I KNOW IT WHEN I SEE IT
“More people have been to Portugal than I have” is an exhibition that rehearses a passage from the “black box” of the performance to the “white cube” from the gallery. The exhibition expands the performance “Über Alles” presented by Carlos Azeredo Mesquita at the end of 2021, at MAAT as part of BoCA Biennial of Contemporary Arts, and at Teatro Municipal do Porto.
The performance explores the banal and universal nature of modern nationalism, infiltrated in our everyday life under the form of seemingly innocuous symbols and uses of language that contribute to define the idea of “us”. Mixing history and stories, sociology, and elements from iconography and popular culture, Carlos reflects on the construction of the mythology of the nation and of the collective unconscious memory, and on the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion that are part of this process.
The exhibition shows research material that was the base the performance – images, texts, notes – ranging from Guiness records, to beauty contests, sportsmen in accidentally homoerotic poses, sociologic studies about social mobility, and not forgetting plent of comments on Youtube videos.
The show displays traces of the performance – bits of the scenography, props, costumes, and sound excerpts – in an attempt to materialise the immaterial and evoke the bodies of the performers and the memories of the piece.
Considering nationalism as an endemic ideology to the modern estate, nonetheless frequently ignored as such, and therefore naturalised, the artist reflects on the contemporary forms that the phenomenon assumes and the simple mechanisms that serve to the construction of Portuguese-flavoured nationalism.
July – September, 2022
More people have been to Portugal than I have
Dramaturgy: Yasmina Reggad
Acknowledgements: Uriel Orlow, Joana Pestana, Maria João Macedo, Gustavo Briz
República Portuguesa - Cultura | DGARTES – Direção-Geral das Artes