Here the mirror, said the magician

Sometimes, we need someone to show us our own dreams. If the bureaucratic world was not so inflexible, this could be a registered profession with all the legalities required to send an invoice.

When considered individually, the elements that make up the working vocabulary of Mário Vitória are completely familiar to us; we recognise them on the news, in advertising campaigns, in nature or even in our own thoughts. What makes it unique are the relationships these elements establish amongst themselves. This network of relationships creates a discourse, a composition.

In a way, Mário Vitória’s works convey a less objective message than these words, because it is all about the apparent talking about the obscure. As these words are already present in abstraction, they do not need to undergo any transformation to reach the dimension in which they are already in. On the other hand, Mário Vitória’s paintings are concrete, and therefore they need to interconnect with each other to create abstraction. Like rubbing two sticks to make fire. This “fire” can be started through irony, hyperbole, euphemism or any other figure of speech.

These interconnections represent stories, intertwined stories, where we can explore the story in any direction; they are like an infinite novel. As in a novel, there are multiple places and times. However, each place belongs to a universal Place – to the world, where paths interconnect – and each time belongs to the one and only Time. Everything takes place here and now.

When referring to stories and novels, we must also refer to characters. Each element has its own density, and establishes relations with themselves that may go through partial distortion, mutilation or metamorphosis. The distance of this symbolism is measured in depth, and the weight of this symbolism is measured in complexity.

The events present in each painting are so diverse that they may seem saturated. This is the result, in this case, of being actively attentive. Every day, almost uninterruptedly, we are exposed to an even more exaggerated amount of stimuli: television, internet, any avenue of any city.

As a huge dysfunctional family, the population inhabiting the works of Mário Vitória are emigrants of these spheres of mass culture. They are often outside their environment, or they behave in a different way than we are accustomed to seeing them, as if they were finally showing their true face, their hidden personality.

Mário Vitória’s work is political; it mostly questions what is usually taken for granted. In doing so, it is firmly grounded in reality, even if it tears this reality into pieces, or throws it into disarray. This is also the action of dreams, our own dreams. However, by being obsessed, suit-and-tie, inflexible bureaucrats, we do not notice them conveniently. This is why we desperately need someone to show us our own dreams. It is unfortunate that this activity is not properly recognised. If these professionals came in the phone book, we would resort to their services with the same ease with which today we order a pizza.

José Luís Peixoto, March 2016