araújo’s work is constructed around concepts like identity and sexuality, virtue and the morality of duty, emotion and the instincts of desire and passion. Araújo: “Desire in the broad sense is an important theme in my work. What does it mean to collect things, for example? Is it purely about possession or does the factor of love also play a role? And what effects do our desires have on our relationships with our loved ones?”
These are the questions he raises in works like O Amante (2004), which shows a group of drawings and objects combined with text fragments that focus on collectors’ urge to own things.
Araújo develops his visual language by researching behavioural codes that reflect on the relationship between humanity and the world. To this end, he employs various media, such as sculpture, installation, video, photography, and performance. The role of the body, the voice, gestures, language, and social norms are all reconsidered in his poetry. He enriches this poetry with influences from opera, dance, modernism, or mythology.
In the video Portrait (2014), for example, this results in a dialogue between painted portraits that talk about their feelings, power games, and one’s relationship with the other. The work tells us something about our relationships, but it is likewise about memories and our memory itself.
Vasco Araújo also refers to the past often. “How do we construct ourselves based on our history? Old objects, such as statues, are in a certain sense our memory. They reflect on people who lived at a certain point in history. They thus enable us to look into the past and on that basis, to reflect on our own time.”
We find this line of thought in the recent work Notebook (2018), in which Araújo ascribes character traits to forty portraits from Antiquity. The result seems almost like the notebook of a filmmaker describing his characters.
In this solo exhibition, Araújo presents a selection of works from the period between 2004 and 2018, with a focus on recent work.