Vasco Araújo

Vasco Araújo: Under the Influence of Psyche

Portuguese artist Vasco Araújo works across media, drawing upon Western traditions in opera, dance, theatre and literature to create work that presents divergent readings on cultural histories and stereotypes.



This exhibition of new and recent work by Portuguese artist Vasco Araújo explores the artist’s ongoing interest in the human condition. Working across media, Araújo draws upon Western traditions in opera, dance, theatre, and literature in order to introduce divergent readings on such cultural histories. In so doing, Araújo wrests and confronts these historical references in order to question both contemporary notions of representation and the writing and canonization of history. He offers instead a body of work that suggests that history, rather than closed or finished narrative, has the ability to be renewed and reread.

The exhibition is comprised of six works including the Canadian premiere of Araújo’s newest video Retrato (2014), a special commission by The Power Plant that incorporates portraits by 20th-century painter and writer Eduardo Malta. The reproductions of these paintings comingle with domestic objects that themselves represent contested history and power dynamics. Retrato points to Araújo’s interest in culling 20th-century imagery throughout his practice. The exhibition also includes Perruque (2005), a series of eight different wigs draped over stands and set on individual plinths. Each wig is paired with a set of headphones that plays a commentary from the point of view of its owner. The installation of the work is paramount as Araújo removes the body and all exterior contextualizing features from the wigs, positioning the hairpieces as codes for bodily appearance. These works, in conversation with Araújo’s other exhibited pieces, aim to interrogate cultural codes and conventions that are essential in how we understand history and ourselves.

While in Toronto, Araújo will participate in a residency program, working with local artists to explore the themes of this exhibition and to situate his practice within the context of Toronto’s local visual arts community.

Vasco Araújo (born Lisbon, 1975) lives and works in Lisbon. He studied sculpture at the University of Lisbon and attended the Advanced Plastic Arts at Lisbon’s Maumaus School of Fine Arts and Photography. He has taken part in residency programs, such as The University of Arts, Philadelphia (2007), Récollets, Paris (2005) and the Core Program (2003-04), Houston. In 2003, he was awarded the EDP Prize for New Artists. Araújo has participated in various solo exhibitions and festivals both in Portugal and abroad including Museu de Arte Popular, Lisbon (2013), Théâtre de la Ville, Paris (2013), Pinacoteca do estado de S. Paulo (2013), Museu Geológico- LNEG, Lisbon (2013), Galeria Horrach Moya, Palma de Mallocra (2012), Fundação Carmona e Costa, Lisbon (2011), Musée d’art de Joliette (2011), Porta 33, Funchal (2010), Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Museu da Cidade – Pavilhão Branco, Lisbon (2010), The Boston Center for the Arts (2008), 28th Bienal de Sao Paulo (2008), 1st Moscow Biennale (2005), and the 51st Venice Biennial (2005). His work is in several institutional collections, such as the Georges Pompidou Centre, France, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, EUA, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, among others.

Araújo is represented by Baginski Galeria / Projectos, Lisbon.

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